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It Looked Different on the Model: Epic Tales of Impending Shame and Infamy    by Laurie Notaro order for
It Looked Different on the Model
by Laurie Notaro
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2011 (2011)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

Laurie Notaro's It Looked Different on the Model is a collection of humorous essays, many of which involve an embarrassing experience of the author's. Laurie has a wild sense of humor and the incidents that she writes about in this collection range from getting stuck in a cute blouse while she's attempting to try it on to being banned from a nearby post office for asking for too many two cent stamps after an increase in postage rates. This is her eighth published book, and judging only from the titles, they all seem to be collections of short humor based on incidents in her life.

Some of the stories in this book were laugh-out-loud funny, and considering how many humorous books she has written, that seems like a huge accomplishment. In Butcha Are, Blanche! Ch'are in That Chair!, Laurie and her friend Jamie decide to dress up as the two main characters in the movie Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? for a Halloween party. This involved Laurie renting a wheelchair for Jamie, who would play Blanche to her Baby Jane. A major problem with their costumes seemed to be that few of the people at the party could remember the movie. In the movie 'Jane dives deeper and deeper into boozy rages and insane, delirious tantrums,' beating up her wheelchair-ridden sister. Unfortunately, the costumed Blanche seems to be the one who's hitting the booze too hard, and when she chokes on something, Laurie whacks her on the back to restore her breathing, certain that she's saving her friend's life, even though it appears that she is beating up on a disabled person.

Another story has Laurie's husband accusing her of eating chocolate in bed because he has chocolate stains on his pillowcase. Telling the real cause of the stains would ruin the humor for anyone reading this book, but I can say that the stains weren't Laurie's fault. While this episode might be a lot funnier to women than to men, I think anyone would like You Give Me Jellyfish Fever, where Laurie writes about what happens when she and her husband take her almost twelve-year-old nephew along with them on a vacation before he turned into a terrible teenager. They discover some of the difficulties of travelling with a child who has his own ideas about what's fun and what he wants to do.

It's difficult enough to write humorous essays, but trying to convince someone else that they really are funny is even harder. After all, my voice on paper isn't Laurie's, and her voice telling these stories is much, much funnier. I recommend this book to anyone who needs a few good laughs at bedtime - or any time.

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