It Looked Different on the Model: Epic Tales of Impending Shame and Infamy

( 58 )

Overview

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Everyone’s favorite Idiot Girl, Laurie Notaro, is just trying to find the right fit, whether it’s in the adorable blouse that looks charming on the mannequin but leaves her in a literal bind or in her neighborhood after she’s shamefully exposed at a holiday party by delivering a low-quality rendition of “Jingle Bells.” Notaro makes misstep after riotous misstep as she shares tales of marriage and family, including stories about the dog-bark ...

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It Looked Different on the Model: Epic Tales of Impending Shame and Infamy

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Overview

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Everyone’s favorite Idiot Girl, Laurie Notaro, is just trying to find the right fit, whether it’s in the adorable blouse that looks charming on the mannequin but leaves her in a literal bind or in her neighborhood after she’s shamefully exposed at a holiday party by delivering a low-quality rendition of “Jingle Bells.” Notaro makes misstep after riotous misstep as she shares tales of marriage and family, including stories about the dog-bark translator that deciphers Notaro’s and her husband’s own “woofs” a little too accurately, the emails from her mother with “FWD” in the subject line (“which in email code means Forecasting World Destruction”), and the dead-of-night shopping sprees and Devil Dog–devouring monkeyshines of a creature known as “Ambien Laurie.” At every turn, Notaro’s pluck and irresistible candor set the New York Times bestselling author on a journey that’s laugh-out-loud funny and utterly unforgettable.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

With titles to her credit like Autobiography of a Fat Bride, We Thought You Would Be Prettier, and The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club, it should not surprise us that Laurie Notaro would find ever-new ways to take embarrassment to dizzying new levels. It Looks Different on the Model, her first collection in four years, shows that freak-magnet fame has not armored this veteran humor columnist with self-assurance. The book's revelations include a butter-laden feast for vegan children; a post-office scandal; and apocalyptic email messages from her mother. One paperback original you won't regret.

Publishers Weekly
Trying to fit in—sometimes literally—can be daunting, but Notaro's attempts are hilariously captured in this collection. In "Let It Bleed," Notaro (Spooky Little Girl) takes on the bane of women everywhere: trying on clothes in a dressing room, with lighting ranges from "cruel" to "barbaric." In "She's a Pill," it's not a physical hurdle Notaro must overcome but a mental one: her alter ago, "Ambien Laurie," who emerges when Notaro takes the sleeping pill that can cause people to act strangely in their sleep—Notaro binges on junk food like a zombie and watches dreadful movies. Her relationship with her staunchly Republican parents, who live in Phoenix, Ariz., and are still dismayed that Notaro moved to Eugene, Ore., is most notably described in "It's a Bomb," when she flies in for her mother's birthday. Notaro regresses to rebellious daughter and her parents to their old overbearing selves, complete with Notaro's obsessively clean mother telling her, "f you're going to shed , pick it up. Hair makes me gag." Notaro's humor is self-deprecating without ever swaying into self-pity, and her situations are both specific and universal. (July)
Kirkus Reviews

Former humor columnist Notaro (Spooky Little Girl, 2010, etc.) gathers observations on the odds and ends of her transplanted life in a series of quirky domestic vignettes.

Some pieces focus on the trials and tribulations of being the author. These include falling tragically in love with a shirt for which she was "the wrong size, wrong age, and had the wrong wallet"; living with a pill-popping alter ego named "Ambien Laurie" who would ritually—and, unbeknownst to the waking Laurie—gorge on snack foods and go on midnight online shoe-shopping binges; and dealing with a frank dislike of being hugged or touched.Other stories focus on the foibles of her equally neurotic family. In one, Notaro pokes fun at her mother's e-mail forwards that"in e-mail code mean[t] 'Forecasting World Destruction'." In another essay, the author describes how in her mother and father's cheerfully dysfunctional home, parents are parents, children are children and no one is safe from character assault. A few pieces more directly deal with Notaro's attempts at coming to terms with Eugene, Ore., her new home, a city she sees as overrun by hippies, swingers, vegans and justice-seeking plant fairies who, "in the dead of night...delicately placed to deep green shrubs with brilliant red berries on either side of [her] door" to make up for the loss of two azaleas stolen by unrepentant tree thieves. Though clearly intended as funny, the book elicits only occasional laughter for the odd twists and turns the stories tend to take rather than for the actual subject matter.

