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Surrounded by idiots

Since the title “The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death” alone should pique curiosity, New York Times Bestselling author Laurie Notaro creates 218 unforgettable pages at the expense of her tweaked-out neighbors, her poop-handler husband, her Brooklyn-born mother, a fellow lodger with man-boobs and an airline passenger who hacks up un-muffled lung butter. Notaro also spares no expense when it comes to self-depreciative commentary.

After reading an MIT research study about how men respond to attractive women, Notaro writes, “I wish my husband would stop getting the newspaper, because now it all makes sense. Angelina Jolie is a line of cocaine and I’m just a burp born after a sausage sandwich.” She continues her rant on the topic of beauty, aptly titling this piece “Stink Bomb.” She writes, “But with this latest revelation, walking around completely aware that I am a stink bomb in physical form is almost enough to make me be nice to my husband, because by now he’s simply used to the smell.”

In another essay titled “Sickening,” Notaro writes exactly what most people wouldn’t dare say. “What I do take issue with is when the breathing cadaver in the seat behind me coughs and coughs and coughs hard enough that I feel his lung g-force hit my head and it makes MY HAIR MOVE.” She responds to the action by asserting that if the ill “can’t manage to raise [a] hand six inches to cover [their] gaping cavern[s] of illness,” they should be quarantined so they can continue to infect each other while the healthy can live clean and considerate lives.

She even insults college “hippies” as an impatient natty-dreaded kid in a black Jetta throws her hands up and honks loudly at Notaro in her environmentally friendly Prius. The honk activates Notaro’s “Flaming Tantrum of Death,” a form of hissy fit revenge which “mix[es] seventh-grade rage with the resilience of Tempur-Pedic technology.” Notaro enacts justice as she follows the Jetta with a fist on her horn while she screams, “I just ate a loaded brownie, let’s go feed the homeless and then sit naked in an endangered tree […] Well, dance to this you smelly tofu assholes. Dance, hippies, dance!”

Bottom line: Laurie Notaro proves that she is a “bad ass.” From wild social situations to her brash self-analysis, Notaro’s storytelling makes “The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death” the No. 1 pick of the week.


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