Laughing and Cringing Through “Wow, No Thank You” 

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People have been recommending Samantha Irby to me for a while. I’d tell you which people, but I am very bad at remembering who tells me to read what. All I know is that when it came time to select my next audiobook, I decided to finally click purchase on one of her books.

I chose Wow, No Thank You because that’s what popped up in my audiobook recommendations on LibroFM. I didn’t know much going in except that it was an essay collection and it was supposed to be funny. 

Reader, it was. Samantha Irby writes the kind of honest, hilarious, #relatable real life essays that I love to read. She isn’t afraid to poke fun at herself or the situations she finds herself in, and that lets us laugh right along with her. 

What I Liked

Irby writes about her life experiences with a voice that makes even the most mundane situations feel worth laughing about. She has an authentic tone that I very much enjoyed hearing her deliver in the audio version. 

The essays cover topics ranging from chronic illness to marriage to generally trying to be an adult human in these increasingly complicated and overwhelming times. 

Irby has a sense of humor about her chronic conditions that is refreshing and unflinching. She writes bout the impact that Crohn’s has on her life in graphic detail, and I appreciate that. People get weird about chronic conditions and want you to just kind of not talk about them, but they have a pretty massive impact on your day to day. So, yes to more essays about living life in a body that does some weird things from time to time. 

She also writes about married life in a relatable, unglamorous way that I, as a recently married person, appreciated. Like yes you love this person and you chose to build a life with them, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily enjoy all of the compromises required when you co-habitate with another human for life. 

What I Didn’t Like

I go back and forth on whether this was an audio-only issue, but a couple of the essays in the collection followed a repetitive format that I didn’t enjoy. There was an essay where every little anecdote began with “Sure, sex is fun, but…” and something coy after it. It was a fun setup, but there were so many sentences and it definitely felt more repetitive than enjoyable after a while. Ditto the essay where everything began with “Hello, 911…” 

The only other thing I didn’t love is that the humor can be a bit visceral at times. I’m weird about gross body humor, and there was definitely some of that happening. Definitely a personal preference situation, though. 

In all, to whoever recommended Irby to me, you were right. This essay collection was delightful and enjoyable and relatable and everything I want from a book of personal essays about life as a person in the world. 

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys funny stories about life, and would add that the audiobook as read by the author is a delight. 


9 thoughts on “Laughing and Cringing Through “Wow, No Thank You” 

    • Audiobooks are great for time when you couldn’t otherwise be reading! I’m picky about what books I’ll listen to but memoir read by the author is a favorite!

  1. mmmm, I’m in two minds about this. On one hand I have first/second hand experience of Chrons with my daughter and I don’t want to make it funny because I really don’t think it is. On the other, it’s good to add humour to every day life experiences that other’s may not know much about. I think I’d probably think differently if it was me with Chrons and not my daughter.

    • I can definitely see how you’d feel that way. I think it’s different to joke about an experience we have ourselves versus the experience of a loved one.

  2. I’ve seen this book/audiobook around, but it never really called to me. I loved reading your review, and am now going to grab this one. My daughter was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease this past spring, so that definitely intrigued me. Great review, AmandaKay.

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