An uneven collection hampered by forced humor and a lack of cohesion.

From the Publisher
"Notaro's humor is self-deprecating without ever swaying into self-pity, and her situations are both specific and universal." —-Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345510990
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/26/2011
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 285,889
  • Product dimensions: 5.17 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurie Notaro

Laurie Notaro is the New York Times bestselling author of The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club, We Thought You Would Be Prettier, Autobiography of a Fat Bride, and several other books.

Hillary Huber garners consistently glowing reviews for her audio work. She has earned several Audie Award nominations, including for A Field of Darkness by Cornelia Read, and she is also an AudioFile Earphones Award winner. AudioFile magazine says, "Hillary Huber's narration is lyrical enough to be set to music."

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Read an Excerpt

Let It Bleed

 

The shirt was so pretty.

               It had a little Peter Pan collar, and lining the placket were pintucks down the front, which were then framed by delicate little ruffles. The short puffed sleeves were like no other I had ever seen, almost Victorian but very casual and breezy. It was absolutely adorable.

So I went ahead and made mistake #1:

I picked up the price tag, which revealed a nugget of information that made my heart skip a beat—it was on sale. And while I could easily qualify for a conservatorship based on my math skills alone, I can divide stuff in half and am right almost 60 percent of the time, and in this case, that was dangerous enough for me to move on to mistake #2:

I imagined myself in it.

Of course, my imagination stars Laurie Circa 1994 and not Present-Day Laurie. Laurie Circa 1994, it also bears mentioning, is a Frankenstein-y hybrid of box-office movie posters and “Who Wore It Better” photos from Us magazine, which my mother appears to have a lifetime subscription to. This fantastical altered image consists of Uma Thurman’s Pulp Fiction figure, Andie MacDowell’s Four Weddings and a Funeral hair, and a Julia Roberts I Love Trouble smile. She not only looks cute in everything, she looks adorable. Laurie Circa 1994 also pictured herself in fifteen years as an editor at some hip magazine, high-powered enough to negotiate in her hiring package for her own bathroom that was complete with password activation and soundproofing. She never truthfully saw herself eating a fiber bar and a questionable banana for lunch right after checking to see if the whitehead on her nose had come back or if the yard guy would see her in her workout clothes, complete with her “Workin’ for the Weekend” headband, which she felt forced to apologize for. Laurie Circa 1994 would have been disappointed that Present-Day Laurie, in the course of a workday, would easily be obsessed trying to outbid “ChuckyPup” on eBay for a pink dog parka; would scrawl notes that say, “Your car alarm goes off constantly and is irritating to those who work at home and pay taxes on this street. Park somewhere else; and your car, by the way, is a stupid color. Who would buy a yellow car? Who? It looks like you drive a huge banana.” and stick them on the windshield of a particularly annoying Kia; or, for that matter would ever spend three consecutive hours looking in the mirror while employing six different sources of light trying to find one fugitive jowl hair. Things haven’t exactly turned out the way Laurie Circa 1994 planned, even though, to Present-Day Laurie’s benefit, if I feel like going to the bathroom at 2:30 p.m., I can do it with the door open should I prefer, although the potential to set off a car alarm is vastly upsetting.

In my head, Laurie Circa 1994 looked adorable enough in this shirt to actually brighten the day of not only herself but of everyone around her, in those puffy sleeves, pintuck details, and slight, flirty ruffles. And with that vision in mind—as Uma Thurman’s body walked down the street, accompanied by a dog in a pink parka, and Andie MacDowell’s hair bounced and glistened with shine in the sun, people turning and staring in her wake—Laurie Circa 1994 smiled to all, so cute in her ruffled shirt but so humble about it, her smile spread across her face, showing as many of Julia Roberts’s teeth as would fit into her head, which was roughly about half.

