The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death is absurd and hilarious. This is the kind of book you will want to read aloud to a friend while giggling spontaneously and ultimately loosing the narrative, but enjoying it so much that the other person laughs along at the image of your attempts. Laurie Notaro has mastered her inner comedian with these short stories.
Though composed of brief narratives, the pieces can be read as chapters. Idiot Girl doesn't take life too seriously and inspires us to look more fondly at our haphazard, far-from-perfect lives. It's like reading a series of The Onion newspaper articles, where exaggeration of the obvious is a given, but in Notaro's work there is an every-woman truth to the comic rants and that makes Idiot Girl, much like The Onion, instantly relatable to the reader.
One piece stands out; the short story, “Death of a Catchphrase.” It is fresh, funny, and relatable to any audience. It is written almost like a piece of stand up and it positioned early enough in the book that the reader almost expects a few more like this mixed in. It is a slight disappointment that no more pieces like this should appear.
Negotiations with the beer giant crumbled when It's All Good insisted that his younger brother, It's All Aight (commonly known simply as Aight), be included in the campaign as well.
Budweiser pulled its offer when It's All Good refused to budge. Word got around that he was difficult to deal with, and the phone stopped ringing.”
What is also entertaining, is when 'It's All Good' is picked up in the selection “Happy Birthday and the Element of Surprise.” The fact that the catchphrase is naively used by a young cashier trying to make up for an unintentional insult on Notaro's age is just the icing on the cake.
This book is definitely geared towards women readers, but I suspect guys would appreciate the sarcastic wit and the plight of Notaro's poor husband. If you like the cute awkwardness of Bridget Jones, cleverly-absurd humor of The Onion, or reading other cringe-worthy anecdotes, you will enjoy The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death.