For my first Cannonball 8 review (and my first book review. . .ever!), I reread one of Laurie Notaro’s essay collections. I own all of these and love to revisit them from time to time. This summer, however, during a move-induced purging frenzy, I accidentally sold my copy of the Flaming Tantrum of Death. I borrowed it from the library to see if it was worth buying again.
While there are a couple essays in here that fall flat for me (or maybe I’ve just reread them too many times), the chapter on laser hair removal makes it all worthwhile. Every time I read this, I end up laughing so hard I can barely breathe. The final chapter, about an Alaskan cruise Notaro takes with her best friend Jamie, is also a highlight. The chapter about the health decline of her dog Bella is so moving and sad, especially if you’ve ever lost a pet.
The older I get, the more I identify with Notaro’s inability to let people get away with idiotic or obnoxious behavior. She’s incapable of just ignoring the rude driver behind her, or the guy touching all the food at the buffet. Notaro is not for everyone–some people might be offended or find her rude and crude (she is both, but I enjoy that about her). While the chapter about her husband’s attempt to fix the clogged drain in their basement made me laugh, it’s also incredibly disgusting. This isn’t my favorite of her essay collections, and not the one I would recommend to a friend, but I still found it fairly enjoyable. Once I start reading or rereading an author, I tend to get on a kick of wanting to read all their stuff, so I would imagine there will be more Notaro reviews coming from me in the near future.