And with that, I made mistake #3:

I pulled the shirt off the rack and asked if I could try it on. To be honest, I was already in over my head. The boutique was very nice, and I had admired its windows for months but had never caught it on an open day. When my luck had changed, I took the two steps into the store and did a quick sweep with all five senses, noticing a) mannequins so tiny I swear a bony sternum was impressed into them; b) the piping in of music overhead I couldn’t possibly identify; and c) the presence of the lovely, exquisite creature positioned behind the front counter, who politely said hello with a French accent. I already knew by the international greeting Bonjour! that I was in the wrong space—I was the wrong size and wrong age and had the wrong wallet—but it was too late for me to turn around and swim back upriver to Elastic Land. Instead, I pressed on with the attitude that “I’m smaller than I look in real life,” and I scanned the first rack with interest. I found myself picking at a hangnail because of my quick discomfort, which is a nervous habit that I understand isn’t publicly acceptable, but if faced with a choice of thumb-sucking or fiddling with my crotch, I’ll eat my cuticles any day. It was there that not only did I discover that the clothes were just as beautiful as I had seen in the window but that my size, indeed, was on the tags and, most important, on the tag of the cute shirt.

“Of course I’ll show you to a dressing room,” Amelie said as she walked out from the behind the counter and gave me a warm, real smile. Not only did all of Julia Roberts’s teeth fit into her mouth, but they were whiter.

It was a cute dressing room—full-length mirror, a nice antique chair to put my purse on, and beautiful lighting. I like that, I thought as I looked into the mirror, noting that during my most recent visit to Anthropologie, the lights were so audacious I wanted to ask the dressing-room girl if she could turn the setting down from its current “Cruel” to the next level, “Barbaric.” Now, I know I spent over half of my life puffing on a cigarette filter, but the Kitten Ass around my lips in my reflection at Anthropologie was so pronounced it looked like I had been injected with plasticine as I was sucking on a crack pipe. If you’ve never smoked, used a straw, or are still able to wear red lipstick without it spreading out like tributaries from your lips, you might not know that Kitten Ass is the nice term for the vertical fault lines that surround your mouth, and if you’ve never had a kitten, I suppose Puppy Ass would do. I refuse to take this conversation any further if you’ve never been a dog person, either, since I do not know what a ferret’s ass looks like.

In the Anthropologie mirror, I saw wrinkles, dents, flaps, bumps, and something that caused me to say to myself, “I hope that’s a tumor and not a horn.” I was nothing short of horrified. As I sunk to the depths of despair and looked up the address of the closest cosmetic surgeon before I even left the dressing room, I tried in a panic to calm down.

“Every wrinkle you see is a wisdom line,” I told myself in a nice, steady voice. “Wear them proudly; each one is a challenge and an obstacle you have triumphed over.”

“You have an asshole on your face,” one of my meaner voices replied. “Doesn’t everyone want a juicy Wisdom Kiss from that mouth?”

“You’re just growing into your face,” the nice voice said. “There is grace in aging.”

“Especially if you ever wanted to use your face as a baseball glove,” the mean voice countered. “It gets softer and more doughlike.”

“You know, these lights are ridiculously bright and are shining on you from directly up above,” the nice voice tried again. “When does that ever happen in a real-life setting?”

“I dunno,” the mean voice said in a mocking tone. “Ever hear of the sun?”

As a result of that experience, I do think all Anthropologies should provide a courtesy volcano just outside their dressing rooms so every woman who is revealed as completely inadequate by the lighting can throw herself in rather than contaminate the store staging for any longer than absolutely necessary.

But the lighting in this boutique was soft, welcoming, almost loving. Looking in the mirror, I swore there was a sheet of delicate gauze separating me and my reflection; I almost looked as blurry as a main character on Dynasty.

“I am perfect,” my nice voice whispered.

“I bet you have glaucoma,” my mean voice whispered back.

In any case, the conditions were prime for me to take the little ruffled shirt and try it on, and that’s just what I did. I hung it up on an old antique hook on the wall and admired it briefly. And that’s when I saw it: the “M” on the tag in the back of the shirt where the “L” rightfully should have been.

My heart made the sound of a deflating balloon. “Why, why?” it cried, like it had gotten whacked in the knee with a police baton at a practice for the U.S. Figure Skating Championship. I looked at the price tag, which did say “L,” and realized it had just been mis-tagged. I was about to give the whole thing up when I saw the sale price again and thought that I might as well give it a shot. After all, what is the difference between an “M” and an “L,” anyway? A boob size? Several good meals in a row? A couple weeks of unemployment?

