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I'm Just a Person

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Humor (2016)
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 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.” Word of the set went viral instantly. This set was ultimately released as Tig’s sophomore album, Live, which sold 100,000 units in just six weeks and was 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 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, Untitled is a moving and often hilarious look at this very brave, very funny woman’s journey through the darkness and her thrilling return.

240 pages, Hardcover

First published June 14, 2016

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About the author

Tig Notaro

4 books179 followers
Mathilde "Tig" O'Callaghan Notaro is an American stand-up comic, writer, radio contributor, and actress. She is known for her deadpan comedy.

(more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tig_Notaro)

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 991 reviews
Profile Image for Jessica J..
1,020 reviews1,964 followers
March 25, 2016
First of all, if you are one of seven people in the world who hasn't yet listened to Tig Notaro's famous set from Largo, go do that right now.

If you know anything at all about Tig Notaro, it's that 2012 was an absolute shit year for her. She was diagnosed with an aggressive bacterial infection called c. Diff that more or less ate her intestines. As soon as she got out of the hospital, but before she had really recovered, she received a phone call from her stepfather that her mom had fallen, hit her head on a coffee table, and wasn't going to survive. She traveled home to Texas to say goodbye and attend the funeral, then went back to LA just in time for her relationship with her girlfriend to dissolve. Then, she discovered a lump in her breast.

She went in for a biopsy and was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer. She required surgery as soon as possible.

Oddly, all of this terrible, terrible stuff led to perhaps the biggest moment of her career as a stand-up. A week after the cancer diagnosis, she had been scheduled to perform a stand-up set at the Largo in LA. Instead of canceling the show, she got up there and announced to everyone, "Good evening, hello, I have cancer." It was widely considered a groundbreaking, revolutionary thing. She just got up on stage and cracked jokes about all the terrible things she'd gone through over the previous 4 months. It was wry and self-deprecating and a little angry and confused, but touching and funny and wonderful.

Louis CK--who was at a professional peak of his own at the time--raved about the set on Twitter and before Tig had even woken up the next day, news of the show had gone viral and she was an instant sensation. In the three and a half years since then, I feel like Tig Notaro is everywhere. She sold the recording of that set, which became one of the fastest selling comedy albums of all time and was nominated for a Grammy. Her stand-up tours started selling out bigger venues than ever before. She was interviewed in nearly every media outlet you could name, she made a documentary for Netflix, an HBO special, a Showtime special, and now a show on Amazon Prime...and a memoir. Tah-da!!

I adore Tig Notaro. I discovered her just as her profile was starting to rise, when she appeared on a special live edition of This American Life that broadcast in movie theaters in the summer of 2012. This was post-c. diff, post-death, but pre-cancer. In what's become one of her most famous bits, she told the story of the many times that she's bumped into pop star Taylor Dayne. It's silly and absurd, told in a signature deadpan style with lots of awkward pauses that I love. From that moment on, I was a fan and I was really excited to see her blow up.

In fact, one of the proudest moments of my life is the time that Tig Notaro made fun of my giggle during a stand-up set in Arlington, VA, after a bit about her breasts retaliating for years of making jokes at their expense.

So, yeah, I knew I was going to have to read this book and I was suuuuuuper excited when I saw that it was available on Edelweiss. If I'm 100% honest, I was maybe a smidge disappointed that this book primarily rehashes all the stuff that I learned from the Largo set, the multitude of interviews, the documentary. It wasn't as laugh out loud funny as I expected it to be (though I think this might be worth checking out on audiobook if she reads it herself), but she still tells her story with warmth and insight and humor. It was familiar but still moving, this intense yo-yo that's been this woman's life over the last few years.

If you haven't done so yet, take the time to catch up on her stand-up on YouTube, watch her Amazon pilot and her HBO special, and definitely, definitely, definitely watch this heartbreaking video from her appearance on The Moth (which also factors into the book). And if you're not yet tired of Tig Notaro, then pick up this book this summer. It might be treading some familiar water, but it's still thoroughly enjoyable and engaging water.
Profile Image for Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤.
789 reviews1,184 followers
October 5, 2020
A few months ago my partner and I binge-watched both seasons of "One Mississippi". It is hilarious! We were disappointed that it was cancelled after two seasons and were left wanting more.

