Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Book Clubbing It

I joined a book club recently and I love it! (*nerd warning*) I've always wanted to be in a book club. While we usually drink wine and gossip half the time, it's great fun and we all get to take turns selecting a book. This month we're reading author Laurie Notaro's novel The Idiot Girl's Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life.

I know I've written about the importance of titles and I just adore this one! It's clear it's a humorous, women's nonfiction book.

Here's what Publishers Weekly says about it:
This collection of columns, originally written for the Arizona Republic, details Notaro's daring exploits and comical mishaps as she matures from wild teenager to disheveled adult. "The Useless Black Bra and the Stinkin'-drunk Twelve-step Program" is a classic drinking story, complete with the lost friend who is eventually found in a neighbor's front yard wearing only a bra. This hard-drinking, chain-smoking approach to partying inevitably leads to some punishing hangovers; in one extreme case, Notaro is mistaken for a homeless person while en route to jury duty in "Going Courtin'." Not surprisingly, disregard for her appearance diminishes her chances of fulfilling her mother's dream and bringing home from the trial a "balding, sexually repressed twenty-seven-year-old attorney strangled in a Perry Ellis necktie." Notaro's QVC-addicted mother is predictably in opposition to and embarrassed by her daughter's bad-girl antics. In "Waking Angela Up," Notaro compares herself to Janeane Garofalo, and there indeed are clear similarities in the blunt self-deprecation that fuels both women's humor.

In my opinion, if David Sedaris' writing had a crazy love child with Melissa Bank's, the result would be Notaro's writing style.

I think her work can help remind nonfiction writers that there is a dearth of comedic writing out there and yet an audience for it. For fiction writers, we need to remember that so much of the comedy we write into our stories can be inspired by true life. We're so busy trying to create something new but there may be great ideas (or quirky characters) all around us if we just stop and observe a little closer.

Here's one of my favorite excerpts from the book entailing a drunken night out with a friend and the subsequent break-in after locking themselves out of the house. "I found that night that being smashed does other things to me besides making me believe that I am thin, attractive, and have a Motown-quality singing voice. It also makes me limber as a wrinkled prostitute, because I scaled a six-foot wall to Nikki's backyard in seconds flat, though the next day I woke up with so many bruises on my inner thighs that I thought I'd wrestled a gynecologist."

What are you reading for your book club; anything funny recently?


  1. I'm reading THAT EXACT BOOK for book club now! Imagine the luck. I think it's hilarious mostly because it reminds me of me squared. Like if my behavior were magnified ever so slightly...I'd be the Idiot Girls President. Probably why I picked it for our book club.

    Although, I wish I could enjoy it.

  2. Has anyone else read it? Did you think it's hilarious?