The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo
HarperCollins Australia (Simon & Schuster in the US)
If you have yet to discover the TV show Inside Amy Schumer or the film Trainwreck, then you may have never heard of Amy Schumer. She’s an Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, director, producer and writer, and is already on a fast-paced trajectory to being one of Hollywood’s elite. She’s raw, bold, confident and she doesn’t care what people think of her and she’s refreshingly honest about her struggles in life.
Amy released her first book this year called The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo. It’s a candid and hilarious collection of extremely personal and observational essays. This book is not a memoir, but more a conversational, honest account of various aspects of Amy’s life, from her career in stand up comedy, to her father’s illness, to her relationship with her sister.
Since Amy’s stand up comedy routines often include very honest, humiliating stories about herself, it’s no surprise that her book features self-deprecating and vulnerably raw details about her private life. Amy addresses seemingly serious issues with light-hearted humour so that the reader doesn’t feel overwhelmed with the subject matter, because Amy really hasn’t had the easiest life. Her parents’ marriage and subsequent divorce was painful, her dad has been battling multiple sclerosis since Amy was very young, and Amy has had to work extremely hard to infiltrate Hollywood in the comedy business.
“Any time I take my clothes off for the first time in front of a man and he sees it, he also knows in his heart that I’m trash and that I make poor, poor decisions. But I promise you from the bottom of my heart I don’t care. I wear my mistakes like badges of honor, and I celebrate them. They make me human.”
In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy talks about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have helped her become the bold, confident, courageous woman that she is. Amy talks about her attitude towards money, since she grew up in a poor family and couldn’t comprehend wealth. She reflects on her relationship with her sister and her determination to succeed as a comedian, even when she had silent crowds.
Amy might start the book by stating that there isn’t any self-help advice in its entirety, but she does urge readers to learn from her experiences. She encourages women to escape from domestic violence, reflecting upon her own experience to inspire readers. Because Amy’s first sexual experience was different to what she anticipated, she implores readers to teach their children about what constitutes sexual assault and what constitutes consensual sex. She may not be trying to give advice in the book, but through her life experiences, the reader unintentionally thinks about their own life and thinks about how they have handled similar situations.
This book is both heartfelt and heartbreaking, entertaining and shocking. The reader will laugh out loud at sections, and feel immense empathy for Amy in other sections. Amy shares her views on love and marriage, admits to being an introvert and discovers her cross-fit instructor’s secret bad habit. It’s not as laugh out loud as you’d expect from the comedian Queen, but it’s a very insightful book and readers can really take a lot of life lessons from it, even if that’s not what Amy Schumer intended.