Rachel Vellenga | Author uses humor to address serious issues

Rachel Vellenga | Author uses humor to address serious issues


Reading "Everything's Trash, But It's Okay" by Phoebe Robinson is like having a conversation with your funniest and coolest friend on a comfy couch in sweats.

Robinson is a best-selling author, a comedian and half of the team behind the popular podcast "2 Dope Queens."

Drawing on stories from Phoebe's life, this collection of essays addresses racism, white feminism, our hesitance to discuss personal finances and calling out our culture's preoccupation with how women look.

Her humor is the spoonful of sugar that helps this medicine go down.

Robinson covers her intense love of U2 and getting to meet them, modern dating, including a guy's unsolicited tip on a first (also last) date of how she could make her thighs more firm (!) after the comment that he didn't usually find female comedians funny but he thought she was hilarious ("Run girl!"), her closeness with her family, and her struggles to establish herself in L.A. comedy without ending up homeless and without letting her loving and supportive family know about her sometimes dire situation.

In another chapter, she writes about the tendency for the women's movement to focus on the struggle of white women only. Her fun addendum is talking about her new serious relationship, including their hilarious first meeting.

Some writers would make meeting U2 a humble brag. But in Robinson's hands, she is so excited and delighted with her own luck that you can't help but be happy for her.

Her chapter on her journey to finally be content with her body should be a battle cry for all women.

This book isn't for everyone. She is candid about her love life and frequently mentions body parts that usually are not mentioned so explicitly.

She uses some bad language and makes up cutesy, shortened words (a lot!) but they are always either explained or clear from context. Listeners of her podcast will recognize this habit.

Adeptly balancing humor with serious topics, you will likely be glad you took this ride from this fresh, funny and empowering voice. Check out the book or e-book from the library today.

Rachel Vellenga is a youth-services librarian at the Urbana Free Library. She loves reading (surprise!), working with families and international travel and is pretty handy with scissors and construction paper.

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