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I'm Just a Person
by Tig Notaro


Overview -

One of America's most original comedic voices delivers a darkly funny, wryly observed, and emotionally raw account of her year of death, cancer, and epiphany.

In the span of four months in 2012, Tig Notaro was hospitalized for a debilitating intestinal disease called C.  Read more...


 
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More About I'm Just a Person by Tig Notaro
 
 
 
Overview

One of America's most original comedic voices delivers a darkly funny, wryly observed, and emotionally raw account of her year of death, cancer, and epiphany.

In the span of four months in 2012, Tig Notaro was hospitalized for a debilitating intestinal disease called C. diff, her mother unexpectedly died, she went through a breakup, and then she was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer. Hit with this devastating barrage, Tig took her grief onstage. Days after receiving her cancer diagnosis, she broke new comedic ground, opening an unvarnished set with the words: "Good evening. Hello. I have cancer. How are you? Hi, how are you? Is everybody having a good time? I have cancer." The set went viral instantly and was ultimately released as Tig's sophomore album, Live, which sold one hundred thousand units in just six weeks and was later nominated for a Grammy.

Now, the wildly popular star takes stock of that no good, very bad year--a difficult yet astonishing period in which tragedy turned into absurdity and despair transformed into joy. An inspired combination of the deadpan silliness of her comedy and the open-hearted vulnerability that has emerged in the wake of that dire time, I'm Just a Person is a moving and often hilarious look at this very brave, very funny woman's journey into the darkness and her thrilling return from it.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062266637
  • ISBN-10: 0062266632
  • Publisher: Ecco Press
  • Publish Date: June 2016
  • Page Count: 256


Related Categories

Books > Humor > Form - Essays
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Entertainment & Performing Arts - General
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-05-30
  • Reviewer: Staff

For four months in 2012, stand-up comedian Notaro descended into a decidedly unfunny period of her life: she survived a bout with the life-threatening bacterial infection, Clostridium difficile, only to find out that her mother had died; not long after she buried her mother, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent a double mastectomy. In this deeply captivating memoir, Notaro opens her raw wounds, candidly sharing her most intimate thoughts about life before and after her illnesses. Notaro chronicles her early struggles with her mother and stepfather, and her departure from her home in Houston to make it on her own in Los Angeles. She discovers her gift for comedy, performing night after night at open mikes, and eventually lands an audition for a show that the comic Sarah Silverman has written just for Notaro. In a moment of uncertainty, she panics and exclaims "I'll go on, I can't go on," a theme that echoes throughout the book: "When you're struggling to secure the role of yourself, you do wonder whether you know who you are. Up until that audition, I felt confident I did." After her illnesses, Notaro slowly returns to the stage, gaining a large following when she introduces her new routine with the words: "Hello. Good evening. Hello. I have cancer, how are you?" By January 2013, Notaro feels reborn and ready to set out on a new life, and these days she's happier than ever. Notaro's searingly honest and sometimes humorous memoir will wrench readers' hearts and inspire them in equal measure. (June)

 
BookPage Reviews

A comedian on calamities and moving forward

After reading this slim, melancholy memoir, you may be tempted to turn to the Book of Job for comic relief. Notaro’s avalanche of ordeals has become such a staple of her comedy routines and interviews and is so prominently featured in the 2015 documentary Tig that many readers will likely know about them already. For those who don’t, they include, in rapid succession, a broken romance, a debilitating digestive tract disorder called C-diff, the sudden, violent death of her mother and breast cancer leading to a double mastectomy. All these calamities are revisited within a framework that embraces Notaro’s difficult childhood relationships with an endearing but irresponsible mother, a martinet stepfather and a spaced-out, absentee biological father. 

Although there are diverting comic touches (most in the ironic vein), the book’s chief virtue is Notaro’s absolute candor in describing how these devastating setbacks wracked both her body and soul. We feel C-diff sap her strength, partake of the terror she experiences when discovering she has cancer and grieve with her as the mother she emotionally relied on slips away.

The focal point of I’m Just a Person—and the turning point in her career and outlook—is the night in 2012, when she goes onstage at a comedy club and begins her routine with, “Hello. Good evening. Hello. I have cancer, how are you.” Her performance, undertaken as a wild gambit, captivated the crowd and became a milestone in comic history. Even with cancer gnawing away at her, she had triumphed.

Notaro ends the book with the happy tale of meeting and marrying Stephanie Allynne and of looking, with fingers prudently crossed, toward a bright future.

 

This article was originally published in the June 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews