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Fierce, Funny, and Female: A Journey Through Middle America, the Texas Oil Field, and Standup Comedy

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Fierce, Funny, and Female is the prequel to the critically acclaimed, nationally award-winning and bestselling memoir, Never Give in to Fear. In her raw, vivid, and unabashed style, author Marti MacGibbon delivers a sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious, always engaging account of her passage through trauma, betrayal, and loss in adolescence and young adulthood to disco Fierce, Funny, and Female is the prequel to the critically acclaimed, nationally award-winning and bestselling memoir, Never Give in to Fear. In her raw, vivid, and unabashed style, author Marti MacGibbon delivers a sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious, always engaging account of her passage through trauma, betrayal, and loss in adolescence and young adulthood to discover her inner badass self. As one of the first women to work as a laborer in the Texas oil field, she set off explosives and staked oil wells before realizing her childhood dream of becoming a successful standup comic. Marti introduces readers to a wide range of characters in her life: from sleazy authority figures, wannabe Sixties musicians and crazed Corn Belt cult leaders, to Texas oil billionaires and wildcatters, to wild-eyed redneck coworkers who robbed banks on their lunch hour--in the company truck. The book includes scenes with iconic comedians, Hollywood entertainment industry moguls, and a legendary bluesman, and offers insights into resiliency, courage, and self-empowerment.


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Fierce, Funny, and Female is the prequel to the critically acclaimed, nationally award-winning and bestselling memoir, Never Give in to Fear. In her raw, vivid, and unabashed style, author Marti MacGibbon delivers a sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious, always engaging account of her passage through trauma, betrayal, and loss in adolescence and young adulthood to disco Fierce, Funny, and Female is the prequel to the critically acclaimed, nationally award-winning and bestselling memoir, Never Give in to Fear. In her raw, vivid, and unabashed style, author Marti MacGibbon delivers a sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious, always engaging account of her passage through trauma, betrayal, and loss in adolescence and young adulthood to discover her inner badass self. As one of the first women to work as a laborer in the Texas oil field, she set off explosives and staked oil wells before realizing her childhood dream of becoming a successful standup comic. Marti introduces readers to a wide range of characters in her life: from sleazy authority figures, wannabe Sixties musicians and crazed Corn Belt cult leaders, to Texas oil billionaires and wildcatters, to wild-eyed redneck coworkers who robbed banks on their lunch hour--in the company truck. The book includes scenes with iconic comedians, Hollywood entertainment industry moguls, and a legendary bluesman, and offers insights into resiliency, courage, and self-empowerment.

