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Review: Spooky Little Girl, by Laurie Notaro

Pages: 304

Original date of publication: 2010

My edition: 2010 (Villard)

Why I decided to read: I’ve enjoyed Laurie Notaro’s books of essays before

How I acquired my copy: Review copy from Amazon Vine

I’ve noticed a thing about Laurie Notaro’s books. Her collections of essays tend to be better than her fiction is. Spooky Little Girl is a novel about a woman named Lucy, who goes on vacation and returns to find out that her fiancée has mysteriously dumped her and thrown her stuff out on the lawn, and that she’s lost her job. Lucy drives up to Flagstaff to visit her sister, and gets hit by a bus. She later finds herself as a ghost, in “ghost school,” and later haunting the last place she ever wanted to be in. Why has her fiancée dumped her? And why did nobody attend her funeral?

The idea isn’t so original—it borrows a bit from the movie Ghost (in fact the ghosts even watch the movie while in school). Notaro even borrows from herself—I’m pretty sure that Ruby Spicer is a name she’d recycled from her previous novel. And yet, this book was creative, in a quirky kind of way. The idea of ghosts going to school in order to learn how to properly haunt especially interested me (especially to think that Bloody Mary and Anne Boleyn are ghosts who maybe didn’t reach their full potential!). The novel is very funny in places, but Notaro’s fiction just isn’t as well written as her nonfiction is. I can’t wait to read her next collection of essays.


Bookfool said…
A lot of nonfiction writers kind of stink at novel writing. It's a hard transition from short, humorous essays to full-length fiction. Dave Barry did very well with Big Trouble. I laughed a lot when I read that book. Someone should kick me for not following up and reading more of his fiction.

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