PLOT– In her memoir, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, comedian Amy Schumer shares stories from her childhood, career, and love life.
LIKE– When choosing books to take on vacation, I have a tradition of picking memoirs by comedians to read on the plane. They tend to be highly entertaining, an easy read in a distracting environment. For my winter holiday, I went with Schumer’s The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo. Recently, my husband and I have been on a Amy Schumer kick, binge watching her television series: Inside Amy Schumer. She has an off-beat world view that informs her comedy. She makes us laugh.
Although often humorous, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, reveals a more serious, introspective side of Schumer. She writes about her rocky childhood, which includes financial changes, her father’s alcoholism, and her mother’s infidelity with Schumer’s best friend’s father.
Schumer’s father was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, which Schumer writes about in length. Having cared for a sick parent, I found these stories to be the most close to my own heart, especially those of her father being sick in public. Crushing. There is a beautiful story about the last time she went body surfing with her father, when he knew that soon his health would decline to the point where it would be impossible. They braved the cold waters to have that last experience together of an activity that he used to do with her when she was a kid. Amy has a lot of love for her family, a theme that is repeated throughout the book. As an only child, I was very envious of the bond that she shares with her younger sister, Kim.
One of the biggest shocks, was Schumer revealing that she had been in a highly abusive relationship in her twenties. Schumer is so fearless and strong in her career, that it is hard to imagine that she could be a victim of domestic abuse. The power of her sharing this story, is that it can truly happen to anyone. Domestic abuse doesn’t just happen to “weak people”.
Schumer writes about the Louisiana movie theatre shooting that occurred during a screening of her film, Trainwreck. Two women, Mayci Breaux and Jillian Johnson, were fatally shot and this completely shattered Schumer. She became involved in gun control activism, including dedicating the end of this book to the cause.
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, made me an even bigger fan of Schumer. I like that she took a serious tone throughout much of her memoir, rather than writing a flippant humor book. She is still young, but she had plenty to share without padding her memoir with filler. The actual story of her lower back tattoo is painfully funny.
DISLIKE– Nothing. However, I’d like to caution anyone who like me, thinks that The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, is good pick for a flight…this is a noisy book, meaning I had to reign myself in from laughing-out-loud, and I had to try to hide the fact that I was moved to tears. This is not a memoir that you can read without emotion.
RECOMMEND– Yes! I know that Amy Schumer tends to be one of those polarizing entertainers that you either love or hate, however, I would still recommend The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo to non-fans. Not all, but much, of Schumer’s memoir is a departure from her comedy and a really meaty story of dysfunction and family.