Mean

Mean Review

Myriam Gurba's debut is the bold and hilarious tale of her coming of age as a queer, mixed-race Chicana. Blending radical formal fluidity and caustic humor, Mean turns what might be tragic into piercing, revealing comedy. This is a confident, funny, 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.

Title:Mean

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Hilarious and brutal. This is a must-read. I mean, damn!...

  • I reviewed this recently for 4Columns -- here's an excerpt: "“Being mean makes us feel alive,” Myriam Gurba writes in her new book, the memoir Mean. “It’s fun and exciting. Sometimes, it keeps...

  • Myriam Gurba’s Mean is a powerful, creative, uproariously candid memoir of a woman between a slew of extremes. Set in the heat of California and adolescence, Mean bluntly unveils the racism, sexual ...

  • "German Jewish toker, hiker and intellectual Walter Benjamin wrote an essay titled 'Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Book Collecting.' In it, he describes his musty zeal, intoning that 'every passio...

  • Gurba tells us, the readers, over and over how mean she is (ie, unkind and characterized by malice). The book shows her to be anything but. Instead, she's a mean writer (ie, excellent and effective) w...

  • Can I give this six stars? I want to. Nah, I need to - just a few pages in, I knew I'd found my queer intersectional feminist manifesto. Mean is whip-smart, hard-hitting, wildly fun. and totally punk....

  • This book blew. me. away. One minute I was cringing away from the graphic descriptions of sexual assault and the next I was chuckling at the brilliant word play Gurba throws down. This is one of those...

  • This book is fierce. Queer, funny, mean, loving. Fierce. The look at sexual trauma and how we as writers narrate trauma is a master class in preserving the self while describing the event. Gurba is ab...

  • This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Phenomenal! You'll love and devour this and want to read it again in quick succession....

  • this book fucked me up in the best way! I could read a million more of Gurba's essays and never tire....