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Publisher's Summary

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. 

©2017 Coffee House Press (P)2017 TalkingBook

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What listeners say about Mean

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  • Overall
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Mean & funny & tragic but mostly mean & funny.

This book was written and recited like poetry. The author has a very distinct voice and I look forward to reading more of her work.

2 people found this helpful

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A heartbreaking instant classic

Myriam Gurba has a very unique way of telling a story. The narrative is strong, but the language is thick and poetic, bringing to mind Sylvia Plath. Please add more of her work to Audible!

2 people found this helpful

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Loved it

Myriam Gurba’s Book is so heartwarming and fucked up and dirty and fun and sad. Get this. I ended up speeding her narration to 1.25 but it was amazing.

2 people found this helpful

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Absolutely Awesome

Any additional comments?

This book is funny as hell and realllllyyyy sad. Can't believe I'd never read anything by Myriam Gurba before. Great reading. Good audio quality. I sped it up to 1.25 times as the narrator reads a little slow, but awesome book.

1 person found this helpful

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Cellular LOVE!

Her story deeply connected to my own. I recommend reading this book to feel a palette of emotions rarely found in a single piece of writing. I'm in love with the vulnerability of it and am inspired to write again. Thank you, Myrium for all you ate and all you are becoming. Enjoy these trips around the sun.

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Brilliant!

Very engaging and darkly humorous. Absolutely loved it! Looking forward to hearing more from this author.

1 person found this helpful

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Gurba Is Goddess

I love her and I love her childhood and her book. This is funny and SO DARK! Seriously. Awesome.

1 person found this helpful

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I Can’t Wait for More!!!

Myriam Gurba is a great performer- her reading is deadpan and unemotional, yet there is humor beneath her voice. I love her serio-comedy, self-awareness, analogies and stream of conscious style. Myriam is one unique character, she is interesting, brilliant and insightful. The first work I read by her was her 2019 perceptive, hilarious, genius review article on that ghastly idiot*c book “American Dirt”. I was tuned in, and I wanted to learn more about Myriam Gurba and read anything else by this honest, smart and intelligent author/individual. Indeed, her individuality can be strongly seen and felt all throughout “Mean”. I formed a bond immediately with the work, and I couldn’t stop listening. I read the book in one day, and then months later...again! I have tremendous respect for and awe of Myriam Gurba- her style has the ability to bring you into her world. I heard that she is working on another work which will continue this work, and I can’t wait to gobble it up in probably, again, a single day. I love Myriam Gurba and her unbending sense of self.

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brutally personal, unapologetic and original

glad we chose it for our book club "read" ... it was a different voice and it made us uncomfortable but some books should be difficult to read ... the writer is an astute observer of people and has a deliciously mean way of breaking down the folks she writes about ... i read both the physical book and listened to the audio book and i have to say there are some visual things about the book that don't translate into the audio book, which is why i think the physical format is better for this particular book, but the audio is still a good listen ...

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Compelling emotional read

Good writing style to express the emotions of a traumatic incident. The author takes you through her account of rape in poetic fashion with and ending of hope.