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Book Review: “Wow, No Thank You.”

Wow, No Thank You.

Samantha Irby

Paperback, 336 pages

Publication Date:  March 31, 2020

Publisher: Vintage

Genre: Humor, Essays

There was a time when I saw the word “essays” on the front of a book and avoided it at all costs. Essays were things I had to write for class or struggle to understand for a different class. Why would I spend my free time reading a collection of essays, of all things?

Luckily I have come to see how essays are actually enjoyable. With that being said, I still resisted the idea of “humor essays” because I never found myself wanting to read a funny book. Dragons, aliens and memoirs were all fine, but outside of a joke book or two as a kid I had never read much humor. But Samantha Irby’s “Wow, No Thank You” was one of the most talked-about releases of the spring and the current No. 1 best seller for paperback nonfiction, so I decided it was time to see what humorous essays were all about.

“Still, being featured on a stylish lifestyle blog is my biggest secret dream, and because I am too disgusting to ever be asked in real life, I want to tell you how mine would go.” It was the second page of the book, and I was already chuckling. My good attitude stuck around through each of Irby’s essays, which range widely from marriage and publishing advice to being haunted by a dead cat and putting together the perfect 90s mixtape.

Irby’s voice is strong throughout the book, and easy to get swept up in. Two, three, four essays would pass without any thought of putting the book down. “Wow, No Thank You” is about as informal as a collection of diary essays, but as the reader I was along for the ride instead of intruding on private thoughts. Irby got her start performing a lot of her work live, and her essays in this collection would be great in person as well. It felt like she sat down and told me a story about her life.

While I flew through this book in a few settings, I also feel like each essay could be enjoyed on its own. Even if you are just reading a few pages at the end of the day, Irby is sure to make you at least smile a couple of times. Her humor may not be for everyone, but her candor and willingness to lay bare the embarrassing details of her life are enjoyable all the same.

Not only has Irby introduced me to the world of humor essays, she also inspired me to look into her other collections—“Meaty” and “We Are Never Meeting in Real Life”—as soon as the libraries open back up. If you are looking for something to lift your spirits or a low-effort read, check out “Wow, No Thank You.”

Paige Holmes is a senior journalism major from Topeka, KS. Reading is her favorite thing to do because it teaches one how to think, imagine and live. Paige believes there is no better way to learn something or be entertained than by reading a book. Her favorite genre of books is fantasy/thriller and her favorite book is ‘Opening Moves’ by Steven James.

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