In her debut, Koul tackles regular essay collection stuff'”meditations on relationships, family, identity '“ but the best part of it is that she’s funny as sh*t.
Why I love it
An essay collection hinges entirely on the voice of its author, so let me characterize Scaachi Koul's: rude, angry, sometimes crass, always fiercely intelligent and hilarious. In her debut, Koul tackles regular essay collection stuff'”meditations on relationships, family, identity '“ but the best part of it is that she’s funny as sh*t.
I laughed out loud on a dozen occasions throughout this book, from her descriptions of a torturously long five-day family wedding in Jammu to stranger details. For instance, Koul refers to her boyfriend affectionately as "Hamhock," a 'œsweet, precious moron'; she hides packets of sweet-and-sour sauce in her bra. One essay starts with this line: 'œLike farts and the incorrect retellings of classic literature, racism is a lot cuter when it comes out of a little girl.'
Koul was raised in Alberta, Canada, her Kashmiri parents having immigrated from India. She writes often about her family, and if there’s a strong thread that runs through the book, it’s one of lineage. Koul has inherited parents’ anxieties and fears, the baggage that comes with being born brown.
Beyond the personal, some essays cover topics about the larger evils of the world. For instance, 'œMute' details the Twitter backlash Koul experienced when she encouraged non-white, non-male people to contribute to BuzzFeed (where Koul works). Alt-right poster-boy Milo Yiannopoulos sent his followers after her, which turned into a terrifying flood of rape and death threats. Learning about her experience firsthand will make you shiver and want to lock your virtual internet twitter deadbolt door. Koul reveals a core truth about Internet trolls: 'œwhat they say to me online is the purest distillation of the rage they feel.'
But the most powerful essay in the book is 'œHunting Season,' which illuminates the way men prey on women. We're talking about observation on the most primal level. 'œMen watch women at the gym, at work, on the subway: in any space occupied by men and women, the women are being watched,' Koul writes. The perils of course are steepest at the bar: as Koul says, 'œWhen a guy asks to buy you a drink, suggest he buy you a snack instead and see how that goes over.'
In the end, it becomes clear the title of the book is a bit of a joke. One day we will all be dead, but after reading Koul's essays, you'll recognize that these things do matter. They matter so damn much.
Scaachi has a lovely voice and wonderful sense of humor. She really captures what it is to be a brown woman living in a white man's world and her exploration of living between cultures is fascinating!
White Plains, NY
Scaachi's tone throughout the entire book is consistent and "real". Her sarcasm is funny and rightly justified for the topics she discusses. 100% relatable- I feel like I know her friends and family!
I made the (wonderful) mistake of not reading that this was a book of essays. I love modern memoir! Koul is hilarious and I learned a lot about what it's like to be a young Indian woman growing up. (:
I adored this book and have widely recommended it. Such a funny, fascinating exploration of a culture very different from my own yet very relatable in the relationships and inner workings. Great read.
This is a beautiful, honest memoir in the form of short stories full of embarrassing (yet so very relatable!) personal disclosures, dripping satire, and painfully awkward family interactions. Love it!
Funny, thoughtful writing. I usually struggle to finish collections of essays, but I read every word of this book and would recommend it to anyone! Also go read her article about The Rock on Buzzfeed.
I really enjoyed this book. As the child of European immigrant parents there was a lot that I could relate to. There's also a lot to learn about her perspective of this experience as a woman of color.
Second generation here. True and quick, koul hits at themes in my own life and gives voice to the sharpwitted quips I wish I had voiced. Her honesty about struggle is brave and bare and to be admired
Brown girl 2nd gen Indian-American me had so much to relate with this book, it was perfect. The tone was just what I needed. This hit home and also made me literally laugh out loud and go "SO TRUE OMG
Johnson City, TN
This memoir made me laugh just as many times at it broke my heart. This is a beautful, honest, & thought-provoking piece about what it's like to exist as a woman of color. Definitely worth your time
North Canton, OH
I actually laughed out loud at Scaachi Koul's scathing review of the world as she knows it. Being South Asian myself, I found it very relatable yet not alienating. A great read that makes you think.
Koul is my humor hero! Whether she is confronting social issues, clashing with her family and traditions, or commenting on the small misfortunes in life, she offers wisdom underscored by on-point wit.
I really enjoyed this book and the range of topics it explored. Scaachi Koul gave a really interesting perspective on this topics that I may not have considered before reading this book.Worth the read
Hilariously written yet is truth-telling! I had a lot of realizations of how Americans can be ass holes! I already knew this, but being put in the place of a minority author helped open my eyes more.
The Woodlands, TX
Scaachi Koul uses humor and honesty to make me both laugh out loud and feel understood in her essays tackling serious cultural issues. This is the collection brown women have needed for a long time.
Detroit , MI
As a young white woman, I was captivated by the life of Scaachi's stories. Being a first generation Indian women going through love, family, hair issues and social norms. I laughed and laughed more.
Scaachi doesn't mince words-- Her thoughts are decisive, raw, and truthful. While humorous and enlightening, she describes with clarity and intelligence, putting all of her reads in her own shoes. <3
Salem , OR
all I can say is, thank u. Thank u to the author of this book for giving a piece of herself & offering a vision of what it's like to be a brown woman living in today's society & everythinin between.
In a world in which women should be seen and not heard, Koul delightfully misbehaves by giving voice to the gendered sociopolitical issues of our time in hilarious and heartbreaking ways. Fantastic!
Southington , CT
I have never laughed out loud nor related so much to an author. Her witty and humorous style of writing is so refreshing. Cannot wait to share with my friends. Truly a new favorite and a must read!