Myriam Gurba discusses her new memoir, Mean.
Praise for Mean
“I am such a gigantic fan of Myriam Gurba. Her voice is an alchemy of queer magic, feminist wildness, and intersectional explosion. She’s a gigantic inspiration to my work and the sexiest, smartest literary discovery in Los Angeles. She’s totally ready to wake up the world.” —Jill Soloway
“Casually frank and grimly funny, the stealth power of this book mesmerizes. Mean excavates one female’s personal history with America’s rape culture, zooming through suburbia, race, friendship, desire, education, family, pop culture—essentially taking on the world—with prose both controlled and popping with singular detail. There is no writer like Myriam Gurba, and Mean is perfection.” —Michelle Tea
“‘The post-traumatic mind has an advanced set of art skills,’ Myriam Gurba writes. Mean tackles the profane and the sacred by sticking one hand into your chest and grabbing hold of your heart muscle while the other hand tickle fights your brain, complete with serious noogies. Aligned with female saints and feminist artists and writers, Gurba vividly offers stories both familiar and unfamiliar in a heartbreaking and riotously funny collection that, like Gurba, is hybrid in its form. I don’t know that I’ve ever read a book that covers the territories of class, racism, sexual assault, eating disorders, and more that made me LOL with its ferocious intellect and biting humor. There is just no other voice like hers, and Mean is a testament to that fact. I want Myriam Gurba to translate the world.” —Wendy Ortiz
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.