Mean by Myriam Gurba

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Gurba’s college years are harrowing and heartbreaking as she reckons with guilt and her own privilege, and casts a necessarily securitizing eye on rape culture.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

True crime, memoir, and ghost story, Mean is the bold and hilarious tale of Myriam Gurba’s coming of age as a queer, mixed-race Chicana. Blending radical formal fluidity and caustic humor, Gurba takes on sexual violence, small towns, and race, turning what might be tragic into piercing, revealing comedy. This is a confident, intoxicating, brassy book that takes the cost of sexual assault, racism, misogyny, and homophobia deadly seriously.

We act mean to defend ourselves from boredom and from those who would cut off our breasts. We act mean to defend our clubs and institutions. We act mean because we like to laugh. Being mean to boys is fun and a second-wave feminist duty. Being mean to men who deserve it is a holy mission. Sisterhood is powerful, but being mean is more exhilarating.

Being mean isn't for everybody.

Being mean is best practiced by those who understand it as an art form.

These virtuosos live closer to the divine than the rest of humanity. They're queers.

Myriam Gurba is a queer spoken-word performer, visual artist, and writer from Santa Maria, California. She's the author of Dahlia Season (2007, Manic D) which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, Wish You Were Me (2011, Future Tense Books), and Painting Their Portraits in Winter (2015, Manic D). She has toured with Sister Spit and her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. She lives in Long Beach, where she teaches social studies to eighth-graders.

 

About Myriam Gurba

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Published November 7, 2017 by Coffee House Press. 160 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Gay & Lesbian. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Mean
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
on Aug 21 2017

With its icy wit, edgy wedding of lyricism and prose, and unflinching look at personal and public demons, Gurba’s introspective memoir is brave and significant.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Josh Cook on Dec 15 2017

Gurba’s college years are harrowing and heartbreaking as she reckons with guilt and her own privilege, and casts a necessarily securitizing eye on rape culture.

Read Full Review of Mean | See more reviews from Star Tribune

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Parul Sehgal on Dec 19 2017

It feels as if Gurba is drawn to these details not from ghoulishness but from a need to make her own suffering and fear feel more real to her. The book’s clear forebear is “The Red Parts,” Maggie Nelson’s book about the murder of her Aunt Jane.

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