Fall Book Review: Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo


I've been under the weather the past week, and being cooped up in the house I've been catching up on some reading. I picked up The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, because I am for one a fan of Amy Schumer's show and stand-up, two I wanted a light read, and three I am a sucker for a good memoir. From the intro, and based on Amy's comedy, I expected this book to be similar to Chelsea Handler's memoirs. I have read a few of Chelsea's books, which have made me laugh literally out loud, and are full of drunken sexual escapades. Amy's intro to this memoir started in the direction of a raunchy stand-up routine, with a letter to her "pussy." I realized however, this wasn't entirely the "light" read I had signed up for, when into the first couple of chapters there were a lot of serious undertones, and parts that were even depressing. Although some of her memoir details her sexual encounters, and other raunchy material typical of her stand-up, there was a lot of reflection about who she is apart from her comedy. She reflects on being an introvert, lack of confidence, and unhealthy past relationships. I feel a lot of similarities with her experiences, and perhaps because we are of the same generation, I can relate to a lot of her experiences growing up. I laughed at many of her childhood and early adult experiences simply because I had been there. She recounts how her mother wouldn't allow any junk food in the house so she developed the habit of binge eating junk food at friends houses, and would eat her roommates junk food in college. I had this experience, to the point where when I would go to one particular friend's house as a kid who had a pantry brimming with unhealthy snacks, I would pick to hide in the pantry during hide-and-go seek games so I could raid it. I also have the same horrible habit linger into adulthood, where I would eat any junk food left unattended by roommates, family, or coworkers. She also discusses her low points of self-confidence and settling for really crappy men and situations during her early twenties, also similar to my own experiences. One particular shining moment in my early twenties when my self-worth wasn't that great, I somehow fell for a hot-tempered alcoholic line cook with a mustache tattooed on his index finger, but back to Amy's story. I particularly loved the accounts her family, and her experiences growing up with an alcoholic chronically ill father, a manipulative mother without any boundaries, and how she's come to terms with their flaws. She also tackles some heavy issues, including gun violence, sexual assault, body-shaming, and domestic abuse, all with personal stories that are both comical and heart-wrenching. This isn't a hysterical collection of essays, nor a poignant tale of overcoming adversity, but somewhere in between that, and inspirational nonetheless.

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