I will always pick novels to read that have provocative titles such as The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death by Laurie Notaro. I am sure that the author intended to punch the reading audience with such a wake-up title and then, to make sure they paid attention, Notaro followed with an explanation of what the novel is about: Reflections on Revenge, Germophobia, and Laser Hair Removal. The novel is listed as non-fiction which I can accept as far as the situations written about. The humorous asides and comparisons in description border on the absurd and take the reader into the world of fiction. Most of the novel is laugh-out-loud humor but there are segments, such as in the life of blind dog Bella, that will be emotional for readers.
Because this is non-fiction, we can know many things about the author from her Amazon Author page. Reading this novel, I can guess that she is a mature woman (not old) who continues to look forward to life’s adventures. Not afraid of trying new things, she is also (cliché alert) the hero of her own story. Reading of her colorful younger years in the several community colleges she attended will make parents of daughters shudder with the thought “I hope my daughter doesn’t turn out like that.” From this account, I believe that is what Laurie’s mother says frequently.
Notaro describes daily life, routines, and the roles stereotypes have in social interaction. She is presently comfortable with her Prius but that would have not been her choice in college days. That doesn’t stop her from engaging in a bit of road rage against insulting younger drivers acting like the Laurie of past years. Notaro comments a lot on concepts of beauty. She describes her occasional swings in weight gain and weight loss as she discusses the value of purchasing extended warranties on a treadmill.
As a person who lives outside the Western culture, I was a little put off by some of the disasters and life situations Notaro had to put up with. They were examples of White Whine. When Bella (dog) was sick, Notaro had to find a Vet in her new residence in Oregon. The Vet had to run tests and the results were not immediately available. Notaro decries the lack of contiguously located laboratory facilities of the type that had been available to her in Phoenix. Nowhere does this “Whine” show up more than on a cruise ship where Notaro disparages the behavior of passengers who tried to save money by renting windowless cabins. Their behavior at the ship’s Buffet made them a class of people apart.
There is not offensive language in this book but the creative way Notaro uses language to describe intimate bodily functions will put off some readers. On the other hand, this is part of the humor. I found the humor of the book outweighed my grumbling about the “White Whine” aspects. This is a four-star (and more if your niche is humor) Amazon read.