If you don’t know who Kelly Oxford is, fear not. Before you reach the end of Chapter 1 of her latest book, When You Find Out the World Is Against You, guaranteed, you’ll feel like you know her intimately.
The intro to the book says it all: “This is a book for anyone who has ever felt like the world is against them. In other words, this is a book for everyone. Glad you’re here.”
I first fell in girl-crush with Kelly when she started making a buzz on Twitter several years ago. We both moved to LA around the same time. We are both Canadian, both writers and basically I knew she was someone I wanted to share a pizza and a bottle of Rosé with while shootin’ the shit about everything.
In When You Find Out the World Is Against You, her second book, (her first, Everything Is Perfect When You’re a Liar, was on every must-read list in 2013) humor is mixed with tragedy, feminism and brash unapologetic honesty. Kelly shares personal stories about the awkwardness of growing up, summer camp, boyfriend troubles, marriage and working motherhood, and like her first book, it’s very easy for the reader to relate. But what makes this book — and what makes Kelly herself stand out amongst a sea of autobiographies and manifestos — is that she not only holds herself accountable, she holds the entire world accountable.
Towards the end of writing the book, Kelly was catapulted from “It Girl” to heroic feminist with one hashtag on Twitter. On October 8, 2016 the now infamous Billy Bush/Trump tape was released. Like so many of us, Kelly unleashed her feelings on social media. She blasted out a tweet calling on women to share their first sexual assaults alongside hers, adding the hashtag #notokay. Within a day, over a million women told the world their secrets. It was harrowing, liberating for some, painful and emotional. It was a revolution that put Kelly at the forefront of a media storm that we all hoped would knock Trump out of the race. Even though that obviously didn’t happen, Kelly still continues to use her public voice for this cause. In her book she shares some of the stories she received, and, as someone who contributed, I was moved to tears and flooded with a sense of comfort and relief in not feeling alone in my shame anymore.
Make no mistake, When You Find Out the World Is Against You is laugh-out-loud funny. It will have you silencing your phone and finding reasons to stay home to read. And as you do, you’ll find that beneath the humor and all of the success, Kelly isn’t afraid to show her vulnerability and neurosis. She questions her personal choices and the choices she chooses to make for her family, and is honest when she sometimes suffers the consequences of those decisions.
Right now, it’s important for we, as women, to have a voice like hers to not only call ourselves out when we mess up, but to call out those who are meant to represent and protect us. Kelly Oxford is real. She doesn’t give a fuck, and we think that’s important enough.