Thursday, March 5, 2009
THE IDIOT GIRL AND THE FLAMING TANTRUM OF DEATH/Laurie Notaro
I picked this up for free at www.fictionwise.com (it's still there as of this writing, and I suspect it'll be there until the paperback edition is released April 28/09) with no idea what I was getting.
The book is a collection of essays describing various aspects of Laurie Notaro's life. From learning a rapist is moving into her neighborhood to a white-water rafting trip to dealing with a flooded basement, the stories are clearly intended to be wildly hilarious.
Unfortunately, it wore thin for me about a third of the way in. The dialogue was so forced, with everyone dropping multiple puns or over-the-top similes in each statement, and I found myself losing interest. I adore this sort of thing (the Mimi Smartypants blog leaves me laughing every time, and I found her book on sale and reread it regularly) but in this book it just didn't end up working for me. Some parts, in fact, seemed utterly impossible, and I found myself pulled out of the book to think, "Could you really do that?"
The best story by far was the depiction of the death of her much-loved dog. She dropped the unrealistic language and situations and made it clear just how strongly she felt about the dog, and I felt it as I read.
I know that writing humor like this is far more difficult than it looks. Unfortunately, with this book I could see the effort and it took away from my enjoyment.