Comic and essayist Notaro (The Potty Mouth at the Table, 2013 etc.) is back with another round of commentaries on her semiscattered life.
Whether she's depicting her childhood dumpster-diving for her grandfather, who displayed the weird items she found in the backyard, sharing her Nana's recipes for meatballs, gravy, and vodka sauce, or complaining about the pronunciations used in a cheese-making class, the author attempts to find humor in everything—even things that aren't funny. She discusses raising chickens in the backyard, the demise of the Twinkie, making jerky treats for her dog, being overweight (“So. The Fat Talk. We were having the Fat Talk. In a doctor’s office because my doctor was too chicken shit to call me fat to my face. Instead, he sent his formerly fat nurse to break the news to me that I was chubby”), and basically anything else that has happened to her, to someone she knows, or even to complete strangers. Occasionally, the author hits the mark, as in her title essay, in which she chronicles her attempts to work her way through a clear-the-clutter-toward-a-better-and-more-spiritual-life book. Regarding her attempts to cull her collection of books: “But when I got to the part where she talks about throwing away books that hadn't been read, I had enough and closed the book. Those words are nothing short than the rantings of a lunatic. Madness….Tossing books you've never read is not just a sin, it's a crime, one worthy of capital punishment. Frankly, if I walk into your house and you don't have 200 books in there somewhere that you haven't read yet, I don't trust you." Overall, the laugh track is turned up too high for comfort, with the effects being pushed on readers without much subtlety. But for those who like trite, in-your-face sitcom humor, this will appeal.
Uneven, forced humorous essays on mundane topics.