Tig Notaro is a survivor. Her dry humor shines through these pages as she tells her life story: multiple brushes with death, romantic relationships, and snapshots of her childhood, parents, and thought processes. She shows us that she’s “just a person”, yes, but also how extraordinary an ordinary person can be when presented with nearly insurmountable difficulties like dropping out of school at an early age, having a biological father who was never present and a stepfather who was never available emotionally, a mother who was so immature that Tig practically raised herself, not to mention all of the health problems that came later. I picked up this book because I was enamored of Tig’s stand-up routines. This book has their flavor but far more detail than her act- if you’ve enjoyed her comedy, you’ll probably like this too.
I loved reading about how Tig found her calling and her people: “I began to refer to the comedy scene as “the land of misfit toys.” It was comforting to be surrounded by people who didn’t fit into the confines of society, and it was the first time in my life that I wasn’t met with the boring conversation stopper: “Oh my God, you’re so weird.” pg 47
This part cracked me up- Tig’s discovered lumps in her breasts but she doesn’t think they’re anything to be concerned about. Her girlfriend disagreed: “Instead of making a doctor’s appointment, I spent the next couple months teasing Brooke by removing my shirt and saying, “Hey, wanna touch my cancer?” It was really fun to walk past her holding my chest and blurting out, “Ow! My cancer!” pg 109-110.
I thought that the chapter in which Tig talks about her biological father, Pat, was particularly well-written. She takes complex emotional pain and makes it into something beautiful: “He was obviously still in pain over the loss of my mother and the news of my health, but I knew that this grief could not kindle any real kind of familial bond between us. I guess I believed there was something inherently broken in Pat’s relationship with me and my brother. Maybe we had all missed some ambiguous window of time when we could have salvaged some hope for a real connection. I am certain, however, that we have the same feelings: I want everything to be okay for him and he wants everything to be okay for me.” pg 205
That is Tig’s strength- her ability to take the worst in life and wring not just humor but meaning out of it. Some similar reads: Sleepwalk With Me and Other Painfully True Stories, Shrinkage: Manhood, Marriage, and the Tumor That Tried to Kill Me, or A Girl Named Zippy.
Thanks for reading!