This book was found on the shelves in the office of a Buffy-loving coworker. I really loved it! I don’t know how exactly to explain it. A series of essays about fandom? Or internet fandom? Or, communities that spring up around TV shows. It wasn’t exactly about the Buffy fans in particular, but of course, prominent Buffy characters featured prominently. It seemed to be more about the internet, and community. Something that is near and dear to my heart, because of my involvement in NerdNYC.
My favorite sections of the book talked about how riled up and angry the author gets with interlopers and trolls in her community and the frustration she feels when the community gets all hugs and ponies about it, instead of the “Cut a Bitch” style that she (and I) favor.
I loved her story of the internet as a family. As a girl whose closest friends all now live within blocks and were met on the “interwebs” – I can relate.
In terms of Buffy – it was a little sad to hear that while she is in close touch with some of the writers, Joss really has no idea who she really is. But I loved how much credit she gives to the writers, and not the actors. And that she goes into fanfic, and who stories really belong to.
I wasn’t expecting to like this book much at all, but I found the writer engaging, funny and – the book just kind of hit a chord with me. The only criticism I would offer is that sometimes it felt a little disjointed – some stories were repeated, or characters reintroduced. You don’t need to be a Buffy fan to like the book (but I am sure it helps), but I think you definitely need to be an internet nerd.
I thought I liked collections of stories, essayist, etc. Oh my god, was I wrong. Laurie Notaro has spoiIed me. I almost couldn’t wait to finish this book, so that I could blog about it.
The book starts off explaining that her family and friends convinced her to write it because she always tells the funniest stories about her life, and they were sure it would make a great book. I too, have been told this – and my response is always “just because my stories are funny doesn’t mean they would translate well to the written page. Or even that I am good enough to write them.” Oprah has convinced me to start writing some personal essays, but after this book – it’s gonna take a lot more than Oprah to build me up again.
Essentially, it’s a collection of stories. Some lowlights:
- She does that goddamn proper noun thing. No one has a name, they have some sort of Adjective. Her girlfriend isn’t “Suzie” or whatever, or even “my girlfriend” – she is “My Beloved.” Her sister’s aren’t”my younger sisters” but instead – (get this!) “The UnWee” and “The Most Wee.” She is “The Least Wee.” Her girlfriend’s adult daughter is referred to as “the girlchild.” I suppose she thinks this is cute.
- We know she thinks this is cute, because it is a collection of stories, but apparently – there was no editor. She explains her ohsocute naming convention again and again, in each story.
- There are at least TWO whole “stories” that are told from the POV of her cat.
- She believes that in her cat’s rich inner life, she is called “Mommy.”
- The stories are interspersed with poetry. I didn’t read any of it because A ) I don’t really love poetry B) It had no context and C ) What a pretentious nutcase!
And, was all was said and done – there was a note in the back that this book was originally self-published and only intended for family and friends. I can’t imagine who thought it shouldn’t stay that way.
Eh. I usually like this chick’s show, but sometimes she’s a little too over the top. I heard good things about the book, and while admittedly – I did laugh on occasion, it just felt a little too forced. And it made me not really like her. I think that she wrote another book, and liking her, or following her stories/having empathy may really require you to know more about her and read her other books. All in all, not a bad read, but I am annoyed that it was a 7 day loan and I have to hustle back to the library to return it.
Not sure if I have written about her here yet (I don’t think I have) but I love Laurie Notaro. She is what I consider to be an essayist, and without fail – her books (I think they are referred to as the “Idiot Girl” series) never fail to make me actually laugh out loud. I think she is just remarkably likable and a really talented writer. If I laugh out loud and someone asks me what about, it just doesn’t translate when you read it out loud – but man, I really like her. She recently wrote a novel that I wasn’t too into, but this is another collection of essays (I guess you can kind of call it a memoir?) and I enjoyed them. I think and fear that she may be running out of steam or source material, so I hope she gets it together soon – because I look forward to a lot more from her.
This is just the newest one. Not my favorite, but I definitely still enjoyed it. There was one portion about the death of her dog, which I think is the first time she has written anything truly sad. It was really a peak into what a great writer she is, and it definitely brought a non-laughter tear to my eye. Definitely check her out!