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I'm Just a Person

I'm Just a Person

5.0 3
by Tig Notaro

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One of America’s most original comedic voices delivers a darkly funny, wryly observed, and emotionally raw account of her year of death, cancer, and epiphany.

In the span of four months in 2012, Tig Notaro was hospitalized for a debilitating intestinal disease called C. diff, her mother unexpectedly died, she went through a breakup, and then she was


One of America’s most original comedic voices delivers a darkly funny, wryly observed, and emotionally raw account of her year of death, cancer, and epiphany.

In the span of four months in 2012, Tig Notaro was hospitalized for a debilitating intestinal disease called C. diff, her mother unexpectedly died, she went through a breakup, and then she was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer. Hit with this devastating barrage, Tig took her grief onstage. Days after receiving her cancer diagnosis, she broke new comedic ground, opening an unvarnished set with the words: “Good evening. Hello. I have cancer. How are you? Hi, how are you? Is everybody having a good time? I have cancer.” The set went viral instantly and was ultimately released as Tig’s sophomore album, Live, which sold one hundred thousand units in just six weeks and was later nominated for a Grammy.

Now, the wildly popular star takes stock of that no good, very bad year—a difficult yet astonishing period in which tragedy turned into absurdity and despair transformed into joy. An inspired combination of the deadpan silliness of her comedy and the open-hearted vulnerability that has emerged in the wake of that dire time, I’m Just a Person is a moving and often hilarious look at this very brave, very funny woman’s journey into the darkness and her thrilling return from it.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For four months in 2012, stand-up comedian Notaro descended into a decidedly unfunny period of her life: she survived a bout with the life-threatening bacterial infection, Clostridium difficile, only to find out that her mother had died; not long after she buried her mother, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent a double mastectomy. In this deeply captivating memoir, Notaro opens her raw wounds, candidly sharing her most intimate thoughts about life before and after her illnesses. Notaro chronicles her early struggles with her mother and stepfather, and her departure from her home in Houston to make it on her own in Los Angeles. She discovers her gift for comedy, performing night after night at open mikes, and eventually lands an audition for a show that the comic Sarah Silverman has written just for Notaro. In a moment of uncertainty, she panics and exclaims "I'll go on, I can't go on," a theme that echoes throughout the book: "When you're struggling to secure the role of yourself, you do wonder whether you know who you are. Up until that audition, I felt confident I did." After her illnesses, Notaro slowly returns to the stage, gaining a large following when she introduces her new routine with the words: "Hello. Good evening. Hello. I have cancer, how are you?" By January 2013, Notaro feels reborn and ready to set out on a new life, and these days she's happier than ever. Notaro's searingly honest and sometimes humorous memoir will wrench readers' hearts and inspire them in equal measure. (June)
Library Journal
Over four fraught months in 2012, stand-up comic Notaro was hospitalized for a debilitating intestinal disease, lost her mother, broke up with her partner, and received a bilateral breast cancer diagnosis. She famously dealt with her grief by creating a blunt and funny comedy set. Closing speaker at the Public Library Association Meeting in April 2016.
Kirkus Reviews
A stand-up comic and writer's year from hell.When Notaro received antibiotics for a case of pneumonia, she didn't know she was embarking on months of health and family disasters. The drugs gave her a difficult and debilitating intestinal disease called C. diff, which caused her to lose more than 20 pounds and experience terrible abdominal pain. In the same time period, she lost her mother to an unexpected home accident. Then, after months of delay, she finally decided to examine the lump in her breast that she'd detected two years earlier, only to be told she had breast cancer in both breasts. At this extremely low point in her life, Notaro walked on stage and delivered brand-new material, opening with lines about her cancer. Once the audience realized she wasn't joking, she writes, it was then "her job as a comedian to get every silenced, stunned person back to laughing….I made it my mission to yank everyone out of the dark hole by delivering a lighter joke or asking why they were taking this so hard—which caused the laughter that we all needed." She received a standing ovation, and her career skyrocketed even as she faced a double mastectomy, the ongoing grief of her mother's passing, and a broken romance. As she unfolds the intimate moments of her personal annus horribilis, Notaro intermingles laugh-out-loud moments from her childhood with her crazy mother and stepfather and sweet romantic times as an adult. Throughout her brief work, the author is frank, at times humorous, and anything but melodramatic. She shows readers the full spectrum of her emotional and physical conditions, her vulnerability, and ultimately her strength as she enters a happier and healthier stage in her life. Forthright and private moments are revealed as a stand-up comedian uses her gift of creating laughter to overcome personal and physical disasters.
“Notaro’s thrilling, candid, and hilarious memoir is a provocative and convincing rallying cry to seize the day.”
Marie Claire
“I’m Just a Person will make you laugh, or cry, or both.”
AV Club
“This written record of her grief isn’t just a retread. It’s supplemental, yes, but also transcendental...That’s not to say the book isn’t funny- there’s still plenty of levity, but it frequently gives way to important revelations.”
O magazine
“Notaro’s story is funny not because it’s true (although it is), but because it’s told by the world-class stand-up with wit and vulnerability.”
“Although there are diverting comic touches (most in the ironic vein), the book’s chief virtue is Notaro’s absolute candor in describing how these devastating setbacks wracked both her body and soul.” -Bookpage
Out Magazine
“As with the best comedy [I’m Just a Person] is not just about fighting pain with laughter - it’s about love, strength, and the very stuff that makes us human.”
“Comedian Tig Notaro takes pain and successfully converts it into laughs in I’m Just a Person… It’s an intriguing and inspiring look at one woman’s way of pressing on.”
“Anyone who can write a sharply funny-and bravely optimistic-story about losing her mother, going through a break up, and being diagnosed with breast cancer all in the span of four months is an absolute heroine in our book. All hail, Tig Notaro!”
Ellen DeGeneres
“The book is heartbreaking, and brilliant, and funny and everything you are… it’s fantastic.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Tig Notaro is an American stand-up comic, writer, actor, and radio contributor. She writes, produces, and stars in the semiautobiographical series One Mississippi for Amazon Studios, where she can also be seen in her recurring role on the critically acclaimed series Transparent. In 2015, her HBO stand-up special premiered along with Tig, the Netflix Original Documentary about her life. Tig remains a favorite on Conan and This American Life, tours internationally, and enjoys bird-watching with her wife, Stephanie, and kitten, Fluff, at their home in Los Angeles.

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I'm Just a Person 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the documentary but book was even better. Tig is a heroine and a warrior
Scruffie52 More than 1 year ago
Tig writes in a wonderful and open way about the hardest and grittiest things that have happened in her life. She is not self deprecating, she is honest and funny. This is a great book, and I know because it is the first my husband read cover to cover since I can remember!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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