It Looked Different On The Model: Epic Tales of Impending Shame and Infamy

Posted March 11, 2012 by Tara in Challenges /// 6 Comments

It Looked Different On The Model: Epic Tales of Impending Shame and Infamy
by Laurie Notaro
Random House Audio
Audio book from public library
[#21 in my 75 book challenge]

Laurie Notaro’s books are non-fiction and feature different essays about her life. Like David Sedaris, but for straight girls. The essays included in this volume include:

  • Trying on a super-cute size M shirt and finding out that she’s really a size L
  • Ambien Laurie
  • Teaching her mom about urban legends in email forwards
  • Getting blacklisted from the neighborhood Christmas party
  • Dog bark translator
  • Those aren’t chocolate stars on her husband’s pillow…

(those aren’t the titles of the essays, just the topics).


Last year I read My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler. In my review, I said I didn’t like it because it wasn’t as funny as Laurie Notaro’s books. Well, that’s how I felt about this book. Just not as funny as the old Laurie stuff.

While there were a few funny moments in this collection, I was mostly disappointed. I LOVED Notaro’s earlier books, especially The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life and Autobiography of a Fat Bride: True Tales of a Pretend Adulthood, but this one fell short. I think Laurie’s self-depricating, dorky, clumsy, awkward, and sometimes crude stories were funnier when she was a single twenty-something. Now that she’s married, it seems like she’s stretching the humor a bit and that she should have grown up a little bit more.

Don’t get me wrong — there are funny moments in here. It was an enjoyable, light read in the car. No pressure. If you were browsing the public library and came across it, I would certainly recommend taking it home to read or listen to. But I was glad that I just borrowed the book and didn’t pay money for it. My biggest issue was that many of the stories seemed to ramble on. I got lost while listening because I couldn’t quite grasp if I was at the climax of the story or why it kept going on and on after I thought the point had been made.

Final Grade:   C   Often funny, sometimes hilarious, with a dash of boring, this book didn’t live up to my expectations. I don’t regret reading it, but it was quite average and not memorable. I still love Laurie Notaro and want to be her friend, but I guess I will just go back to reading her earlier books. Of course, this is an adult book so I wouldn’t recommend it to my students. For my readers, I do recommend Notaro’s books…just not this one (or her fiction books). Start with Idiot Girls’ Action Adventure Club if you’re looking for a real funny read!


Tara is a PhD student studying education. Her dissertation will be on digital book communities as public pedagogy (ask her about it!), though she often takes a break from all of that to read books about oppressive governments and sassy teenagers. In a former life, she was a middle school teacher and middle school librarian. In her future life, she's a professor of YA lit. In her free time, she drinks a lot of coffee while planning her next grand adventure (there's always something).

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6 responses to “It Looked Different On The Model: Epic Tales of Impending Shame and Infamy

  1. It really is a shame when a book by an author you love just doesn’t meet up to their old standards. I am so curious to see what happens with JK Rowling’s new book.

  2. i think that its a bit like a singer, they have one or a few awesome hits and then people expect them to be a certain way and succeed with the next album. it makes them almost typecast which is a shame but it is how we as humans process the logic.
    i think that once you like a writers style, in an ideal world they should keep their style and move forward rather than concentrating on how to impress people.
    they are my thoughts anyway

  3. One of my best friends loves her books and loaned a few to me (including The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club) and they just weren’t to my taste at all. Do you feel like she hasn’t developed well as a writer/person, or that you’ve grown and she’s remained the same?

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