Sunday, January 3, 2010

An Idiot Girl's Christmas by Laurie Notaro

First published in 2005.

It's the most wonderful - and most dreadful - season of the year, when boxes of truffles attack your thighs, drunken holiday revelers outstay their welcome, and your grandmother has conniptions at the department store over the price of hand lotion. Welcome to Laurie Notaro's Christmastime. In ten band-new stories and three previously published favorites, Notaro shares the sidesplitting daily disasters of the holidays, like finding herself on emergency feminine-product recon at midnight on Christmas Eve; surrendering to the inevitable Horrible Gift Parade by simply asking for holiday dish towels and giant white underwear from Sears; battling the morons in line at the seventh circle of hell, otherwise known as the do-it-yourself craft store; and, thanks to an unfortunate misunderstanding involving a fake overdose and emergency paramedics, trying to live down her reputation as The Most Unfun Christmas Party Guest Ever.

So whether you find yourself at the Dull and Smart Party or the Fun and Stupid Party this holiday season, you'll always know where to find Laurie - just follow the chocolate trail over to the cheese platter. She'll be the one dialing the cops.
(book flap blurb)

I just got this for Christmas last year (the year before?) and how good of me to just get around to reading it now. Not that I was begrudging reading it. I own The Idiot Girl's Action Adventure Guide and I thought that was hilarious. No reason to think the Christmas version would be any different.

And it wasn't. Notaro has this jaded snark about her that only comes with years of battling Murphy's Law tooth and nail only to end up in a drunken stupor with the guy at the end of it all. While Notaro is a chick, and while there is a period story mixed in there, either sex could read this book and get a kick out of it.

My favorite story was probable the first one in the book, about the shit-tastic Christmas gifts she always got, including the partially used ones. I am so lucky not to have family without clues. Although I do have one member and I have received something equivalent to half-used soap and an ugly sweater. I have a cousin who used to work at a now-defunct Big Box Store and she'd do all of her Christmas shopping at their sample store. I'm sure you can imagine what gems were borne of that trip. So imagine my surprise when I open my Christmas gift from her to get this red plaid ankle-length (complete with wrist and neck frills) nightgown paired with equally plaidy and frilly matching booties. I was maybe 16 when I got that. Personally I think that monstrosity pwns any ugly sweater a person could get. Pollyanna would have burned the thing in a field had she gotten it. Of course I had to put on my thank you face before I tucked it into the darkest recesses of my dresser drawer never to glace at it again. That is until it was exorcised and cast into my local Salvation Army. Sorry guys. But I'd rather freeze. Or field-dress a moose to obtain my own footie pajamas.

But really, the thing is the stories in this book are bound to hit you in one way or another because, during the holidays, we are all prone to come kind of Christmastime bat shittery. There's always that one relative that no one wants to deal with, that one Christmas present that you'd rather feed to a wood chipper and that one party that just gets a little too out of hand for its own good. We all have those stories (or will eventually, just give it time). Notaro just has a knack for self-deprecating humor that says, "You are not alone. Why don't you drink with me?"

It's not blatant or over the top. These stories are just, at their core, absolutely hilarious and they're fueled by Notaro's ability to spin a yarn into an ugly sweater with blinking lights. And one of them's out. If you have a chance to read any of her books, I'd highly recommend them. I've yet to meet one I haven't liked.


Kari (Flamingo1325) said...

This does look great! Thanks for the review.

CelticLady said...

I love Laurie Notaro and have read all her books. She is hilarious, even my husband read her books...Thanks for the review!!!

April said...

I haven't actually read any Notaro and now definitely am dying to check her out!

Fabulous review, I know I can relate to having batshit insane relatives and not really wanting to see them on Christmas, but doing it cuz I have to.

Also, funny story about the flannel PJ dress!

Donna said...

Yes, Notaro is definitely a must read!

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

Laurie Notaro ROCKS!

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