The Way We Get By: Amber Tamblyn on Wow, No Thank You. by Samantha Irby

Writer, activist and filmmaker Tamblyn snagged an advance copy of her friend's hilarious new book, and it's keeping her going in tough times.

Most of us are sequestered in our homes, doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. That includes some of our favorite artists, so we’re asking them to tell us about one thing — a book, a movie, a record, whatever — that’s helping them get through this difficult time.

I’ve loved Sam’s work as an essayist and humorist for some time, and she’s an acquaintance of mine so I reached out and asked if she could send me a copy of her new book of essays, Wow, No Thank You. It arrived just as the world pandemic was announced and New York City closed all its restaurants and bars, which is to say: It arrived at the exact perfect time.

I didn’t know that much about Wow, No Thank You. before I started reading it, except that it would have Irby’s signature wit and sass, which, of course, it does. She’s an incredibly funny, fucked-up writer. I love it.

I’m still reading the book now. I think what I’m loving most about it in the context of this moment in our history, where so much of daily life is filled with the anxiety, is how sarcastic, brash and hilarious her essays are, and the whole book is filled with a whole lot of heart too. I need all of this right now.

I think it’s Irby’s signature voice which makes this such a special and necessary read right now. It makes you feel less alone during this quarantine, and like you’re just shooting the shit with a good friend over a cheap bottle of wine.

Right now, I’m dealing with the pandemic just like everyone else, probably: I read Twitter and the news and am filled with dread, I delete the apps from my phone and go read a book, I drink bourbon, I hang out with my kid, I kiss my husband extra hard, I cook, I have a dance party with my family, I respond to the tons of text chains I’m on with friends I love who are in the same boat as me, I binge-watch TV, I rest, I repeat.

I’m also cooking more, which I love, and trying to find new and fresh ways to stay connected not only to my friends but to my physical community here in Brooklyn. I’ve been in touch with my neighbors and am making sure the elderly folks on our block have everything they need; if they don’t, I’ll go out and get it for them. I’m trying to take care as much as possible – of myself, and others, and my community. And of course, I’m reading the piles of books that have been sent to me over the last six months that I haven’t had a chance to read yet.

Picture of Amber Tamblyn by Katie Jacobs.

Amber Tamblyn is an actress, writer, activist and filmmaker. She is the author of several volumes of poetry, including Dark Sparkler, the novel Any Man, and the memoir Era of Ignition: Coming of Age in a Time of Rage and Revolution. Her debut feature as writer-director, the 2016 Paint It Black, starring Alia Shawkat, Alfred Molina and Janet McTeer, is now available on VOD. As an actress, she has appeared in the TV series General Hospital, Joan of Arcadia, House and Two and a Half Men and the films The Ring, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Grudge 2, Stephanie Daley (for which she received an Independent Spirit Award nomination) and 127 Hours. For more, visit her official website.