Comedian and actress Amy Schumer is the poster child for “overnight success.” Relatively unheard of several years ago, she has quickly become a household name after writing and starring in the laugh-out-loud film Trainwreck, and creating award-winning Comedy Central series Inside Amy Schumer.
Riding off her newfound mega-celebrity status, it comes as no surprise that her best-selling book (which is not an autobiography, she insists) The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, a collection of personal essays, is just like everything else she does—wildly popular, witty and refreshingly honest.
Fans of Schumer’s stand-up know her for her brazen, often raunchy, humor and she certainly makes some x-rated jokes throughout her read as well. But more than just a few laughs, The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo is also unafraid to tackle society’s major issues, as it seamlessly balances powerful short essays with hysterical lists, as well as anecdotes both serious and comical.
Throughout the book, Schumer uses the platform to shed light on some of the many causes she finds important. In one of her more emotional chapters, entitled “The Worst Night of My Life,” Schumer details her relationship with an abusive partner. Bold and unabashed, Schumer does not fit the profile of the meek, submissive abused woman who is so often depicted in the media, which she acknowledges, emphasizing that domestic abuse “can happen to anyone.”
In another chapter, “How I Lost My Virginity,” she describes her experience with sexual abuse, labeling it “grape,” (gray-area rape). Sketches on Inside Amy Schumer have covered similar matters, but reading about her real-life experiences allows for a greater understanding of the issues and Schumer, herself.
Schumer also devotes a chapter to gun control in memory of the two women who were shot at a movie theater screening of Trainwreck back in 2015. She has since become closely involved with the movement, working with her distant cousin and New York senator Chuck Schumer to pass legislation that promotes gun control. Though this chapter is more poignant than funny, it’s informative and inspiring to see how she uses her status for a greater cause.
Writing honestly and openly about uncomfortable yet relatable subjects, Schumer feels more like a best friend than a celebrity in her personal page-turner. Through it all, she is able to find the humor in negative situations without trivializing them, whether it is her father’s diagnosis with multiple sclerosis or her arrest for shoplifting.
Fans of Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) will likely appreciate this similarly styled book. Though she prefaces the book with a warning that it is not a self-help book, readers will take note of several important lessons regarding feminism, self-love and the value of working hard. Schumer’s ability to intertwine her notorious sense of humor and penchant for sex jokes with hot-button topics and not-so-great childhood memories is what makes The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo so memorable.