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Publisher's Summary

“One of our smartest, most inventive humor writers, Ortberg combines bathos and the devotional into a revelation.” (Jordy Rosenberg, The New York Times Book Review)

From the New York Times best-selling author of Texts from Jane Eyre and Merry Spinster, writer of Slate's "Dear Prudence" column, and cofounder of The Toast comes a hilarious and stirring collection of essays and cultural observations spanning pop culture - from the endearingly popular to the staggeringly obscure.

Daniel M. Lavery is known for blending genres, forms, and sources to develop fascinating new hybrids - from lyric rants to horror recipes to pornographic scripture. In his most personal work to date, he turns his attention to the essay, offering vigorous and laugh-out-loud funny accounts of both popular and highbrow culture while mixing in meditations on gender transition, family dynamics, and the many meanings of faith.

From a thoughtful analysis of the beauty of William Shatner to a sinister reimagining of HGTV's House Hunters, and featuring figures as varied as Anne of Green Gables, Columbo, Nora Ephron, Apollo, and the cast of Mean Girls, Something That May Shock and Discredit You is a hilarious and emotionally exhilarating compendium that combines personal history with cultural history to make you see yourself and those around you entirely anew. It further establishes Ortberg as one of the most innovative and engaging voices of his generation - and it may just change the way you think about Lord Byron forever.

©2020 Daniel Mallory Ortberg (P)2020 Simon & Schuster Audio

Critic Reviews

“A delightful hybrid of a book...blends genres with expert facility.... Throughout, Ortberg's writing is vulnerable but confident, specific but never narrow, literal and lyrical. The author is refreshingly unafraid of his own uncertainty, but he's always definitive where it counts.... You'll laugh, you'll cry, often both at once. Everyone should read this extraordinary book.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

"Fans of Ortberg will welcome his signature wit in this impossible-to-classify audiobook. Though newcomers may feel slightly adrift, Ortberg's narration is undeniably powerful. He combines memoir, Biblical exegesis, and trans retellings of fiction and myth into a book about gender and transition unlike any other. His narration is multilayered and alive. One moment his voice scrapes raw; the next, it's full of delight. He'll have you laughing one moment and weeping the next. His voice swings from vulnerable to silly, tender to dry. Sometimes his irreverence shines through - as in his voicing of Greek gods in a trans reimagining of Athena's birth. Sometimes he speaks with breath-catching honesty about his uncertainty surrounding transition. Every moment of this audiobook is a joy to listen to." (AudioFile Magazine, Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award)

“Ortberg brings the full force of his wit and literary depth to this genre-bending essay collection, [which] intersperses searingly honest passages about his journey as a transgender man with laugh-out-loud funny literary pastiche....an often hilarious, sometimes discomfiting, but invariably honest account of one man’s becoming.” (Publishers Weekly)

Editor's Pick

Faith, Gender, and Feathered Miscreants
"My favorite piece of non-audio fiction from 2019 is easily Daniel Mallory Ortberg’s piece here (writing as Daniel Lavery), which I can only describe as Untitled Goose Game fanfiction. While his newest listen, Something That May Shock and Discredit You, is not quite as absurd, specific, or ridiculous as the above mentioned flight of fancy, it is, however, the perfect collection of essays for lovers of quirky & keen observational humor. From ruminating on the sincere joy he gets from yelling encouraging things at groups of strangers, to the candid, soul-searching self-examination of his transition by way of hilarious and touching Biblical conceits, Something That May Shock and Discredit You stands apart from other essay collections as unique and relatable all at once." —Sean T., Audible Editor

What listeners say about Something That May Shock and Discredit You

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

I tried, I really did! 0.5 of a star

I could not tolerate the abundant biblical references. I quit at Chapter Three and I am usually one to force my way through even the most challenging book.

2 people found this helpful

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Resonates, hard.

If you grew up megachurch fundie (specifically of the Willow Creek Community Church 1991-2009) the narration will give you chills. It’s a must listen.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

Better Suited as a PowerPoint Presentation

The author gives it their all, but it's not enough to save this work which feels like a very lengthy tone poem at times, and like it should be accompanied by a snappy PowerPoint deck at other times. It doesn't make me happy to have an unpleasant review of this work. I earnestly wanted to like it.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

Simply awful and unintelligible.

This book sounds like someone who is reading a set of stream-of-consciousness, poorly-written, teen-angst-saturated "Dear Diary" entries, interspersed with often loooooooong quotes from the Bible.

Exhausting is the most generous I am willing to be. Nails on a blackboard, cringingly, narcissistic and nonsensical.

I will be returning.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent on every level

This book was weird, hilarious, heartfelt, and brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it, and am very glad I read/listened to it. I'm generally not much of an audiobook person to be honest, but Daniel Lavery reads it extremely well, and I don't at all regret buying it in this medium.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

This tale of self-discovery may have shocked Marcus Aurelius...

... or maybe not. Either way, this is a highly entertaining and thought-provoking book. It is, of course, a personal story about transitioning but it is also about the kind of self-exploration that enables all of us to grow and become the best possible versions of ourselves.
It is also a very moving and very funny guide through the narrator’s outer and inner lives. It is a tale worthy of the telling and told well.

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thoughtful, funny, and heady

the narrator was great and really made this audiobook. there were so many references to ancient literature that the metaphors were tough to follow but the authors thoughtful reflection on transgender transition and funny reflections made it worth it.