NOVEL APPROACH: Dirty ‘Mouth’
First Posted: 6/3/2013
As a New York Times bestseller, Laurie Notaro’s latest collection of essays, “The Potty Mouth at the Table,” demonstrates that she has quite a pretty mouth — a pretty potty mouth.
In firstperson narration, Notaro begins the work with “Antiques No Show,” a chapter that discusses her foray into her loving, and later hateful, relationship with “Antiques Roadshow.”
“I didn’t always hate ‘Antiques Roadshow.’ I used to like it. In fact, when it was announced that the show was coming to Eugene, I could hardly contain my excitement. I had waited for this opportunity for years, years, and I felt a little thrill in my chest every single time I thought about it. Because I had something good. […] So good that it might just make ‘Antiques Roadshow’ history and end up in a museum with its own security guard.”
Subsequently, Notaro delves into her criticism of many social media cultures, everything from Pinterest to foodies (“I Hate Foodies” and “Hierarchy of Foodies”). If you have read Notaro’s work in the past, whether essay collections or novels, you will find this book to be darkly sarcastic in nature, to the point that her pieces often come across as negative or resentful. But, the collection as a whole does not leave a bad taste in the mouth. In fact, Notaro’s rant-like dialogue is outwardly witty and fun.
Her writing has matured since her past collections have come and gone. While it is evident Notaro is still full of cynicism for much of the world’s social outlets, she gives readers a look into our own desperation. Her world may be very common, but her perceptions on how she views experiences in life are far from ordinary.
Often, Notaro gives readers information regarding her most uncomfortable experiences. These incidents prove that no topic is too sacred, especially when it regards vomiting on oneself or discussing Anne Frank’s intimates. If, as a reader, you are overly serious, devoutly vegan, or consider taking photos of your food a favorite pastime, this book is definitely not for you.
The collection may be self-deprecating, but it is certainly funny. As Notaro seems to drive, it is far better to laugh at your situation then let it devastate you. In one of her concluding essays, “Rewinding,” Notaro discusses a friend suffering from end-stage brain cancer. It is here that readers see her maturity in full bloom. A mixture of compassion and lightheartedness, Notaro creates a brilliant and touching ending to an otherwise sardonic collection in preparation for a new chapter in her life.
‘The Potty Mouth at the Table’ by Laurie Notaro Rating: W W W V