So I did it. I jumped in, took the ruffled blouse off the hanger, and slipped it on. All was going well until I slipped my second arm in and we reached what I like to call “the friction point” of my arms, which is the upper portion right around the biceps area. After all, I’m pretty strong, so the circumference naturally reflects that, plus that’s where I store most of my winter reserves, which should save me if I’m ever floating out in the ocean on a raft and my foot begins to look like a delicious burrito. But it was no big deal. I met some resistance, but with a little tug here and a little tug there, the sleeves moved right into place and the shirt was over my shoulders and on its way to being buttoned.

But it turns out that there sort of is a significant difference between an “M” and an “L,” kind of like the difference between 1994, a decade’s worth of unemployment, and the cultivation of a Kitten Ass. I couldn’t even get the button and the hole to look at each other, let alone kiss. There was no bridging the mountain range—it was a statistically impossible feat, and one that was difficult to absorb. I really loved that shirt. I wanted to wear it. But it was a hard fact of life, a tragedy of reality you have to accept, like the fact that you can seriously injure your mouth by attempting to fit an entire Triscuit inside it, and your chances of bleeding don’t diminish the more times you do it.

I looked at myself in it, saw Laurie Circa 1994 donning it with a cute little flippy skirt and espadrilles, and then bid it adieu. I slipped it off one shoulder, then the other, and that was precisely when our goodbye came to an abrupt end.

I was stuck. The sleeves, which had perfectly popped into place with two teeny suggestive tugs, were now a little stubborn about leaving their nice, soft, cozy arm-fat nest. In fact, both refused to budge. I rolled my eyes and huffed at the inconvenience. I decided to pop them right back out of place with a tug downward and crossed the left hand behind me to grab the right placket of the shirt, and vice versa. One good solid tug.

Tug. Tug. Tug.

No movement. None at all. Not even a slide.

Now, when I say that the hems of the sleeves were firmly in place around my arms, I mean they came together like a pipe fitting. With a touch of plumber’s putty, I could have run crude oil through that connection and there wouldn’t have been the slightest chance of a leak.

And it was definite. Those puff sleeves weren’t going anywhere.

I stood there for a moment and pondered what my next maneuver should be. Clearly we were having a little problem with the fabric of the shirt, which simply didn’t have as much elasticity as it should have. Clearly. I mean, I have had to wiggle in and wiggle out of some items of clothing, sure, who hasn’t, but I’ve never been grafted to one before.

I decided that since both of my arms were stuck and pulling from behind me wasn’t working, I should try a different position, so I bent over and tried to grab the back of the shirt to pull it from that angle. I tried to grab it several times, but it was too tight across my shoulders to fall into my grasp, and I had been bent over so long that when I stood up I didn’t see just stars but a meteor shower. “You’d better not do that again,” I warned myself. “One more tip of the teapot and you’come up with one side of you mouth lower than the other.” I tugged again from the front, but the sleeves were decidedly not budging.

“How can you be trapped in a goddamned shirt?” I asked myself. “It’s not a coal mine. It’s not an elevator. It’s cotton. The fabric of our lives!” I had no idea that a steel trap would have ruffles on it when I brought it into the dressing room and it sprang on both my arms.

“Oh my God,” I whispered, then took a minute to refocus and pulled again.

Not. An. Inch.

“This is ridiculous,” I said to myself. “I am just not pulling hard enough. Try pulling one arm at a time, focus all of your strength into one arm. Focusing. Focusing. Now pull!”

Something moved. But as my stomach flipped like a fish, I realized it was simply that the nail on my middle finger had bent backward.

If I get this shirt off, I thought, I swear I will never try on a non-“L” shirt again. Never. Never will I try to tempt sizes. Never will I think that sizes don’t know what they’re talking about. The sizes are gods. They know all. They know all. I know nothing. I’ll stay in my size herd from now on and will never stray. There is safety in the herd.

I thought I could not only get an “M” on but that I could button it. I have learned my lesson. I have. I have. I promise I have. I’ll only try things on with Lycra in them from now on.