I hadn't been interested in reading Tig Notaro's memoir when it was published a few years ago but wanting more of her dry and acerbic wit, I decided to download this book.

It's depressing.

Now, it is mainly about the year Tig: 1) lost her mother, 2) contracted C. Dif, and 3) discovered she had breast cancer, necessitating a double mastectomy. This is not funny stuff. It is depressing and it was a horrific time for Tig. Going through just one of those would be distressing. Having all three shoved into one year? Not something any of us would want to suffer through. 

Because the show is also about this horrendous year, it was repetitive. Also, unlike the show, it wasn't presented in a funny way. No one should be expected to make light of such suffering and I am amazed Tig was able to make comedy out of this terrible year of her life. I think I'd have curled up in a ball and waited for death.

Instead, she used her suffering in her comedy and I somehow expected more of the same in this book. I feel guilty for that. Like, how can I expect anyone to entertain me with their hardships?

But having watched the show so recently, I hope I can be excused for thinking this book would at least make me smile. The book's blurb calls it "darkly funny" so that's my other excuse. 

I think if you're going through any of these things it might be cathartic to read. The blurb did get it right about the book being "emotionally raw". Perhaps at another time I would have appreciated this book more, but reading it in the month leading up to what is probably America's most important election ever and in the midst of a pandemic, I didn't need depressing material. Sorry, Tig.

It was sweet to read the end, about how she and her now wife met and fell in love. I could relate so much because, like Tig, until I met my partner, I didn't see myself ever finding someone I wanted to spend my life with. A few dates was always enough. I deplore small talk and if I don't immediately click with someone, I don't want to waste my time. 

Tig's description of meeting Stephanie and everything changing in the blink of an eye and immediately finding herself wanting to spend the rest of her life with this woman was exactly how it was for me with my partner. There was just something that made me know, She's the one I want to spend all of my days with.

Thankfully I made the right choice. I can't imagine going through this year, almost constantly quarantined in our apartment, with someone I don't love, respect, am interested in, and enjoy spending a lot of time with. Sorry everyone else, but I think she's the only person in the world I could go through quarantine with.

The other thing I really appreciated about this book is the chapter about how narcissistic praying seems to non-believers. It made me laugh and nod my head. This was a short chapter unfortunately. 

I'm Just a Person is an okay read but if you're looking for laughs, I'd recommend watching Tig's show "One Mississippi" over reading the book. 
Profile Image for Heidi The Reader.
1,377 reviews1,434 followers
January 2, 2017
Tig Notaro is a survivor. Her dry humor shines through these pages as she tells her life story: multiple brushes with death, romantic relationships, and snapshots of her childhood, parents, and thought processes. She shows us that she's "just a person", yes, but also how extraordinary an ordinary person can be when presented with nearly insurmountable difficulties like dropping out of school at an early age, having a biological father who was never present and a stepfather who was never available emotionally, a mother who was so immature that Tig practically raised herself, not to mention all of the health problems that came later. I picked up this book because I was enamored of Tig's stand-up routines. This book has their flavor but far more detail than her act- if you've enjoyed her comedy, you'll probably like this too.

I loved reading about how Tig found her calling and her people: "I began to refer to the comedy scene as "the land of misfit toys." It was comforting to be surrounded by people who didn't fit into the confines of society, and it was the first time in my life that I wasn't met with the boring conversation stopper: "Oh my God, you're so weird." pg 47

This part cracked me up- Tig's discovered lumps in her breasts but she doesn't think they're anything to be concerned about. Her girlfriend disagreed: "Instead of making a doctor's appointment, I spent the next couple months teasing Brooke by removing my shirt and saying, "Hey, wanna touch my cancer?" It was really fun to walk past her holding my chest and blurting out, "Ow! My cancer!" pg 109-110.

