It Looked Different on the Model: Epic Tales of Impending Shame and Infamy

Laurie Notaro. Villard, $15 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-345-51099-0
Trying to fit in—sometimes literally—can be daunting, but Notaro's attempts are hilariously captured in this collection. In "Let It Bleed," Notaro (Spooky Little Girl) takes on the bane of women everywhere: trying on clothes in a dressing room, with lighting ranges from "cruel" to "barbaric." In "She's a Pill," it's not a physical hurdle Notaro must overcome but a mental one: her alter ago, "Ambien Laurie," who emerges when Notaro takes the sleeping pill that can cause people to act strangely in their sleep—Notaro binges on junk food like a zombie and watches dreadful movies. Her relationship with her staunchly Republican parents, who live in Phoenix, Ariz., and are still dismayed that Notaro moved to Eugene, Ore., is most notably described in "It's a Bomb," when she flies in for her mother's birthday. Notaro regresses to rebellious daughter and her parents to their old overbearing selves, complete with Notaro's obsessively clean mother telling her, "[I]f you're going to shed [in the shower], pick it up. Hair makes me gag." Notaro's humor is self-deprecating without ever swaying into self-pity, and her situations are both specific and universal. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/09/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
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