Book review: ‘It Looked Different on the Model’ by Laurie Notaro

Ambien shenanigans. Tweekers falling asleep on your front lawn. Getting into a fight with a size “M” shirt at a boutique store — and losing. All just moments in the life of Laurie Notaro, a humor writer transplanted from sunny Arizona to the hippie-laced suburbs of Oregon. And in her latest memoir, It Looked Different On The Model, Notaro welcomes us again into the zany world that is her no-holds-barred brain.

Notaro has been my hero for quite some time — and though I couldn’t get into her recent novel, I’m still a huge fan of her true-to-life, hilarious stories. No one makes me giggle like Notaro, and some of her scenes in this one — especially those including “Ambien Laurie” — will forever be embedded in my brain. Her line about a monkey rooting through purse trash? Comedy gold.

That being said, is this Notaro’s finest work? Nope. Laurie is at her best when she’s making fun of herself and relating stories of “impending shame and infamy,” as her title suggests. The only problem here is that while a few of her recent tales had me in stitches, the vast majority just sort of . . . rambled along with no real goal or intention. Just between you and me, friends, I may have skimmed over a few. Like the open letter to her alleged iPhone thief? I mean, I love my phone — I really do. But page after page of that drivel? Eh.

But I still love you, Laurie — and I still desperately wish you could be my BFF. We’d make snarky comments about our neighbors and speculate over which crazy acquaintance is really a drug addict and gripe about our weight. It would be a grand old time.

I read this book quickly and recommend it — and her — to fans of Jen Lancaster and Valerie Frankel. If you’re looking for laugh-out-loud memoirs that remind you we really are all human, Laurie Notaro could well be your girl. I recommend starting with We Thought You Would Be Prettier, my first experience with Notaro — but if you’re a stickler for reading chronologically, first check out The Idiot Girls’ Action Adventure Club. Laurie doesn’t take herself too seriously, and that’s what I love about her. She’s a hilarious mess.

4 out of 5!

ISBN: 0345510992 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Personal copy purchased by Meg

7 thoughts on “Book review: ‘It Looked Different on the Model’ by Laurie Notaro

  1. I read one of her books about 5 years ago and thought it was a hoot (I sound like an old lady)! So when this came out I put it on my wishlist. Glad to see it amused you so now I am looking forward to reading it!


    • I hope you enjoy it, too! Notaro is definitely a quick wit, and her books are always good for a laugh. I reward myself with a story at a time on good days and bad; they’re not the sort you want to just wantonly zip through.


  2. Is Notaro a sort of female David Sedaris? I had great fun with his stories of similar “impending shame and infamy”, so it might mean I’d like this one too.


    • Though I haven’t read Sedaris (shame on me!), I have a feeling you’re exactly right! Notaro has a definite self-deprecating sense of humor that I find totally hilarious. And now I need to put David Sedaris back on my wishlist . . . any particular recommendations, Alex?


    • Definitely give her a try! If you love Lancaster, Notaro will be right up your alley. She has the same snarky sense of humor with an extra dash of sass — and is a little more crude than Lancaster, but not in an overwhelming way.


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