I thought that the chapter in which Tig talks about her biological father, Pat, was particularly well-written. She takes complex emotional pain and makes it into something beautiful: "He was obviously still in pain over the loss of my mother and the news of my health, but I knew that this grief could not kindle any real kind of familial bond between us. I guess I believed there was something inherently broken in Pat's relationship with me and my brother. Maybe we had all missed some ambiguous window of time when we could have salvaged some hope for a real connection. I am certain, however, that we have the same feelings: I want everything to be okay for him and he wants everything to be okay for me." pg 205

That is Tig's strength- her ability to take the worst in life and wring not just humor but meaning out of it. Some similar reads: Sleepwalk With Me and Other Painfully True Stories, Shrinkage: Manhood, Marriage, and the Tumor That Tried to Kill Me, or A Girl Named Zippy.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,009 reviews36k followers
February 23, 2022
I like what I’ve learned here ….

Comic- serious has a place in our world!

Sorry for all the pain — Tig. — or anyone endures.

I’m a newbie to Tig. I totally loved being in her space.

Paul and I are enjoying the Hulu series.

I still don’t know - yet - who Tig married. (But I can guess)

So - yep … a treat to listen to this audiobook!

Not too long! 5 hours and 5 minutes
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
February 27, 2020
The week after 9/11 The New Yorker’s cover was black and within, no cartoons. Comedy clubs were closed. But within a week the clubs reopened and the jokes flowed, and they were welcome. It’s what they do, comedians, make lemonade from lemons and then pour it over their heads and yours and make you laugh about it instead of crying about it. It's not "making light of a horrific subject," it's working hard to adjust one's attitude away from hopelessness, sometimes to hope, sometimes to absurdity. "Laughter is the best medicine"? Maybe.

I have had Tig Notaro’s own audio reading of her memoir, I’m Just a Person, on my tbr list for years, but my friend J, a cancer survivor like Tig, told me I had to read it right now, that Tig was her soulmate, so I listened to it, pretty much straight through.

Here’s an excerpt from Live (which she constantly has to be reminded is pronounced as the opposite of Die) a Grammy-award-winning comedy nominee album of 2012:


We wouldn’t even be reading her book, written years later, were it not for this remarkable moment in the history of comedy. Notaro, a stand-up comedian, had been (what she thought was) dying from an intestinal disorder, C-Diff, but it gets worse: within that four month span her mother died, she broke up with her girlfriend, and she was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer. Just hours before she went on stage she got the diagnosis and for reasons not even clear to her at the time she decided to go on anyway to see if she could somehow make comedy of it. It's what she does.

On NPR, Notaro talks briefly about how she could even begin to make comedy about breast cancer:


So I didn’t really know Notaro, who has not only survived but married, had twins through a surrogate and continues her comedy career. Since I didn’t know her story I thought it was sort of familiar, actually, as (for some reason not even clear to me) I have in the past few years read a lot of (mostly comics) cancer memoirs. But I have always had what might be described as a morbid fascination for “train wreck” memoirs about unbelievable experiences (I think at the moment of Dave Egger’s A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, describing how he lost both of his parents within a calendar year to cancer).

Of course we all know cancer death and survival in our lives now, and some of us are ourselves survivors .Not me, which is to say all five of my sibs are cancer survivors and I—not yet!—am cancer-free. But I just this morning talked with one of my older sisters whose body is shot through with incurable cancer. I just heard today of the death from cancer of my good Goodreads friend Michael. And (also true story!) as I listened to the last thirty minutes of this book I got a call from my doctor about recent blood and urine tests (negative no cancer, I'll quickly say!). In twenty years she has never called to talk to me, so you better believe my heart was racing, given the circumstances of the call. I tell you all this because cancer is all around us, and we all know the inspirational, impossible survival stories, too. I tell them all the time as a kind of mantra held up against the possible cancer darkness.

Notaro’s book is less funny than serious and sentimental and maybe inspirational in the way of most cancer survival memoirs. That's mainly why she wrote the book, to inspire others, she says. She tells of her wild mom (especially and dad, and shares letters from them about her, she finds love, she finds even greater success, she reconciles with her step-Dad, and so on. It’s okay, it’s good. I was told it would be edgier and funnier, but it's okay, even a comedian has the right to tell her double mastectomy story (though I have heard she continues to work to find ways to make it funny, for which hundreds of thousands thank her, I'm sure). If you have cancer or have deep experience with it one way or the other, or you knew of The Performance and want to hear all the backstories of that time, you might want to read this. But I say nothing in the book quite matches the electricity of that extraordinary stand-up performance (you can listen to the whole thing on Live) and (I heard from J) also a documentary about her I have yet to see.
Profile Image for Idarah.
464 reviews48 followers
July 20, 2016
"I’m not a superstitious person, but I was beginning to believe that I was on a bad streak and that life had made a decision to take me down.”—Tig Notaro

