19 April 2011

Spooky Little Girl: A Novel by Laurie Notaro

Fiction is a newer venture for Laurie Notaro. This is supposedly her second shot at fiction although I am not sure what her first title was.

She's known for her non fiction titles; I'll include a list after my review.

Ghost stories aren't my thing. I suppose that is why I hadn't gotten around to reading this selection. I knew about this book and was reminded of it recently on someone's blog although I now can't find that blog post. 

Laurie and I differ on a lot of things; in the room of politics she'd be standing on the far left and I'd be chatting up "W" on the right, for instance; also she is an agnostic and I stand firm on the foundation of Christ. Her childishness can still make me giggle though. 

I've become a big fan of fiction in the past few years. The marks of a good story are being able to convince one to set aside reality for a while though and Notaro proved able to get me to do just that, for about three or four days last week.

Spooky Little Girl: A Novel

Lucy Fisher is due to marry in eight weeks. She isn't really head-over-heels-in-love with Martin but is happy and settled in his reliability and steadfast predictability. Before the wedding she has decided to spend an inheritance on what was intended to be the trip of a lifetime with a couple of girlfriends. The trip was a disappointment but that was just the beginning...of the end.

Upon returning home she finds all of her belongings in her front yard and her dog locked inside; her key won't work. Having been dumped by Martin, without explanation, she is also fired from her job, with explanation. She moves up-state 
to live with her sister and nephew, hoping for a new start. Little does she know 
that an accident lies in her path and the path will divert to the after-life. 

After her accident she awakens to find herself in a hospital-like room and believes herself to be dreaming a helluva dream. She decides to sit back and enjoy the dream    

     "After all, there were worse dreams to be stuck in. She could have been making 
     out with Carrot Top or being chased through a mall by a bear with a goat head, 
     all while trying to figure out a way to stop in at the food court to get a 
     Beef'nCheddar at Arby's without getting mauled. Truly, this was a great dream.
     The detail was amazing; the premise was fascinating. She was already looking     
     forward to recounting the whole bizarre episode to Alice in the morning over 
     their first cup of coffee." 

Enrolled in her first class Sudden Death (or Surprise Demise as her teacher likes to call it) she learns "Don't dress as the ghost you are, dress for the ghost you want to be." Lucky for her...she really did die in her cowboy boots and "today's only the first day of the rest of (her) death".

The gist of things is that Lucy has to earn her way to the State (The State of Elated Bliss). She must return to the land of the living and determine what her mission there is without being told. Along the way she experiences two funerals held in honor of her, one barely attended and the other well attended. Between the two she is stuck trying to figure out why her death was initially barely noticed.  She grows in maturity and even manages to have a load of fun. She is also reunited with her dead granny, Naunie, who manages to accomplish her own  on-the-way-to-State-deed while helping Lucy's sister and nephew.

I take slight issue with the fact that at times Lucy and her grandmother pass right through material things but also have a particular talent of being able to sometimes move physical things. By the end of the book it seems that Notaro is taking liberties with her own ghost rules and must not have been able to find a better way to manipulate the story. I tried to ignore that and just enjoy the ride!

I like to include favorite lines from books in my reviews. This particular sentence isn't the greatest of prose but it struck me as delightfully funny as I was reading:

     "Scarier apparitions have swirled out of the tailpipes of cars." pg 202

Here's a list of Notaro's books; the ones with stars are the ones I have read :

* We Thought You Would be Prettier: True Tales of the Dorkiest Girl Alive

* I Love Everybody (And Other Atrocious Lies):True Tales of a Loudmouth Girl

* The Idiot Girls' Actions Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life

* Autobiography of a Fat Bride: True Tales of a Pretend Adulthood

* The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death: Reflections on Revenge, Germophobia, and Laser Hair Removal

* An Idiot Girl's Christmas

* Spooky Little Girl

There's a Slight Chance I Might be Going to Hell

I like that this story was inspired by truth even though it is sad that the real Lucy Fisher died too, and without her friends knowing about it when it happened:

The Story of the real Lucy Fisher < click here

Found this for you too:

click here > The Nervous Breakdown (Laurie Notaro's Interview with her mom)

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