In that sense, the biography is like its subject: unrelentingly honest, unapologetically unfiltered. Fuck it, this is how it was. Though Ivins may be remembered mostly for her work and, with it, her wit, her biography remembers her in the way that she probably would have preferred: as someone who fought against the pressures placed on her by retreating into, and then projecting out, her own humanity. By laughing. By listening. By being a good friend. And by combining those things in the most productive way she knew how: by writing.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.