I was a fan of Tig’s before her Live album shot her to stardom. During that show, she shocked the audience with her honest humor about her recent back-to-back tragedies: the sudden loss of her mother, a serious C. DIFF infection, followed by aggressive breast cancer. The follow-up to that album is her memoir, I’m Just a Person, a more filled in version of that show.
“I always considered myself a private person—both on stage and off—who made way more observations about the world around me than the one inside me. But after my life fell apart in March of 2012, I felt compelled to express myself on a much deeper level.”

In her book, Notaro relates growing up with her free-spirited mother in Houston, her eventual path to stand up comedy and Los Angeles, the tumultuous events of 2012, and how she overcame those odds to become the changed person she is today. I listened to the audio book edition, which she read in her classic deadpan voice, which lent a real intimacy to the events she related with sardonic humor. Some parts were almost achingly painful to hear, but it was never over the top. I hope to check out her album sometime soon while the book is still fresh in my mind.
Author 1 book79 followers
June 22, 2016
I adore Tig Notaro, and would watch anything she does. Which is why this book came as such a disappointment. It's sloppily put together and feels like it was written as an afterthought; more than 3/4 of the book is simply a retelling of what's been told in her performances, and the rest is perfunctory (she jumps right from childhood to her diagnosis, leaving out her early work and how she got started in comedy - a gap of 20 years.) I really, really wish this had been better.
Profile Image for da AL.
366 reviews366 followers
August 16, 2020
Don't believe the title for a nanosecond--Tig is amazing! As the last person to hear of Tig Notaro, the only one to meet her through this intriguing autobiography, I am blown away by what she's accomplished. She performs a fabulous narration about the challenges that she's surmounted as an adult--and the incredibly inspiring outcome of her childhood.
Profile Image for CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian.
1,132 reviews1,390 followers
February 28, 2017
An intense, darkly funny, inspiring memoir about a pretty unbelievable year in the life of comedian Tig Notaro. I can't quite put my finger on what exactly it is that I love about how she puts things. I think it's her sense of humour, for sure, but also her deadpan voice and her generosity and her honesty. Yeah, maybe that's it.
Profile Image for Toni.
643 reviews203 followers
July 16, 2016
Great book of Tig's most awful year, and very excellent comedy show where she had just found out she had cancer. The video went viral with millions of hits, then followed by a documentary a year or two later. I love her dry, witty sense of humor, and offbeat timing. The Book goes into more emotional depth so you get to understand what Tig really endured. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Deanna.
928 reviews52 followers
March 8, 2019
This is so close to a bump to 5 read that I may come back and do that.

I enjoy a good memoir, and this is a good memoir.

I had no idea what to expect. My cultural illiteracy is pretty deep on the entertainment front, and I had never heard of this comedian. I don’t read many celebrity memoirs either. And then there was the whole premise of “here’s a crazy bad year I had”.

But this book it all the right notes for me. It didn’t feel like celebrity writing or living. It was articulate and sometimes witty. Not funny in a laughing kind of way, at least not for me, but it had a special kind of alchemy in the balance of frankness, matter of factness, vulnerability, not taking oneself too seriously, and wry, clever observations. It’s a tale of resilience with none of the stiff upper lip look how brave I am that would have been deserved but was beautifully avoided.

Profile Image for Ross Blocher.
431 reviews1,372 followers
August 10, 2016
Tig Notaro is one of my favorite comedians. Her delivery is slow, dry, perfectly timed and completely self-aware. She's found an amazing way of making her honest and vulnerable personal stories both fresh and entertaining. This book expounds on some of the stories she's told in other venues, largely focused on the disastrous year of 2012, in which she contracted C. diff, broke up with her girlfriend, found out her mom had died, and then got diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer that required a double-mastectomy - all within the span of a few months.

Tig's story is fascinating, but I can't give full stars to the writing itself, which did not have the same level of polish found in everything else she does. I stopped a few times to watch YouTube clips online, because hearing it in her voice helped the reading process. There are moments of great insight and some hilarious observations here and there that felt genuine to her stand-up comedy delivery, but the rest of the time I was curious to know if she'd had a ghost writer.

