The Potty Mouth at the Table – Laurie Notaro

Let me begin this review by saying that I accidentally warped half the pages with juice from my green beans in my lunch today before I began reading. Obviously, that means the book is tainted. Alas, I vowed to finish all the books I’ve purchased, so I trudged on.


Sometimes, I will make purchases based on small things I see (it really doesn’t take much). For example, I purchase the book Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson because the crazed raccoon on the cover, and the glorious use of the F word in the inside sleeve. I chose this book because it was in the humor section with promise of being a potty mouth book (as stated previously in my blog, I am a prolific curse word user in real life). For those of you that dislike the heavy use of curse words, sleep easy knowing this book does not live up to my expectations. I can’t complain too much though, because it was an extraordinarily quick read (<1 day!!)

The back of this book has “praise for Laurie Notaro” which says some of the follow:

“If her books don’t inspire pants-wetting fits of laughter…. your funny bone is broken.” (Jen Lancaster)

“Screamingly funny.” (USA Today)


“A natural comic.” (Houston Chronicle)

I would say that at no time during the reading of this book did I ever even laugh out loud. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few chapters that are funny (A Handy Manual for a Widower, My Husband, and Live from the Bellagio were my two personal favorites). Perhaps I just happened to pick the weakest of Notaro, but it just wasn’t *amazing*.

In fact, there were things in this book that I was rather bothered by…

The chapter Death Cab for Cooties had the making to be hilarious… up until the point she insulted her driver and then admitted to not tipping him well. So what that his ass was “ice cream distance” from your face, tip the man 20% so he can buy some new drawers! On top of that, to crassly tell him about his rancid breath was just down outright hateful.

Also, on page 168 she blasts parents for continuing to have a life after baby. Although I do not have a kid, I definitely don’t expect people that do procreate to hole up in their home for 18 years. On the page after that she bashes what she says is a “Food Slut”, making light of bulimia. She also takes that moment to bring into the “hilarious mix” the weight of diabetic newborns. In fact, the entire chapter is dedicated to mocking people who define themselves as “foodies”. Again, at some points she is humorous, but at others I find it distasteful (pun-intended).

Side note- at one point in the book she makes fun of those who take pictures of their food, even though if you check out her Facebook page she posts a lot about food now a-days. (Do note that the book was published in 2013, so people can and likely will change in 3 years). I typically wouldn’t mention that since the time lapse, but I found she was hypocritical in this book too.. Like when she bashes the mom asking for a lice treatment in the pharmacy chapter, but (I think the very next chapter?) she admits to posting/almost posting about her own possible lice on Facebook.

Finally, I did not know this book would end on such a sad chapter (even with a happy ending to the chapter). To me, it was the most endearing and interesting part of her whole book (and it wasn’t even about her….)

As stated before, it has hard to “rate” an autobiography. How can I say someone’s life should have had more or less in it? This book was decently written, and not challenging to read. Would I buy it again? No. Did I almost pee myself laughing? Absolutely not. Am I happy there is one less book to read in my reading pile? Of course!

(UPDATE 6/21/16- after I posted this blog, I filed this book in my “read” section on my book shelf… then, I went to select a new book to read out of the “need to read” section. What do I find?! Another Laurie Notaro Book!! Since I already made the purchase, Notaro gets one more shot with me when I read Autobiography of a Fat Bride. Review to come in next day or two…)


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