Little Weirds by Jenny Slate

Delicate yet gut-punching, comedian Jenny Slate mines the personal and political to unpack the modern female experience

Book Review by Anahit Behrooz | 22 Nov 2019
  • Little Weirds by Jenny Slate
Book title: Little Weirds
Author: Jenny Slate

When actress, comedian and author Jenny Slate’s life fell apart following her divorce and the fallout of the 2016 presidential election, she turned to writing in an attempt to piece it back together, compiling what she describes as a “peppy procession of all my little weirds.” This might sound unbearably twee, but Little Weirds is just the opposite. A delicate yet gut-punching deconstruction of loneliness, heartbreak and empowerment, Slate mines the personal and political to unpack the melancholic ache of the modern female experience.

The vignettes and essays that constitute these eponymous “little weirds” range from a dream sequence where Slate imagines herself as a croissant longing for male consumption, to absurd, cyclical birth and death scenes that trace the roots of Slate’s unsettled desires. Little Weirds is defined by its fragmentary nature: shifting rapidly from the surreal to the personal and back again. Slate’s style is similarly contradictory yet deliberate, fusing lyrical prose with the blunt, wry voice of her comedian persona.

What unites these strange scraps, however, is Slate’s introspective focus on womanhood and the gendered conditions that have shaped her experiences of sexuality, connection and identity. Love and heartache may not be thematically ground-breaking, but what is radical is Slate’s determination to give her feelings attention, expression and care. What might otherwise be construed as self-indulgence becomes a defiant act of self-acceptance: a little weird, but a lot beautiful. 

Fleet, out now, £16.99