Top Picks: Brutally Honest Essays by Chicago’s Samantha Irby

OK, so Samantha Irby fled Chicago a while ago and now proudly resides in Michigan. For years, however, Chicago comedy and lit lovers in the know heard her at various readings around the city (Guts & Glory, The Paper Machete). Her blog, Bitches Gotta Eat, endeared her to the internet forever and brought her humor to a larger audience.

Irby's essays embrace life's awkward moments. She discusses struggles with poverty, death and chronic disease with her trademark wit and self-deprecation. She writes about the things you were taught to never say out loud. A lady shouldn't talk about her bowel movements in great detail, right?

Her first collection, Meaty, was released in 2013 by local publisher Curbside Splendor. Featuring her beloved blog posts and plenty of new work, essays like "This is Why I'm Poor" and "How to Get Your Disgusting Meat Carcass Ready for Some New, Hot Sex" will have you squirming and laughing at the same time. You will be occasionally disgusted and then realize how much you relate to her.

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life was released in 2017; it appeared on several "best of" lists including CPL's Best of the Best. Her opening essay, "My Bachelorette Application," was an instant classic ("Name: Samantha McKiver Irby Age: 35ish [but I could pass for 47 to 52, easily; sixty-something if I stay up all night.]")

A Meaty-inspired TV series is in the works with Broad City's Abbi Jacobson (Carry This Book). Recently, she has been writing for the Hulu adaptation of Lindy West's Shrill. Irby fans may also want to check out Issa Rae's The Misadventures of Awkward Black GirlMy Life as A Goddess by Guy Branum or Jenny Lawson's Furiously Happy for more hilarious and uncomfortable true life stories.

Do you have a favorite writer who makes you laugh and cry at the same time? Where do you go to hear new writers in the city? Share with us in the comments!