36 review for Fierce, Funny, and Female: A Journey Through Middle America, the Texas Oil Field, and Standup Comedy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Fierce, Funny, and Female: A Journey Through Middle America, the Texas Oil Field, and Standup Comedy by Marti MacGibbon is a 2017 Stay Strong publication. Marti MacGibbon has truly led a very challenging life!! However, she is also a bold inspiration, and living proof that if there is a will, there is a way. This memoir follows Marti from her teenage years beginning in 1969 up to present day, where she is enjoying the realization of a lifelong dream. Marti’s story is not an easy one to read abo Fierce, Funny, and Female: A Journey Through Middle America, the Texas Oil Field, and Standup Comedy by Marti MacGibbon is a 2017 Stay Strong publication. Marti MacGibbon has truly led a very challenging life!! However, she is also a bold inspiration, and living proof that if there is a will, there is a way. This memoir follows Marti from her teenage years beginning in 1969 up to present day, where she is enjoying the realization of a lifelong dream. Marti’s story is not an easy one to read about in many ways. I’ll be completely honest and say that most of this book is harrowing, and one should be prepared to read about some uncomfortable topics. Marti lays it all out there, with blunt honesty, with no holds barred. The story is a heavy one, which can take a toll on one’s emotions. I had to take a break from Marti’s reality from time to time for what I nicknamed ‘bleakness-breaks.” However, if you want to see true feminism, follow Marti’s story. She has worked in male dominated fields her entire life and carved out a niche for herself despite the odds. Finding women out in the Texas Oil Fields was a very rare occurrence in the eighties, but Marti stuck with it, making me feel a little abashed complaining about the ‘good ole boy’ network I had to cope with, back before I retired. She stuck it out, in a rough environment, which, in the end, helped her build both a physical and mental toughness that prepared her for the next stage in her life. Although she was victimized, suffered through addictions and mental health issues, and made some whopping errors in judgment, she also had guts, grit, and determination, and became a survivor. She is a true trailblazer and has come out on the other side of her tribulations to become a successful stand- up comedian, motivational speaker and author. Seriously, this lady has rubbed elbows with some very well-known comedians!! Not only that, she pays it forward by helping others who have battled the same demons she has. There is only one hole in the book, which is centered around Marti’s daughter. The fight for custody was one of Marti’s main reasons for toughing it out in the oil fields, but we were never updated on how things turned out on that front. Other than that, Marti’s voice is genuine and realistic, and the story flows with a steady pace. I was able to visualize Marti’s life and the various people she introduced me too, as well as the landscape she describes. The ‘oil field’ language can be colorful, so one should be prepared for that, in advance, but I’m glad she didn’t water anything down. There is only one hole in the book, which is centered around Marti’s daughter. The fight for custody was one of Marti’s main reasons for toughing it out in the oil fields, but we were never updated on how things turned out on that front. Although the positive aspects of Marti’s life took a while to surface, it makes her success seem that much sweeter. One thing that strikes me is how far we’ve come in the time span covered in this book, with Marti paving paths in ways she never realized at the time. Sadly, her last comments in the author segment were written in a time when new and exciting prospects seemed possible. Although there was still much work to be done, we could look back with pride and see the great strides we’d taken over the past decades. However, some of the major progress we’ve made in women’s rights and in civil rights are once more threatened. But, if there is anything I gleaned from Marti’s story, it is to keep fighting the good fight, to face challenges head on, and to never give up on your hopes and dreams!! 4.5

  2. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    I’ve only read a handful of memoirs this year, but even if nonfiction was my predominant genre, I’m certain MacGibbon’s story would leave a lasting impression. “DEEP DOWN, I’VE ALWAYS BEEN FIERCE, BUT DIDN’T COME TO GRIPS WITH THAT TILL LATER ON." Told in three parts, this prequel focuses on MacGibbon’s traumatic teenage years, her tenacity in the Texas oil fields, and her time onstage as a stand-up comic. Written in an engaging voice, as if she’s speaking to us right off the page, Fierce, Funn I’ve only read a handful of memoirs this year, but even if nonfiction was my predominant genre, I’m certain MacGibbon’s story would leave a lasting impression. “DEEP DOWN, I’VE ALWAYS BEEN FIERCE, BUT DIDN’T COME TO GRIPS WITH THAT TILL LATER ON." Told in three parts, this prequel focuses on MacGibbon’s traumatic teenage years, her tenacity in the Texas oil fields, and her time onstage as a stand-up comic. Written in an engaging voice, as if she’s speaking to us right off the page, Fierce, Funny, and Female quickly captured — and held — my attention. I fell hard for the spunky elementary school comic-in-training who took roles whenever, and wherever, she could find them. I appreciated her intensity and determination at such a young age (despite Sister Mary Elizabeth continued rejections), which probably made her turbulent transition into her teens even harder to read on the page. I know she grew up in a different era, but reading MacGibbon’s blunt reveal of how she lost her virginity, got involved with drugs, eating disorders, and skeevy photographers all before her SIXTEENTH birthday was simply heartbreaking. And the most chilling part? That was only the beginning. As a decades-later reader, all I could do was continue to quickly turn the pages to see how the after effects of trauma continued to mold MacGibbon’s life. From an early marriage to religious cults, debt collection, psych wards, a baby, and abusive and manipulative in-laws, our narrator faces quite the stress-inducing and unrelenting journey. And after an almost unfathomable incident, she’s forced to leave her only joy, her baby girl, and try to build a new life worthy of her in Texas. “YOU FIGHT BY LIVING, AND WORKING, AND SHOWING YOUR KID HOW MUCH YOU CARE, IN ANY WAY POSSIBLE AND YOU WAIT, AND WATCH AND WHEN YOUR TIME COMES, YOU’RE READY…AND I KNOW HOW THIS IS GOING TO END UP. I WILL PROVE MY LOVE FOR MY CHILD." The second (and largest) chunk of the novel set in the Texas oil fields provides some levity to the heavy content we’re exposed to in first third of the novel. I enjoyed getting to meet some of the gritty Texan characters and watch as MacGibbon’s determination and resilience earned her the highest esteem among the seismic crew. One of the biggest laughs for me in the novel actually came from some of the “bonding sessions” featured in this portion of book and involves deer blinds. Trust me it’s worth finding out what I mean on your own! The final (and shortest section) of the memoir is devoted to MacGibbon’s transition to the stage. Even though it only occupied about 50 pages or so of the story, I truly enjoyed seeing how this evolution played out. It was great to see the advice, tips, and tricks she received along the way — especially in the form of a rather famous cameo. Ultimately, while one major issue is left unresolved, this memoir was entertaining, emotional, and easy to get lost in! Packing some heavy-hitting punches (and punchlines) MacGibbon’s story is a powerful reminder of what we can accomplish when we stay true to ourselves and our goals.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews

    This book dives into the gritty world of Texas oil fields, growing up in the 70's and free love & drugs, and one woman's perseverance to survive it all, if not for herself, then for her daughter. I was intrigued by this book because Marti is a woman that found herself in a man's world in the late 70s. And not just any man's world, but one that was rough and tough and filled with discrimination and sexual overtones.  She gave as good as she got and was well respected by her peers which was probabl This book dives into the gritty world of Texas oil fields, growing up in the 70's and free love & drugs, and one woman's perseverance to survive it all, if not for herself, then for her daughter. I was intrigued by this book because Marti is a woman that found herself in a man's world in the late 70s. And not just any man's world, but one that was rough and tough and filled with discrimination and sexual overtones.  She gave as good as she got and was well respected by her peers which was probably a miracle considering the industry. The first third of the book discusses her life growing up and some of the horrors she encountered as a teen, a young wife, and as a mother.  Some of the chapters were hard to read for me because of the drug use described in the chapters.  Her ex's family was very controlling and some of what she experienced at their hands was devastating.  I know there are many people out there like Derek and his parents and that is a shame but at the same time I think it gave Marti strength and courage to tackle tough career choices and excel later in life. I enjoyed watching her grow especially when it came to being a comedian.  She took a lot of the advice to heart given by many famous comedians which helped her hone and perfect her craft.  I know she has given back ten fold what she received to other comedians coming up in the ranks.  I cracked up when she was describing a scene at a cattle call and laying on the Texas accent and stereotypes.  Funny thing is that she was talking to the head of NBC and had no idea who he was and his role at the studio.   Because no book is perfect, here are a few things I didn't like or found lacking.  There are a ton of f* bombs.  I totally expected it especially during the chapters talking about the Texas oil fields and working with the men.  It is a hard job field and is filled with tough individuals with varied pasts and just seems like that would be a normal part of every day in the fields.  I didn't expect to see one when talking about her childhood (around 8).   The other thing is that there was no mention of her daughter once Marti found herself immersed in becoming a stand-up comedian (the last few chapters).  I know she was working towards custody of her daughter but how was it resolved? Overall this was a book that shows you that you can overcome anything once you have made that decision.  It will make you laugh and respect Marti for everything she endured before getting where she is today. We give this 4 paws up.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ruthie Jones