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Table of Contents

Let It Bleed 3

She's a Pill 16

The Post Office Lady with the Dragon Tattoo 28

Butcha Are, Blanche! Ch'are in That Chair! 40

You Must Be My Lucky Star 55

Instant Karma 61

"Ask Your Grandmother What a Hairy Tongue Is" 75

It's a Bomb 86

Why Not Take All of Me? 106

Show Ho Ho Time 108

Chill Out, Grass Lady 118

You Give Me Jellyfish Fever 132

Please Don't Call China 152

Forecasting World Destruction 159

The Burn Test 177

Jenny and the French Dog 191

Where Everyone Can Hear You Scream 199

I'm Touched 209

Acknowledgments 219

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 58 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(24)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 58 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Desperate and not funny. It doesn't "fit", no matter

    Desperate and not funny. It doesn't "fit", no matter how much she laughs at her weight!

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2012

    The only book that can make me spit on my Nook from laughter.

    I love Laurie Notaro. She is an incredible author who has an uncanny way of describing a hilarious situation and making you, the reader, feel like you were right there with her! Thank you Laurie for another incredible book!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2012

    FUNNY

    The funniest book ever. I have gone back and read some parts over and over. Laugh harder than before. Am looking to buy more. My mom who is almost 90 years young enjoyed it too. Loaned it to a friend who was at hospital while her husband was in surgery,she said it really lifted her spirits. CHOCOLATE STARS! FOREVER!!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 6, 2011

    I enjoy reading Laurie Notaro books!

    I love her stories and some of them really do make you laugh out loud. I first read, "I Love Everybody" and laughed so much. I can't remember what story it was in that book, (it's been a few years) but I do remember laughing so hard I couldn't breathe, tears rolling down my face and my family looking at me like I was crazy! I don't think any other author has made me laugh like that. I just started reading this new book and I'm loving it!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Just ok

    I liked this one better than the Autobiography of a Fat Bride because at least this book did not have any reused material. I probably would not recommend this book and am going to delete the remaining books of hers off my wishlist. I am just not all that impressed.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2011

    Funny - women can certainly relate!!!

    Enjoyed this a lot. Related to most all of the situations she found herself in. Kinda written in the Erma Bombeck style which was extremely enjoyable. A giggle - especially for those older who have 'been'!!!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2014

    Read

    This book is only amusing if you are a middle-aged woman with issues. If you fit that profile, then it is laugh-out-loud funny.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2014

    Laughed Out Loud!

    This is a compilation of funny family stories that reads as a book. It took a bit to get into, but once I did it was worth it, and had laugh out loud moments. Give it a try and keep reading, it gets better and ends well. 187 pages, no sex or violence, some swearing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2014

    Perhaps I'm totally missing something. This book is a jumble of

    Perhaps I'm totally missing something. This book is a jumble of rambling and makes absolutely no sense at all. I read the reviews and purchased based on that as I'm not familiar with this author..,...now I know why. I agree not one funny passage in this book. Want to laugh read Evanovich. This book was awful and no much was funny in my view point. If rambling on about nothing is a way to entertain people then she wins hands down, but I did
    not have one idea what she was talking about. I think she really needs help and writing must be her therapy. So be it but not worth my time.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2014

    Some may be too young to appreciate the humor of this. But just

    Some may be too young to appreciate the humor of this. But just wait.............someday maybe you will be able to relate to this type humor too. Or maybe never, To each his/her own!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2011

    Laughed until I cried

    I love everything that I've read by Laurie Notaro. Every time I've read something by her, I'll be practically falling off the couch because I'm laughing so much while my boyfriend just looks at me in utter bemusement.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 2, 2011

    So funny

    She is the best. Made my summer loved every story laugh out loud fun.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2014

    Hysterical

    Well I guess I must be a middle aged woman (already knew that) with issues (was not aware of that) because I found myself laughing out loud and identifying with much of what is in these stories.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2014

    Funny

    LOL funny

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2014

    Very funny!

    First time reading her books. I laughed my head off! Enjoyed it very much.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2014

    Anonymous

    This book was hilarious! I laughed so hatd at some of the stories. Absolutely delightful and the best "upper" I've had in a long time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    recommend

    Funny good read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    Was not my book. Would not recommend this book

    Could not get in to the book. Did not read but about three chapters.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2014

    So funny!

    This book made me actually laugh out loud ! Loved it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 23, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Laurie Notaro books will make you look absolutely insane if you

    Laurie Notaro books will make you look absolutely insane if you read them in public. Her stories make you start laughing uncontrolably, and just when you feel that you've gotten yourself straightened out... you get laughing all over again!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 58 Customer Reviews

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