Author Laurie Notaro on Her New Book and Coming Back to Phoenix

Courtesy of Laurie Notaro

Bestselling author and former Phoenix-area journalist Laurie Notaro is back in the Valley of the Sun. No, she didn't pack up the U-Haul and move here for good (though the idea isn't completely off the table.)

Notaro will make appearances this week at Changing Hands Bookstore and the Desert Ridge Barnes & Noble to introduce her new collection of humorous stories, It Looked Different on the Model: Epic Tales of Impending Shame and Infamy.

Like her earlier nonfiction works, this one's filled with self-deprecating humor and tales we can all relate to, including those of late-night, Ambien-fueled eating binges and a tight top that wouldn't come off in the dressing room.   

We caught up with the humble humorist this weekend and she dished about veganism, free-range boobs, and the all-true stories she decided to include in her latest work.   

So how has your family reacted to the new book?

I gave the book to my mom last night and she wasn't happy. I don't even think she's going to read it. She said, "If I'm going to write a book, it's going to be called, 'Laurie Lies.'" I told her, "You know the deal. If you want me to stop writing about you, you just have to shut up." But she just can't do that. I'm glad, because I think she's so funny.

Is everything you write in your nonfiction works really true?

Yes! My sister was reading a chapter to my nephews and they were cracking up because they remember all of this stuff. So I have witnesses. I can back it all up, which is a beautiful thing.

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So, you really have written unintelligible e-mails and binged out on cupcakes while taking the drug Ambien?

Yes! It was kind of the Ambien initiation, like being hazed into a fraternity. Like you had to survive this perfect revelation of yourself, and if you could stick through that you could continue on with Ambien and it wouldn't bother you. 

Are there any true stories that are off-limits, that you won't share publicly?

Earlier, before the books and even when I was writing some of them, I was really brave about the subject matter that I tackled, and I would be more cautious now. There are things that I can't write about. My in-laws are completely off-limits. I have to sit down with them at Christmas, and I'd rather it be an enjoyable experience for everyone. My family is different because, as I told my mother last night, "you have to love me no matter what." She disagreed.

In your new book, you tell a story about a woman who took out her boob at a party. What was up with that? Where was the baby?

Location Info


Changing Hands Bookstore

6428 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe, AZ

Category: General

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Great to hear that Laurie is coming out with her new book! I loved Laurie's work from way back when at Arizona State. She always had the nerve to write about things that I might not have had the courage to unless I was really really mad. We have mutual friends who will never know why we got up from their dinner table and went outside mid another person's conversation because I was too chickenshit to tell them why. So instead of just coming out and saying "your disgusting former brother in law buttered his bread TWICE after licking the knife and putting it back in the butter TWICE and I was ready to blow chunks" we opted for the polite removal of ourselves at their table.Labeled malcontents by the two women, knowing nothing of the germs that now infested their own butter, we lost very good friends because polite company dictated that we not mention the faux pas. It sucks to get your mail refused and returned and your phone calls rejected when you finally wish to tell them what was what and why we did what we did.The sad joke was on us. It would have been so much better had we gone out with guns blazing.

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