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Truly Mortifying: A Book Review Double Feature

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The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club by Laurie Notaro

The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life by Laurie Notaro
2002
Villard Books

My friend Joel made an interesting point the other night.
“I’m happy that I’m one of the Dumb Ones,” he informed me. “I like it better that way.”
“Really?” I said. “Why?”
“Well, because there’s stuff that I know about, and there’s more stuff that I don’t know about, which makes it less stuff to worry about in the Big Picture,” he answered.
He went on to explain further that his brother, Jeff, and our other friend, Jamie, were in the Smart Group, since they graduated from college and make more than $4.25 an hour. He also mentioned that from simply being around Jamie and Jeff, he could pick up pieces of intelligent information, which he calls “stories” – as in, say, who the vice president of the United States is or how to successfully pass a drug test. He, in turn, tells these stories to the people that he works with, who are also in the Dumb Group, and this makes Joel look Smart.
“I see,” I replied. “So this makes you seem Smart, but you can still live an easier life as a Dumb One.”
“Yep,” he said. “See? I’m glad I was in retarded math in high school.”
Then came the Question.
“Okay,” I started. “If Jeff and Jamie are in the Smart Group, and you’re in the Dumb Group, which one am I in?”

Laurie Notaro shares dozens of vignettes from the life of a Dumb One that are certain to comfort anyone who has found themselves outwitted by a cell phone or gotten their arm stuck in a vending machine. In The Idiots Girls’ Action-Adventure Club, Notaro boldly relates how she was mistaken for a homeless person while reporting for jury duty, explains why her mother still buys her underwear, and relives a run-in with a candy apple that nearly required the assistance of the local fire department. The brief narratives describe experiences with everything from grandmothers to evil clowns. There’s always a little something the reader can identify with, and something extra to show exactly why Notaro is the current elected president of the Club.


 

Thinning the Herd Cynthia Ceilan

Thinning the Herd: Tales of the Weirdly Departed
Cynthia Ceilán
2008
The Lyons Press
John Lewis of Ministerworth, England, set out to do a little gardening one fine day in the summer of 1999. He snipped some shrubs, weeded his garden, and raked up the debris into an average-sized pile. He poured gasoline over it to get a good bonfire going, and then lit a match. The ensuing explosion engulfed most of John’s clothing in flames, but he was able to run toward a nearby river to put himself out. Unfortunately, he couldn’t swim. John drowned and was dragged several miles downstream. His body was found two weeks later, clad only in socks and shoes.
Weird out your coffee table (and possibly your guests) with this collection of strange, sad, funny, or just plain messed-up deaths. Chapters include “Oops”, “It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time”, “Deaths Foretold”, and “So Sexy It Hurts”. Each chapter is opened with a mortifying moment from the life of the author (who, fortunately, lived to see the publication).
 

 

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