Samantha Irby’s first essay collection, Meaty, details shitty diets, shitty relationships, and life with a literally shitty chronic illness (she has Crohn’s disease).
Now the bestselling queer author (who put out her third book, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, last year) is rereleasing her indie debut through Vintage. Here, she discusses the horrors of revisiting past work and the joys of same-sex domesticity.
OUT: Meaty was originally published in 2013. What was it like rereading it?
Once I’m done with something, I’m immediately like, “Oh, that’s garbage,” so revisiting a book I wrote hastily was rough.
Did you have to make a lot of changes?
No, but I did have to speak to a lawyer, who gave me the memoir talk: “Say what happened, but be sure it’s true. Feel how you want, but don’t assign feelings to others. And you’re not allowed to reveal people’s secrets.” Then he asked, “What exactly is in this book?” I said, “Honestly? Slander against my own physical form, mostly.”
What did you add to this edition?
At the end of the original, I had recipes that explained what it’s really like to make something — like, “I cracked an egg and left a full shell in, but no one can tell.” For this edition, I wrote all new recipes for shit I actually make.
Is the frittata on your Instagram the frittata from the book?
Yes. Most photos of food you post look disgusting. But a frittata is one of those things where even if you put a lot of gross, ripped-up things in it, it still looks good. It could have a baby diaper in it, and I’d still eat it.
Meaty has the line “I could eat a bitch out, I guess,” but you only wrote about men in it. Since then, you’ve written about going down on your wife.
I don’t proclaim to have psychic abilities. But I feel like I knew early what kind of life I wanted. Maybe there’s a man who likes to read books and watch the same SVU episode over and over, but I’ve never met him. I knew I was destined to settle down with a lady.
Meaty: Essays is available to purchase here through Penguin Random House.