Girl, Stop Apologizing (Rachel Hollis)

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“I believe we can change the world. But first, we’ve got to stop living in fear of being judged for who we are.”

Rachel Hollis has seen it too often: women not living into their full potential. They feel a tugging on their hearts for something more, but they’re afraid of embarrassment, of falling short of perfection, of not being enough.

In Girl, Stop Apologizing, #1 New York Times bestselling author and founder of a multimillion-dollar media company, Rachel Hollis sounds a wake-up call. She knows that many women have been taught to define themselves in light of other people—whether as wife, mother, daughter, or employee—instead of learning how to own who they are and what they want. With a challenge to women everywhere to stop talking themselves out of their dreams, Hollis identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviours to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth, confidence, and believing in yourself.

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Having loved Hollis’ previous nonfiction title, I was leery of this book, concerned it would be a rewrite of Hollis’ bestseller Girl, Wash Your Face. That is so far from the truth!!

Girl, Stop Apologizing stands on its own. I didn’t think it was possible, but I actually like this book even more than her last one. I highly recommend it and keep pestering my friends and family members to read it.

I listened to this audiobook, which is read by Rachel. I love that she changed the wording where necessary, so instead of saying “reading this book”, she says “listening to this book”. I know it is small, but that is a huge pet peeve of mine in audiobooks.

Talents and skills are like any other living thing. They can’t grow in the dark.

This book is extremely motivational. I like listening to it and know that I will again and again, but I already purchased the physical book so that I can more easily refer to individual sections at a glance. I want to study this book because her stories and advice are relevant and easy to relate to. My pen and highlighter will definitely be in play.

Be the kind of woman both your nine year old self and your ninety year old self would be proud of.

This is going to get personal, but I always feel like I am an inconvenience to my friends and family. I feel guilty asking for help, like my very existence is a bother sometimes. I don’t want anyone else to be inconvenienced by what I love to do, which is how I feel in everything, from asking loved ones to purchase a ticket to my local concert band’s annual show to my taking a job in the social services sector where I am stuck living paycheque to paycheque. Rachel has a whole chapter on this subject in her book, one I think I need to read every single month for at least a year, before it will sink in.

If you find yourself going through life without anything to work towards or aim for, it’s no wonder that you feel like your life is living you instead of the other way around.

This quote is LIFE right now. It perfectly address the way I – and several of my coworkers – feel in our current employment. We have no ownership of our goals and projects. We are told to make goals but not given time to fulfill them. Training requests are rejected. Our workplace does everything possible to put us down “in our place” and keep us there. It is a managerial style straight out of the 50s and I think to grow and thrive, I need to transition somewhere else.

I am definitely implementing Rachel’s 10:10:1 and Five-To-Thrive plans!

Rachel does touch upon relationships in this book as well as in Girl, Wash Your Face but I am hoping that she will release one dedicated to that subject in the future.

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xx

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Amy Schumer’s The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo

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The Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star of Inside Amy Schumer and the acclaimed film Trainwreck has taken the entertainment world by storm with her winning blend of smart, satirical humor. Now, Amy Schumer has written a refreshingly candid and uproariously funny collection of (extremely) personal and observational essays.

In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is – a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh.

Ranging from the raucous to the romantic, the heartfelt to the harrowing, this highly entertaining and universally appealing collection is the literary equivalent of a night out with your best friends – an unforgettable and fun adventure that you wish could last forever. Whether she’s experiencing lust-at-first-sight while in the airport security line, sharing her own views on love and marriage, admitting to being an introvert, or discovering her cross-fit instructor’s secret bad habit, Amy Schumer proves to be a bighearted, brave, and thoughtful storyteller that will leave you nodding your head in recognition, laughing out loud, and sobbing uncontrollably – but only because it’s over.

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Normally I don’t go for books like this – memoirs and anecdotal stories – but Amy Schumer’s book came highly recommended from a friend. She listened to the audiobook, which is read by Amy herself, and was laughing her head off beside me at work. Humour is communicated so much more honestly via conversation than as words on a page, so with books like this, I really feel that the only way to take it in is via an audiobook. Something funny sounded great after the emotional story ( The Light Between Oceans ) that I listened to last, and the decision-making process stopped there!

The girl with the lower back tattoo is at turns witty, insightful, educational and of course, laugh out loud funny. I wasn’t too sure what the book would be about. It’s about Amy and her life of course, but she clearly states at the beginning that this is not her autobiography because she has decades of life still to live. The woman is only in her 30s after all. I think that in the end it is a collection of stories about Amy but I agree that I wouldn’t call it an autobiography. The timeline jumps around, but you get a sense of her childhood and upbringing, her early years struggling to become a comedian who actually gets paid for her stand-up, and where she is today after the global success of Trainwreck.

My friend was correct in pointing out that this was one of those rare books that is actually funny. I work as a librarian and humourous books are the hardest type to help a person find because – in my opinion – humour doesn’t translate as well on page as it does in conversation. So, unsurprisingly, Schumer’s stories were less funny than I expected and more along the lines of heartfelt stories and sarcastic asides. That isn’t to say that this book isn’t funny though, it is and I particularly liked the story of her lower back tattoo. But you get to see who the real person is behind the pen and this was charming.

I didn’t not know very much about Amy before I started this book. I knew she was a comic, and she was that girl in Trainwreck. But I didn’t know that she had written the movie. I didn’t know that she was a successful comic before the movie was ever filmed, or that she had written for magazines.  I certainly did not know about her undying love affair for the island of Manhattan.

Some of the topics that Amy discusses throughout this novel are her very uncharitable reasons for volunteering at a camp for disabled children and adults one summer as a preteen, balancing a type one introvert personality with a career that demands you give everything to everyone. She also discusses how the future and ideology of an entire gender of our species been placed on her by journalists with questions such as how do you think the success of your movie shape the future of Hollywood for other women. As she points out “Um, hello?! I am just one woman. Not all women”. And women’s place in Hollywood won’t change until people stop asking questions like this.

Two of the most difficult portions to listen to are the ones surrounding her father’s MS and the two women who were shot and killed at a showing of her movie in Lafayette. When something like that happens I’ve always thought of course the actors and directors and producers, anyone associated with creating the attraction, must feel terrible to be attached to the tragedy, even though they are in no way responsible for it. But to hear how difficult it was for Amy, in the following weeks, her genuine desire to reach out to those families, and the fact that she carries the pictures of the two women who were killed makes her much more human. I also never knew that she was so involved in efforts across the United States to create legislation that would prevent mentally ill people with criminal records from accessing firearms.

The girl with the lower back tattoo is not a typical biography. It is funny and heartwarming and at times brought a couple tears to my eyes. It definitely challenged my preconceptions of who this woman was and is and I have a lot more respect for her now. I can also relate to Amy on a personal level. I definitely recommend this book, specifically the audiobook, because humour is just communicated so much more freely through this medium.

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