I was particularly impressed with the 9th chapter, "God Never Gives You More Than You Can Handle". From the perspective of someone who has gone through so much pain, she takes apart that particular theological platitude - I really enjoyed watching her do it.

If you're a fan of Tig's (and who wouldn't be), it's worth the [quick] read.
Profile Image for britt_brooke.
1,288 reviews96 followers
July 1, 2017
"The scary beauty of life is that cancer can be around the corner just as a Grammy nomination can be."

I was only vaguely familiar with Tig Notaro prior to snagging this on an ebook deal recently. Anyone who can keep a sense of humor through tragedy is my kind of human being. This was a very solid memoir.
Profile Image for Ashley Marie .
1,240 reviews385 followers
March 30, 2019
Another secondhand shop find, another one-day read. I've heard of Tig Notaro and I'm aware that she's a comedian but I'm sorry to say that until I read this I've not seen any of her standup work. Needless to say, the Live set is at the top of my list right now. She has such a heartbreaking, incredible story.
Profile Image for Brian's Book Blog.
732 reviews55 followers
June 22, 2016
See more reviews like this at Brian's Book Blog

An amazing and real story

If you are thinking about reading or listening to this book, I would hope that you know of Tig Notaro. If you don't do yourself a favor and check out her amazing, deep, and real live album: "Live" first.

It's amazing what one person can be forced to endure. Tig's life seemed to be on the normal arc of a stand-up comedian. She was performing, making money from gigs, and touring. She then suffered from one of the worst streaks of health and bad news that you could imagine. Pneumonia, C-DIFF, her mother dying in a freak accident, going through a breakup with her girlfriend, then finding out she had stage 2 invasive breast cancer. Yes, you read all of that right.

Just an upfront warning: this book will make you feel. It might not make you cry (I have no way of knowing what will and won't make people cry) but it did make me sob quietly a few times on my way to or from work.

I knew a lot of this story from different forms: her documentary on Netflix, her live album "Live", and her show on Amazon Prime: One Mississippi. But hearing her tell all of these stories in such detail is an experience I wouldn't trade for the world. I feel like I personally know Tig after listening to this audiobook. I'm so happy that she took the time to tell her story. I know that this book will help others get through dark parts of their life... and it it doesn't they can go to hell.

I'm Just A Person is as real as an audiobook memoir can get. Tig's ability to tell this extremely hard collection of stories make you like her even more than you already did.

Tig, I think that we all have a percentage of life left. You may have a 93 percent chance of life, and I'm glad to hear that you are living it. I hope that others will do the same. Even without knowing this number.
Profile Image for Jaclyn.
Author 57 books565 followers
September 13, 2016
I love Tig Notaro. I first heard her on This American Life and was completely blown away. Her stand up is hilarious. Her Largo set about cancer was brilliant. Her Netflix documentary was moving.

In her book, Tig tells her story of contracting C. Difficile, her mother's sudden death, her relationship breakup and her cancer diagnosis - all in the span of four months. It's the story any fan of hers will know well. The sections about her mother's death are particularly moving. Overall though I'm disappointed because I knew all the content in this very short read. I don't think there's anything new here for Tig fans.
Profile Image for Chris Roberts.
Author 1 book46 followers
June 6, 2016
The memoir as
cankering ode to self
audacious is the conceit
which allows an author - anybody -
to have printed
the utter dizzying, dragging m-i-n-u-t-u-e
of a life lived grasping for metaphors
and the claptrap resultant in the mining of the mind.

The disease induced genre
a.k.a. "feel sorry for me"
because a loved one is dead
the "fight the good fight" narrative
inspiration spelled backwards is yawn
the woman down the street
she has a hangnail
and is actively preparing her memoir
will it be a bestseller?
of course, mindless readers
flock to any medical malady
so if you chip a tooth, get bad shingles,
brain seizures, bad breath or genital herpes -
you know what to do write, write - right.

Chris Roberts, American God
Profile Image for Leo Robertson.
Author 38 books435 followers
April 27, 2017
What with the stand-up, the articles, the podcast interviews, the TV show, the documentary... nobody can get enough of this woman! (I love looking at her too: she has beautiful eyes!!)

