I’m Just A Person by Tig Notaro – Book Review

Tig Notaro’s  I’m Just  A Person could have been called Worst Year of My Life So Far, or My Year of Oh Fuck!  In one year, she was hit with pneumonia, a hospital-worthy infection of C. diff, the death of her mother, a breakup, breast cancer and a double mastectomy. Oh fuck!

Interwoven are stories of childhood, healthier times and a living mother, all written with candor and comradery, all relevant to the cast of characters that make up her family and friends.

The death of a parent or sibling seems to lead a lot of people, people like Notaro, into the world of autobiography.  Or maybe it’s just part of a life that is already well on its journey, but makes for a good book opening.

Am I being cruel and heartless? Am I being the taxi driver in Notaro’s story? Probably. Now’s not a good time.

cover of the book I'm Just a Person by Tig Notaro
cover of the book I’m Just a Person by Tig Notaro

At the bottom of the pit, Notaro managed to pull out some brand new comedic material by announcing to her audience, unrehearsed and unexpectedly, that she had cancer. She listened to them laugh at her, and realized they didn’t quite believe her. So she repeated it, and stunned the audience, and then proceeded to pull them out of their silence and into laughter, like any good comedian.

I made it my mission to yank everyone out of the dark hole by delivering a lighter joke or asking why they were taking this so hard—which caused the laughter that we all needed. ~ Tig Notaro

It was happenstance that this particular show was being taped, and through the kindness of friends, and more than a little pressure, packaged and sold. It became a hit, her career took off and she started doing the rounds.

Still, she was recovering. In fact, I recall seeing her on Conan where she made an unexpected joke about her mastectomy – snapping her fingers as if that made them magically disappear.

I’m Just a Person is a frank, simply written piece of work. A little humour, a little sadness, a lot of vulnerability and a little connection as she pushes through to a happier, healthier self.


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