5 out of 5
by Laura Belgray
published by Hachette Books
release date: June 13, 2023
provided by Hachette Books
“I’ve been a fan of Laura Belgray’s hilarious, tell-it-like-it-is writing for years. She was an early influence on my own craft, and I count her among my teachers. Laura’s for anyone who keeps waking up disappointed to find they didn’t become a different, more pulled-together person in their sleep.”Holly Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author of Quit Like a Woman
Last year, I started following Laura Belgray on Instagram and subscribed to her email list. Why? When you decide to delve deeper into a skill. You want to learn from an expert.
Laura Belgray is an excellent copywriter. She is also the founder of Talking Shrimp and co-creator of The Copy Cure with Marie Forleo. I have been curious about her background. She frequently shares bites of her life in her newsletter. However, I did not know much about her before reading this book. I wasn’t sure if Tough Titties was going to lean more toward memoir or personal development. After reading it, I’ve found that it’s much more of a memoir. But, her life is ballsy and inspiring.
To me one sign of an excellent memoir is relatability. This book hits that mark. It has actual relatability for me in key areas.
I felt a kinship and understanding about Laura’s background with food and men. Maybe it’s because I’m an elder millennial, which makes me a little younger than here, so I definitely grew up with “toxic diet culture.”
In the section “Watch the Potato Chips”, Belgray mentions that she and her friends failed at bulimia. “I’d already devoured every novel, pamphlet, encyclopedia entry’s and after-school special about eating disorders…and knew habitual barfing could make your face puffy and rot your teeth, not to mention stop your heart, so I was half-relieved I couldn’t get the hang of it.”Tough Titties
She mentions making diet sandwiches and elaborates “I know, can’t you just feel it sticking to your teeth?” Actually, yes, I still keenly remember doing the same. “It sucks up all your bandwidth, this body-image business” is another line that I empathize with.
This is the type of thing that is so rarely talked about these days, but I did the same. I watched all of the Lifetime movies that were out there during puberty and they have a lasting effect on your psyche. Sometimes, we are even made to feel bad for admitting that these things happened. That not always perfectly loving your body is normal. As Laura says “I’m not supposed to admit all this. Body positivity is the thing now, and you’re not even allowed to fat-shame yourself…”
Tough Titties also has that sometimes elusive quality of human relatability. As a reader, who does not come from the same socioeconomic bracket, location, or career, I can still relate to Laura as a person.
Themes, such as finding yourself and your confidence are woven throughout. I think many of us can relate to those personal struggles. Tough Titties made me feel like it’s okay that I haven’t become a “huge success” yet. It also infers that those parts of your life that aren’t shiny and social media-ready make you who you are and that’s a GOOD THING.
All of that said, Laura, does come from a privileged background, which she acknowledges. This seems to be a part of her story that some readers are not fond of. I think being true to yourself is the most important part of a memoir. Not everyone has the same lived experience and that’s okay. In fact, that’s part of what makes us interesting.
I, particularly, enjoyed some of those parts of the book. I can’t time travel and be an underaged Gen Xer attempting to sneak into Studio 54, but I loved reading about it in the section “See Ya at Studio.”
When Belgray delves into her early career, I was fascinated. I never knew there were plants on television message boards back in the day, though it makes sense in hindsight. Her early career and experiences working online are very interesting and make me a bit nostalgic.
Over the years, Belgray has written for Bravo, Fandango, FX, NBC, HBO, USA, Nick at Nite, Nickelodeon, TV Land, and VH1.
Though Laura has sometimes been described as a late-bloomer or a slacker, her truth is that she works hard at what she cares about, and shouldn’t we all?
“It’s rare and lucky for someone to offer you money to show up and be you. Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life. Yeah, duh. Give me something to do that I love, and I’m there. It’s what I’ve spent my whole career looking for and-fine, with varying degrees of effort and initiative-working toward.”Tough Titties
The only thing missing for me is I would have liked to read a bit more about the more current parts of Belgray’s life, her career in particular. This is probably more in line with what she delves into in her courses though, so it’s understandable that it wouldn’t be included. So yes, I’m left wanting a little more. However, it’s a nice short, compelling reading at around 300 pages.
Disclosure: I pre-ordered the audio version of this book. I was gifted a physical and digital ARC (advance reading copy) from Hachette Books. This was contingent upon my pre-ordering a version of the book. As this is an ARC, parts of the book mentioned above may still change before the publication date.