    In Fierce, Funny, and Female, Marti MacGibbon shows us just how badass she is. But her bravado, ferocity, and true grit are more than just a part of her persona; they are part of her defense mechanism, her survival instincts, and her way of coping and trying desperately to stay the course. This story is rife with hard truths about a young girl coming of age in the 1960s and 1970s, when free love and sex, drugs, and rock and roll reigned supreme. Marti doesn’t hold back in telling her readers abou In Fierce, Funny, and Female, Marti MacGibbon shows us just how badass she is. But her bravado, ferocity, and true grit are more than just a part of her persona; they are part of her defense mechanism, her survival instincts, and her way of coping and trying desperately to stay the course. This story is rife with hard truths about a young girl coming of age in the 1960s and 1970s, when free love and sex, drugs, and rock and roll reigned supreme. Marti doesn’t hold back in telling her readers about everything she experienced during her formative years and beyond. Fierce, Funny, and Female is not for the squeamish or the easily offended. The pages are filled with foul language, misogyny, sexual promiscuity and rape, violence, and a smorgasbord of drugs and alcohol. Amidst all this turmoil is a woman who gets knocked down more times than she can count but gets back up again, always stronger, braver, and wiser. Marti MacGibbon’s story is difficult to read, but it is also enlightening, truly inspiring, and often quite hilarious, mostly because she is a determined woman who has battled her way through hardship, poor choices, helplessness, heartache, and incessant harassment from men threatened by her audacity to stand her ground and infiltrate their domain at every turn. In Fierce, Funny, and Female, Marti takes the reader on a fascinating journey, from her adolescence in the 1960s to her emergence into standup comedy in the early-to-mid 1980s. But while this particular book ends on a high note, Marti’s heartbreaking yet inspiring story is far from over. Find out more from Terri Gorski's blog post here and by reading Marti's other book, Never Give in to Fear. An entertaining aspect of Fierce, Funny, and Female is that the reader gains a unique view of Texas during the oil boom of the 1970s. Marti was right there on the front lines, holding her own as one of the first women to breach the testosterone-laden Texas oil fields, all with tremendous success, a “man-sized” paycheck, and a fair amount of fodder for her standup comedy routine later on. Even though Marti has encountered more than her fair share of trouble from an early age, she keeps moving forward, she keeps fighting and working and laughing. And she makes us laugh as well, even when the story is anything but funny. As a side note, because this story ends in the 1980s, Marti's fight with her ex-husband over their daughter is not over at the end of Fierce, Funny, and Female, so don't be surprised to find that the fate of her relationship with her daughter remains a frustrating loose end. Check out Marti MacGibbon's Website here and her Blog here. *** "I will forever thank Texas—its wild, rowdy weather extremes and its resilient, eccentric native citizens—for teaching me how to adapt, survive, and discover my inner strength by thinking for myself."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lorilei Gonzales

    MacGibbon knows how to hook a reader. What a standup comic is doing in the middle of gunfire will rouse most people's interest, I think. The prologue is a teaser of what is to come in the middle of the book. First, MacGibbon takes you back, way back. She walks you through her innocent beginnings and then the sad descent into adolescent corruption. It's a wonder that she made it to adulthood, and dug herself out of a pretty deep pit. The lighter sections read like the memoir of funny lady Tina Fey MacGibbon knows how to hook a reader. What a standup comic is doing in the middle of gunfire will rouse most people's interest, I think. The prologue is a teaser of what is to come in the middle of the book. First, MacGibbon takes you back, way back. She walks you through her innocent beginnings and then the sad descent into adolescent corruption. It's a wonder that she made it to adulthood, and dug herself out of a pretty deep pit. The lighter sections read like the memoir of funny lady Tina Fey, very smart and entertaining. When we get to the darker parts, the book reads like nothing I have ever held before. At times, I cringed at the horrible things she endured, but she writes about them in a way that doesn't elicit sympathy. She's not clinically detached, but she never feels sorry for herself; so you don't feel sorry for her. Every victory that comes her way is hard earned and you can't help but pump your fist in the air (mentally, at least) every time something good happens. After all the abuse dispensed upon her by the opposite sex, it is incredible that she not only bounces back, but chooses two careers that are notorious for being boys only and rises to success. What I find particularly inspiring is that all of her success stems from the need to be a good mother to her daughter. When I reached the end, I reflected on all that I read and was pleasantly surprised to find that this memoir was sort of a behind-the-scenes look of not only the early Texas oil days, but of the comedy club circuit and television as well. The oil parts were longer than I had anticipated, but the cover of the book should have clued me in. Since oil field work was her shtick, I wish that MacGibbon shared some of that material in the book. I guess I will just have to scour YouTube. Despite the difficult subject matter it contains, I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. 

