Monday, September 23, 2013

The Potty Mouth at the Table by Laurie Notaro

Pinterest. Foodies. Anne Frank's underwear. New York Times bestselling author Laurie Notaro - rightfully hailed as "the funniest writer in the solar system" (The Miami Herald) - spares nothing and no one, least of all herself, in this uproarious new collection of essays on rudeness. With the sardonic, self-deprecating wit that makes us all feel a little better about ourselves for identifying with her, Laurie explores her recent misadventures and explains why it's not her who is nuts, it's them (and okay, sometimes it's her too).

Whether confessing that her obsession with buying fabric has reached junior hoarder status or mistaking a friend's heinous tattoo as temporary, Laurie puts her unique spin - sometimes bizarre, always entertaining - on the many perils of modern living in a mannerless society. From shuddering at the graphic Harry Potter erotica conjured up as a writer's group to lamenting the sudden ubiquity of quinoa ("It looks like larvae no matter how you cook it"), [this book] is whip-smart, unpredictable, and hilarious. In other words, irresistibly Laurie.

I've been a fan of Notaro's for some time now, so when I noticed that our library system had picked up her latest work, I rejoiced. Then I got it home, and really rejoiced - this book is funny. I usually relate to most of what she's saying, but this one had me laughing out loud, a very good thing.

From getting dissed by the Antiques Roadshow people to her horrific encounter with the world's worst-smelling cab, this book is just awesome.Her piece on why she hates the yoga people had me practically in tears (how many dead bodies can one author find?), as well as why she's over foodies, the things she's sick-to-death-of on Pinterest, and the six things she never wants to hear in the pharmacy line again (I'm very much with her on those). I really enjoyed her chapter "Fabric Obsession"; I don't have one that causes me to buy any, but I can't walk into a fabric store and not touch just about everything that's displayed. Especially if it has some sort of texture to it. It's weird, I know. And sadly, not always limited to fabric stores.

The book really does run the gamut from the hysterical to the touching. The titular chapter is a witty piece about her literary duel with a "serious" author, as well as trying to stomach sessions such as those devoted to erotic fan fiction. (totally with her on this one - I do NOT want to read about any of my fave fictional characters doing the nasty - not unless those scenes are written by the author him/herself. Eww...) The final chapter, "Rewinding", takes a serious turn as Laurie and her circle confront one of life's hardest lessons - the potentially fatal illness of a friend. It's a very moving look at how this wise-cracking writer helps a friend who is diagnosed with a brain tumor, how she copes with her fears while being strong for her friend. And how life changes, but not always in a bad way. I was very surprised to see this chapter, but I think it also shows her growth as an author.

Highly recommended.


Wendy said...

I agree it's hilarious.

Now that you've read it, can it come off your wish list??

Traci (aka the Bookbabe) said...

Oops! Your wish is my command. I will clean out said wish list. Sorry about that...