Book Review: Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

June 24, 2022

Details from Audible:

Publisher's Summary

"Amy's got your back. She's in your corner. She's an honesty bomb. And she's coming for you." (Actress Tilda Swinton, Trainwreck costar)

The Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star of Inside Amy Schumer and the acclaimed film Trainwreck has taken the entertainment world by storm with her winning blend of smart, satirical humor. Now Amy Schumer has written a refreshingly candid and uproariously funny collection of (extremely) personal and observational essays.

In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is - a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh. Down to earth and relatable, frank and unapologetic, Amy Schumer is one of us: She relies on her sister for advice, still hangs out with her high school pals, and continues to navigate the ever-changing boundaries in love, work, and life.

Ranging from the raucous to the romantic, the heartfelt to the harrowing, this highly entertaining and universally appealing collection is the literary equivalent of a night out with your best friend - an unforgettable and fun adventure that you wish could last forever. Whether she's experiencing lust at first sight while in the airport security line, sharing her own views on love and marriage, admitting to being an introvert, or discovering her cross-fit instructor's secret bad habit, Amy Schumer proves to be a big-hearted, brave, and thoughtful storyteller that will leave you nodding your head in recognition, laughing out loud, and sobbing uncontrollably - but only because it's over.

©2016 Amy Schumer (P)2016 Simon & Schuster Audio

Initial Thoughts:

Amy Schumer is funny, I’ve seen a few of her movies and some of her stand-up specials. I like risqué/adult humor and she does that for (at least part of) her shows (lots of comics do). I didn’t know anything about her writing skills and went into this audiobook without reading any reviews. I’m glad I did as this book surprised me several times. As you know I’ve also been on a non-fiction kick and particularly enjoy books read b the author (this is one), so I borrowed it with Libby (twice as I can be slow listening) and gave it a listen.

Main Points:

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, I enjoy hearing a woman’s voice more than a man’s in almost any circumstance, this certainly includes any audiobook. Amy has a nice voice and she does a good job with her book.

The book is certainly not what I was expecting. I thought it would be a collection of funny stories from her life, mixed in with jokes and maybe some of her childhood and early adulthood. The interesting part is that I did get those things but I never knew all of the shit that Amy went through. (This is about to get spoiler-filled if you care). I had no idea that Amy was date-raped (she calls it grape), the victim of domestic violence, had her parents divorced when she was a teenager, her father had MS, and her mother had an affair with her best friend’s dad (which ruined their friendship) and a whole bunch of other really serious events that she reflects on/brings to the surface here.

I thought she was very brave to talk about all of this and I hope that women who read it are able to avoid these horrible situations if possible and if they have been the victim of abuse I hope this book helps them find the courage to speak up and hold the men who hurt them accountable.

The chapter she does on gun violence is also excellent and while I don’t agree with everything she says (I don’t think anyone who isn’t military or police should be able to have a gun in their house), I do admire the stance she takes and I hope she helps the US improve gun reform.

I enjoyed the chapters on her comedy career and her dating adventures the most. It is very refreshing to hear a woman talk about sex honestly (and by that I mean she talks about one-night stands, anal sex, being horny, porn, and even a little about the sex life of her dad, among other things). Her dating life ranges from ordinary, to exciting, to a little bit creepy/disturbing (not in regards to anything she’s done but the men she’s met and the situations she’s been forced into).

There is a whole chapter on her Mom that I enjoyed a lot too, she pulls no punches and talks about how her relationship with her mom was often strained (I would call it dysfunctional for a large period of time) and how it improved more recently. Her dad sounds like quite a character and I quite liked any stories she had with him. As I never had a sister I also liked the many stories, and the descriptions of their relationship, also.

The chapter where she goes into explicit detail about her funeral is one of the only low points of the book for me. I know this chapter was very tongue in cheek and meant to be funny, but I don’t enjoy dark humor nearly as much as I used to. I find joking about your own death or suicide to be off-putting.

Final Thoughts:

I quite like towards the end of the book she gives us all the details of her lower back tattoo (as it is the name of the book!) and does a really nice job of using it as a metaphor for her life (she loves metaphors and uses them a lot). For someone who likes lists, she also has a ton of them in here, some are better than others but all of them made me laugh or at least chuckle. The book finishes with something you don’t often get, a detailed acknowledgment list where she thanks many people (both celebrities and regular people in her life). I’ll also say I quite like how she not only describes the benefits of being rich but also demonstrates how generous she is both with her time and money to worthy people and causes. I give this a solid 8 out of 10. This book is certainly for adults only, ages 17+. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys comedy but also wants to hear about someone with an interesting life that has overcome many problems (both big and small) and earned her success. I would certainly listen to other books by her.