True Tales of a Pretend Adulthood
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Remarkably unsuccessful attempt to amuse in a chronicle of one young woman’s bumpy metamorphosis from feckless college graduate to responsible, married Arizona citizen.

Frequently relying for laughs on body parts and body functions (sagging breasts, facial hair, excrement), Notaro (The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club, 2002) begins her rites of passage as a boyfriend moves out, running off with an old girlfriend to follow his dream of growing and smoking pot and learning to play an acoustic guitar. Notaro is more annoyed than heartbroken, but when she meets the amazing “Good Guy,” she freaks out, feeling pressured to keep him. The guy is really good; soon after moving in, he proposes, which means she must deal with a wedding. Mom takes charge as Notaro, comprehending the “phenomenon known as Dreading the Wedding,” is sucked into the great “bridal black hole.” She worries about her weight, body hair, and getting through the ceremony itself, which takes place three miles from a major airport, making most of the responses inaudible. The happy couple then buys a house that turns out to have no air-conditioning, so Notaro and her husband fight over who sweats the least. Married life has its problems, like backed-up plumbing and strange smells, but she copes with that as pluckily as she does with the itchy bra she buys at an outlet mall, becoming an aunt to the imperious “Little King,” and rescuing her Nana in the grocery store as she scales a wall of baked beans. To her horror, she realizes she is finally becoming an adult: she’s using her grocery coupons and doesn't understand the new Levi’s commercials. In the best and least forced chapter, Notaro describes sitting next to Nancy Sinatra on a plane flight and telling the singer how much Frank Sinatra had meant to her Italian-American family, especially her Nana. If only the rest of the text were that relaxed and natural.

Forced humor: not funny.

Pub Date: July 15th, 2003
ISBN: 0-375-76092-X
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Villard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2003


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