If you know of this book, you know what it's about, and if you're interested in it you should read it (omg so hungover I can't bloody think.)
Profile Image for Rachel.
307 reviews21 followers
December 8, 2016
Life kicked Tig Notaro right in the ovaries, really fucking hard, over and over in a short period of time. She came through it and one of the results is an awesome book. Honest, sad, funny, and touching. Great read.
Profile Image for Ariel ✨.
133 reviews75 followers
December 10, 2016
I rated it five stars because I love her. If you love her, you'll appreciate this memoir. Tig Notaro's climb from a high school dropout in Mississippi to a well-known comic, TV producer, and published author is the kind of success story I love to read about in memoirs. She goes more in depth about her illnesses and her relationship with her mom than she did in her Netflix documentary, "Tig". Stephanie isn't mentioned until the two chapters, but it's the sweetest part of the book. Parts of it were funny, but I don't think "humor" is the most appropriate category for it. It didn't feel like she wrote it for laughs.

I saw her in Dallas recently and she was every bit as amazing as I thought she'd be. Her shows are an experience!
Profile Image for Christine (Queen of Books).
951 reviews134 followers
January 30, 2020
Tig is an absolute treasure, and I'm truly surprised she doesn't have a zillion fans. This book, One Mississippi, Tig the documentary, her standup...all wins. ❤️

In case you're not acquainted, "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.'"

yeeeeeah. The set went viral, she sort of blew up, and I feel grateful that meant I got wind of her. If you like hearing people's stories, check out this book; if you like standup, listen to hers; if you like shows with heart and comedy, watch One Mississippi. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Darcy.
314 reviews4 followers
February 17, 2017
I had heard about Tig Notaro's comedy and bits about her over the past couple years. I saw her on Inside Amy Schumer and then her comedy special where she remained topless the entire set, displaying her double mastectomy scars as she did her show. I was compelled by this woman's life and that flame is kindled even more after reading her autobiography. I enjoyed hearing her share her life on the page. Tig is candid and unflinching when she speaks about her very tumultuous experiences with her mother's death and having cancer in the same year. I appreciate her honesty and her perspective. I am grateful to have experienced this book.
Profile Image for Ava Cairns.
39 reviews13 followers
July 3, 2022
3.5 STARS.
If I'm going to have a celebrity crush on anyone, it's going to be Tig Notaro.
I have followed Tig Notaro's story, comedy, and life updates for quite some time now.
So while I had a rough idea of her life story, the insights and information that she presented to her readers were new to me.
Take, for example, how she dropped out of high school and repeated the eighth grade 3 times. Or how she only saw her biological dad for a total of about 10 times.
There were moments when I wished that Notaro could've been more descriptive about her tribulations. And yet, there is no doubt that Notaro controls the pace and comedic timing of her book excellently. After all, she is a comedian.
There are lines in this book I will never forget. She said she was "dangling in purgatory" when she had breast cancer. "Dangling in purgatory" has stuck in my mind ever since I read those two words.
Another reason this memoir was so well done is that the memoir was not self-deprecating, and did not belittle others.
It was as if she anticipated all of her loved ones or people who have positively touched her reading her book, and so, in turn, she wrote a book that spoke of them in the most respectful manner.
Let's just say if Notaro has another book published, I'm sure as hell going to read it.
The last 40 pages were about her trying to get pregnant and falling in love with her wife, Stephanie. I give these pages 5 GOODREADS STARS.
Profile Image for J.T..
Author 14 books31 followers
May 8, 2021
Tig Notaro is possibly my favorite stand-up comic. I'll admit I'm a little obsessive about listening to her podcasts, watching her stand-up and now, reading her book. As such, I knew much of what was written about here - her childhood, a lifetime of trauma compressed into a two or so year period, and her trajectory into comedy. Still, there were some insights into her personality and what shaped it.

