Although she has written two novels, Laurie Notaro is best known for her anthologies containing short stories and vignettes that cast the stink eye on every embarrassing experience a woman can have. Most of us have the good sense to keep quiet about them in hopes that no one will notice, or, if they do, they will soon forget about it. But not Notaro. She blabs them all, puts them right out there for all the world to tsk and laugh about.
"It's wonderful to keep Notaro's books around for those times when you need a pick-me-up and it's too early for margaritas."
One of her continuing themes is the plight of Ambien Laurie, who does not always get a good night's sleep after taking the little pink pill. Sometimes she gets up and orders items from QVC and later wonders why she keeps getting packages of shoes that she didn't order...or remember ordering. It reminds me of the time after my surgery that my morphine-addled brain thought it would be great to have a "Magic Bullet" that whipped up healthy smoothies in no time flat. The next day, all I could remember was that I ordered something. I had to wait until UPS delivered to find out what it was.
Whether she is relating her birthday surprise visit to her mother (mom couldn't pick her up from the airport because she and dad had made plans to have dinner out) or her trying to fit into a blouse that is obviously too small for her traditional frame, Notaro has a knack for humor and hyperbole that will cause the dourest of faces to grin. She describes a small neighborhood drugstore that carries everything from prescriptions to whoopee cushions. The place is cramped, chaotic and one step away from becoming an episode of "Hoarders." She muses, "I'm not sure how many people with OCD have spontaneously combusted in that store but I'm sure the number is not insignificant."
We missed Notaro when she stopped writing her column in our Phoenix daily newspaper. Phoenix's loss was Eugene, Oregon's gain. Unfortunately, the people of Eugene did not realize it and made life very difficult for our friend. She was actually blacklisted from her neighbor's annual Christmas party because she messed up a chorus of Jingle Bells. That reminds me of the time... Oh, never mind.
One last teaser. There is a paragraph in the middle of page 83 that will make you laugh out loud. For days. At least it had that effect on my bent sense of humor. I'm laughing about it right now. It's wonderful to keep Notaro's books around for those times when you need a pick-me-up and it's too early for margaritas. They're guaranteed to make you smile, chuckle or laugh out loud, depending on the depth of your misery and the sensitivity of your funny bone
Reviewed by Maggie Harding on July 26, 2011