My dear friend Amy Fish has a book coming out this fall about how to ask for what you want and get what you need. I’ve taken it upon myself to become a one-person evangelist for it. It changed how I thought about standing up for myself in a way I needed more than I could admit. That’s the beauty of books—you don’t have to confess your weaknesses publicly, you can just get help with them on the DL. Also, there is a giveaway if you read to the end of this post!
At some point in our lives, we’ve all experienced a small injustice — a restaurant botching our lunch order, a business not returning our calls, or a fellow airline passenger squashing us by moving his seat back — and suffered in silence for fear of offending anyone. When we fail to speak up, however, we end up shortchanging ourselves. In I Wanted Fries with That, Amy Fish encourages readers to stand up for themselves by complaining effectively. In her career as a university ombudsman, Fish has dealt with thousands of complaints — some trivial, some serious — and gained actionable insights about what works and what doesn’t. Her suggestions will appeal to anyone who wants to speak up and isn’t sure where to start, including managers navigating workplace disputes, couples who argue about the same things over and over, and even someone with a friend with bad breath. Illustrating her points with funny real-life stories, Fish reveals pragmatic methods to redress grievances with civility, honesty, and fairness for everyone involved — whether you’re trying to right the wrongs of the world or just claim the French fries you ordered.
You know you need help learning to stand up for yourself—we all do. I’m going to make an assumption and guess that maybe you have a problem putting your needs first and buying yourself things like books on complaining. By pre-ordering now, you are making a promise to yourself to learn how to complain in the future, and thus can procrastinate on the actual complaining part while feeling good that you really are going to address this issue later.
You will read this book and say, “Wow, complaining isn’t too hard or scary. I can totally do this!”
As a bonus, contained in its pages is a recommendation for a book about homeless donkeys, and who doesn’t want a book about homeless donkeys? I, for one, cannot resist a good donkey book. Of course, I promptly bought it, and inside that book is another recommendation for a different book about donkeys and of course I added that to my TBR list. I think I might have forgotten my point but the donkey book is as enjoyable as Amy Fish said.
Back on topic:
It teaches you to complain nicely. It explains how complaining is a way of advocating for the people who come after you. It changed my view of complaining so much that now I feel as if I have let the world down if I don’t stand up against the injustice of brown lettuce!
Further Digression: You see, I was raised with two parents: one who complained about everything, embarrassed the heck out us, but generally got a positive resolution and a “nice” parent who wouldn’t complain if the doctor cut off the wrong leg during surgery. I viewed complaining as something nice people didn’t do.
I am slightly exaggerating. My mother was very clear about which leg to cut when she had hip replacement surgery a few years ago. But the family joke still holds true:
How Many Jewish mothers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
It’s ok, Bubbe, I’ll sit in the dark…
As a result, I have become someone who was told to grow a pair twice in the same week, by two different people in two different states. I needed to learn to advocate for myself. I had to get over this idea that “nice” girls just allow the world to stampede over them.
I found Amy Fish’s reframing of the very idea of complaining revolutionary. It helped me see that complaining improved the world. It was something that nice people very much needed to do.
But there's more. Amy Fish has done the unthinkable—she's made the process of acquiring a new skill into something enjoyable. This book is incredibly funny, and I devoured it in two days. I could have easily had another 100 pages.
How it works: Amy Fish combines personal narratives with step-by-step instructions and questions for further reflection on several aspects of complaining, broken down into three sections:
I Want My Problem Solved
I Want You To Change
I Want Justice To Be Served
Each section has laugh out loud funny stories and commentary as well as easy to follow advice. I feel as if I'm a better person for reading it, and that standing up for myself is not too scary to handle.
Now for the GIVEAWAY I promised!!
If you retweet this blog or otherwise share it on social media I will enter you in a drawing for a signed copy of Amy Fish’s first book, The Art of Complaining Effectively.
I loved this little gem so much that I stalked her at HippoCamp and begged her to do a presentation with me and also be my friend and send me Canadian candy. (Which she did.)
This book is only available from 3rdparty sellers on Amazon and the current price is listed at $126.99 so it is obviously highly collectible.
It’s a beautiful little limited edition book that gives a taste for Amy Fish's knowledge and humor. Winner will be chosen at random 8/20/19. US/Canada only.
BONUS SECRET INFORMATION:
I have inside knowledge that Amy Fish will have a bonus for anyone who preorders during HippoCamp, Hippocampus Magazine’s Creative Nonfiction Conference, which runs from August 23-25 in Lancaster, PA. Can’t make the conference but want the bonus? Message me and I’ll hook you up.
Copyright © 2023 Lara Lillibridge
Public domain imagery courtesy of Snappygoat.com