I kept struggling to figure out why I didn't find this book as compelling as her stand-up, and I think it may be because when you're writing a book, you're not interacting with people. Much of what I love about listening to Tig's podcasts or watching shows where she does crowd work is her sincere interest in other people and her ability to find humor in just about anything.
Profile Image for Shirleynature.
200 reviews59 followers
September 5, 2022
A memoir of candid & heartfelt life wisdom that is far beyond what I would expect from most comedians. She's faced her own mortality, family loss, and become a deeply genuine person.
Profile Image for Diane.
747 reviews57 followers
June 20, 2016
In 2012, stand up comic Tig Notaro made headlines when she began one of her performances with "Good evening, hello. I have cancer. How are you? Hi, how are you? Is everyone having a good time? I have cancer." The video clip of that performance went viral and the world soon knew of Notaro's situation.

But that wasn't all. In the space of four months, Notaro nearly died of a C-Diff infection, her mother died in a freak accident, and she was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer. Her memoir I'm Just A Person shares Notaro's journey of those months.

The book opens as Notaro is taking a cab ride from the hospital back to her mother's house in Texas after her mother died. Tig had recently been discharged from a hospital in Los Angeles after a harrowing infection which resulted in her being unable to keep any food down.

She was weak as a kitten when she got the call from her stepfather about her mother. Notaro shares stories about her unconventional mother, a woman for whom "drinking with friends by the pool was (her) nine-to-five job and she took it very seriously."

Notaro was a poor student, held back twice in the eighth grade. She eventually dropped out of school and ended up in Los Angeles with some friends where she became a working standup comic.

I'm Just A Person deals mainly with her four month ordeal. She writes matter-of-factly about her illnesses and fears, but it is her relationship with her free spirit mother and how Notaro came to terms with it after her mother's death that truly resonates here. Her description of going into her mother's home and looking at photos and her mother's belongings, and the memories that conjures up is moving.

You'll read I'm Just A Person in a few hours, it is a slim book, but Notaro's story will stay with you a lot longer and maybe give you pause to reflect on your own mortality and relationships. She packs a big punch in a few words. I recommend it.
Profile Image for Ashley.
683 reviews1 follower
June 21, 2016
I’m pretty sure the first time I encountered Tig Notaro’s work was in that This American Life Story, but it might also have been when she had a role in the sweet film “In A World.” I watched her documentary, and then her comedy special, and really enjoyed both. I find her to be intriguing and unpretentious, and so had to pick up her memoir.

If you have somehow managed to not heard her story, Ms. Notaro experienced a pretty brutal spring four years ago: she went through a breakup, fought a brutal C. Diff infection, lost her mother unexpectedly in a fall, and then was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer.


This book is mostly focused on that time in Ms. Notaro’s life, and her recovery from it. She shares a lot of herself in a way that is genuine, sweet, and at times (but not always) funny. This isn’t a comedy memoir, but it is a memoir that will make you feel good. It made me feel good.

Not every good book is full of loud, declarative, life-altering statements that you want to immediately stitch on a pillow. Some are quietly strong, but awesome just the same. I loved this book. I can’t recommend it enough.
Profile Image for Melissa Lee-Tammeus.
1,425 reviews32 followers
July 30, 2016
Okay, I love Ms. Nataro. I do. But when I picked up this book, I thought I would be learning something new. But what I got was a rehashing of everything I already knew, with a few new bits thrown in to really confuse me. I actually checked the publishing date at least three times as I was reading through because I already knew all about the cancer thing, and the Jack thing, and even the girlfriend thing. I thought this was a new book - that's what I kept finding myself wondering. I watched her Netflix special called Tig over a year ago and most of what I read about I had already seen there - even her struggle with wanting to get pregnant. So, I think what I can only surmise is this book was for her, not her fans - which is fine by me - a sort of wrap up and reflection of everything she had gone through. If you want to go down that memory lane with her, by all means check it out. But if you were hoping for something new, well, you are not going to get it here.
Profile Image for Stacie.
265 reviews19 followers
May 2, 2016
Received this galley at PLA and was excited to read it after seeing her closing session there. I also watched her HBO special and Netflix documentary, fascinated by her life and humor. Tig's story is powerful and heartbreaking; she's a testament to what one human being can overcome. That said, I was disappointed that the memoir mostly described in written form what she discussed at the session and in her specials. There weren't many stories, surprises or insights here that she hadn't already covered. Some of the transitions between points in her life were rough as well, making it a just-ok read for me.

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