by LAURIE NOTARO
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. Her vignettes are humorous if unoriginal. "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. Notaro, however, lacks the biting originality of her more famous counterpart. In "This Is a Public Service Announcement," Notaro rails against public restroom users, including "the hoverer" and "the talker." Her existing fans will agree with these sentiments, while new readers might simply shrug, thinking, "Who doesn't hate those characters?"
7 out of 10. <3