  6. 4 out of 5

    Maida

    I don’t normally read non-fiction unless it’s a craft book on writing or a cookbook and I hardly ever read memoirs, but there’s something about this book that called to me. The catchy title alone had me anticipating a good read and I wasn’t disappointed. The first third was quite harrowing, with her tales of abuse, drug addiction, sexual assault, hospitalization, brainwashing, and the most heart-breaking of all, her separation from her daughter. But the telling was quite fascinating in that thro I don’t normally read non-fiction unless it’s a craft book on writing or a cookbook and I hardly ever read memoirs, but there’s something about this book that called to me. The catchy title alone had me anticipating a good read and I wasn’t disappointed. The first third was quite harrowing, with her tales of abuse, drug addiction, sexual assault, hospitalization, brainwashing, and the most heart-breaking of all, her separation from her daughter. But the telling was quite fascinating in that through everything she had suffered, there was always her determination to do everything she could to get out of the bad situation. To rise and recover. To hope for a better tomorrow. Quotes like this had me tearing up: “… there’s more than one way to fight. You fight by living, and working, and showing your kid how much you care, in any way possible. And you wait, and watch, and when your time comes, you’re ready.” Marti’s storytelling is absolutely fantastic. The scenes leap out of the pages, they come alive so vividly. I especially enjoyed her adventures all over Texas, laughed at some of the incredibly weird situations she got involved in and the colorful characters she met along the way. She dealt with every discriminatory, sexist thing thrown at her with humor, positivity, and self-belief, proving the title of the book perfectly fitting. I bookmarked several pages of this book, particularly the last few chapters where Marti was receiving advice from successful humorists and the final one where she imparted some of her own. Although not a comedian, I can definitely apply some of the wisdom she shared in my writing, in my living. I love this advice best of all: “Be yourself. You are enough, right now, as you are, and if you continue the brave work, you will continue to become more, and greater, exponentially. Trust in that, build your tenacity, and continue on your path, no matter the challenges.” To end, I say to readers: buy this book. Read it and learn from Marti’s experiences. Be inspired. Be strong. Be Fierce, Funny, and Female. That’s what I hope to become, in my own way.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gayle Lucka

    Excellent. She's a survivor and an awesome lady. Excellent. She's a survivor and an awesome lady.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cinzia Stover

  9. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Lovett

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lone Star Literary Life

    Average rating 4.7 for the Lone Star Book Blog Tours team.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Vivek

  12. 4 out of 5

    dan sanders

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kate Sortino

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rhiannon

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  16. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

  18. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gina

  20. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kristine Hall

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  24. 4 out of 5

    Karen Siddall

  25. 4 out of 5

    Epep1710

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shirley

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  28. 5 out of 5

    E.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Will Griesmer

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Griesmer

  31. 5 out of 5

    SD

  32. 5 out of 5

    James Robert

  33. 5 out of 5

    Dan

  34. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  35. 4 out of 5

    Brent Strassburg

  36. 4 out of 5

    Bernice Kennedy

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