ALC Review: The Witches are Coming by Lindy West

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What do Adam Sandler, Donald Trump, and South Park have in common? Why are myths like “reverse sexism” and “political correctness” so seductive? And why do movie classics of yore, from Sixteen Candles to Revenge of the Nerds, make rape look like so much silly fun? With Lindy West’s signature wit and in her uniquely incendiary voice, The Witches are Coming lays out a grand theory of America that explains why Trump’s election was, in many ways, a foregone conclusion.
As West reveals through fascinating journeys across the landscapes of pop culture, the lies that fostered the catastrophic resentment that boiled over in the 2016 presidential race did not spring from a vacuum. They have in fact been woven into America’s DNA, cultivated by generations of mediocre white men and fed to the masses with such fury that we have become unable to recognize them as lies at all.
Whether it be the notion overheard since the earliest moments of the #MeToo movement that feminism has gone too far or the insistence that holding someone accountable for his actions amounts to a “witch hunt,” The Witches are Coming exposes the lies that many have chosen to believe and the often unexpected figures who have furthered them. Along the way, it unravels the tightening link between culture and politics, identifying in the memes, music, and movies we’ve loved the seeds of the neoreactionary movement now surging through the nation.
Sprawling, funny, scorching, and illuminating, The Witches are Coming shows West at the top of her intellectual and comic powers. As much a celebration of America’s potential as a condemnation of our failures, some will call it a witch hunt—to which West would reply, “So be it. I’m a witch and I’m hunting you.”

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I haven’t watched the tv show Shrill but I remember reading a little of the book, but I never finished it because it was a time when I used to abandon books midway a lot. But I also remember that I found it very interesting and powerful. So when I saw this book on my Libro.fm list for November, I knew I had to pick it up immediately and I’m so glad I didn’t put it off.

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As I always like to do, I listened and read this book simultaneously and while it’s a very wonderful book to read, the author’s narration makes it excellent. She is fiery and passionate and brings out all the emotions that she may have felt while writing the book into her narrative voice, and it makes for a very immersive listening experience. Right alongside her, I felt angry and disappointed, I laughed out and I felt motivated. Any book that evokes such strong feelings in us deserves a read.

This book is also extremely quotable. I just kept highlighting paragraphs upon paragraphs in my kindle, and I think I could have done that to the whole book. The book is not a single coherent story, it’s more like a collection of essays with each chapter dealing with a different topic that the author deeply resonates with. She is a pro-choice, body positive, feminist writer and is completely unapologetic about her opinions and I admire her so much for it. I particularly loved reading her thoughts on the #MeToo movement, abortion rights, youth activism and women’s anger.

But what makes this book special is her no holds barred style of writing. That would probably be considered a good attitude for a man but not a woman, and the author talks extensively about all the ways in which this hypocrisy persists – where men are assumed to be the leaders and risk takers and capable, whereas women have to work doubly hard to prove themselves to be on par while also fighting off impossible expectations of niceness and likability. And whatever topic she is talking about, it’s inevitable that the discussion turns to the current president and she is fearless in her criticism of his policies, as well as the overall destructive platform of the Republicans and their right wing cohorts. And she is also highly critical of the “center” or “apolitical” people as if choosing not to be political in the current climate is in itself not a highly privileged political stance.

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I could probably write a lot more in my review, but I want to end it right here and ask you to pick this up. Read it, listen to it, it’s your choice but do consume it. It may not talk about things we don’t already know, but sometimes it’s good to get a reminder – especially from someone who hits the nail on the head so articulately and without holding herself back. And as a fat woman, I admire the author even more for sticking up for her principles in the face of unimaginable trolling and threats. It’s an extremely well written and narrated book and I highly recommend it.

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PS: Thank you so much to Libro.fm and Hachette Audio for providing me with this advanced listening copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.

16 thoughts on “ALC Review: The Witches are Coming by Lindy West

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  1. Oh gosh!! I can almost feel.. Sahi do you know you write your reviews to perfectly synchronize with the voice of the book? It’s always amazing to read because I can always pick up on what the book will sound like.

    This one sounds particularly empowering and I would’ve highlighted every page as well. Ah, to be a woman. The fury and unfairness of it all really comes down on us sometimes. I’m glad someone’s talking about it. Kudos to the author!

    Loved this Sahi. Truly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow I never thought that way, but I hope I am able to convey the tone of the book in my review….
      You are always generous with your praise 🥰🥰🥰

      It was such a short book but definitely worth it… especially listening to it makes us feel all the frustration that the author is feeling too… and ya, the whole unfairness of it all is unbearable sometimes…. need books like this to atleast be able to vent .

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ♥️😘 It’s true. I always catch the author’s voice in your review. It adds to how much I can trust you because I know what I’m walking into.

        I’m only now listening to my first ever audio book and I just can’t get over how much I love it. And you’re right, the feeling that comes through is just next level.

        Yeah 😦 I agree. Sometimes we just need to talk about it!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ohh that’s so sweet of you and I’m happy I’m able to do that…
          And audiobooks are wonderful for rereads.. it’s hard for me to concentrate on new fantasy novels on audio… but definitely need all my favorites on audio…
          But non fiction books, especially memoirs narrated by the authors are the best audiobooks ever….!!!
          If you ever get a chance, try Born a Crime by Trevor Noah on audio.. it’s probably one of the best I’ve heard ever 😍😍😍

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Born a crime is just wow… he is a comedian and does brilliant accents.. so when he narrates his own memoir, it’s like so much fun…. I still remember being on the bus while listening to it and laughing uncontrollably… and then also crying at parts of his story …
            it was my first ever audiobook and I still can’t forget it 😍😍

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Ohh that’s cool… you’ll be able to listen to 3-4 only per month though.. atleast the best sellers… but they never tell you which are the best sellers… my suggestion would be to just download at once whichever you want to listen for the next month…

            Like

  2. *shakes fist* Centrism!!! Agh. I passed on this on a recent Powell’s trip, but your review is making me regret that I did! Great summary! As always, you made the book sound super appealing!

    Liked by 1 person

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