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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
    5 out of 5 stars
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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!

3 people found this helpful

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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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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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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Great read!

I really enjoyed this book. The reader reads a bit slow but I changed the speed as suggested on another review and that really made a difference!

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Shoot me!

As I begin to write this review, I took off my shoes, I took off my bra, I made a drink, I sat in my comfortable chair….ugh! Shoot me! The content was, actually, repetitive and the narrator/author did little to keep me interested. I read this book because I was intrigued by the young, upcoming Mexican author who slammed Jeannine Cummins for her book, American Dirt. Ms. Cummins may not be Steinbeck; but she’s definitely not a pendeja! I hung on until the end to see if there was ANY redeeming value to this book. Perhaps a better mind than mine can find it. There were some parts that were good but not enough for me to EVER recommend it. You, Ms Gurba, are no Allende or Cisneros. At least Ms Cummins wasn’t so condescending about being Mexican. Que pena.

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Cerebral Catharsis

Myriam Gurba's intimate, serene writing style makes visceral her "chaos of memories" tainted by the trauma of sexual assault.