A debut collection of essays by a BuzzFeed Canada senior writer.
Canadian journalist Koul writes about all manner of things, ranging from her family’s Indian culture to race and gender issues. Her essays are sporadically funny and often touching, but occasionally they feel insubstantial. The opening essay, “Inheritance Tax,” is a meditation on fear, family, and mutual protectiveness. “Size Me Up” is a David Sedaris–esque story about shopping. “If you are a woman reading this, you know this to be true: the possibility of getting stuck in a garment at a store where the employees have to cut you out of it is the beginning of the end of your life,” writes the author. “It’s like the saddest version of a C-section, where the baby is just a half-naked lady with no dignity.” The book is heavily weighted toward stories about Koul’s family—interstitial segments relay wry text messages between the author and her father—and her boyfriend, “Hamhock,” a “sweet, precious moron.” The author occasionally delves into more serious territory, writing about cultural racism in “Fair and Lovely” and delivering a biting essay on drinking and rape culture in “Hunting Season.” The focal point of the collection is “Mute,” an essay that relates the incident for which the author is most well-known, for better or worse. It details how serial Tweeter Koul managed to enrage the internet into Gamergate-level backlash by stating she would like to see more articles by nonwhite, nonmale writers, spurring rape and death threats. It’s a terrifying story, but Koul’s conclusions are less reflective than understandably defensive. “It’s no wonder I keep fighting with riff-raff on the internet,” she writes. “I’m expecting human interaction, and all they’re offering are beeps. I was dumb enough to want a hug from a machine.”
An uneven introduction to an iconoclast whose voice will likely resonate with a specific generation.