The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life

The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life

by Laurie Notaro


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“I’ve changed a bit since high school. Back then I said no to using and selling drugs. I washed on a normal basis and still had good credit.”

Introducing Laurie Notaro, the leader of the Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club. Every day she fearlessly rises from bed to defeat the evil machinations of dolts, dimwits, and creepy boyfriends—and that’s before she even puts on a bra.

For the past ten years, Notaro has been entertaining Phoenix newspaper readers with her wildly amusing autobiographical exploits and unique life experiences. She writes about a world of hourly-wage jobs that require absolutely no skills, a mother who hands down judgments more forcefully than anyone seated on the Supreme Court, horrific high school reunions, and hangovers that leave her surprised that she woke up in the first place.

The misadventures of Laurie and her fellow Idiot Girls (“too cool to be in the Smart Group”) unfold in a world that everyone will recognize but no one has ever described so hilariously. She delivers the goods: life as we all know it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375760914
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/02/2002
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 602,613
Product dimensions: 5.22(w) x 7.99(h) x 0.54(d)

About the Author

Laurie Notaro is a humor columnist for the Arizona Republic at She has been fired from seven jobs (possibly eight) and lives with her first husband and pets (two dogs—a miniature Wookie and a lab that makes doody in her sleep—and a cat with no teeth) in the hot, dry dust bowl of Phoenix, Arizona. The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club is her first book.

Read an Excerpt

Wrap & Roll and the Disappearance of Nikki’s Keys

Nikki’s keys were gone.

Just gone.

“I don’t understand,” I said emphatically. “You had them yesterday.”

“I’m aware of that,” she replied. “But somewhere in between being drunk yesterday and sober today, my keys vanished.”

“And you’re going to make me help you look for them, I suppose.”

“No, you’re going to gladly help me look for them because you’re my friend and you also owe me forty dollars,” she said.

Let me explain right now that Nikki does not do things in a small way, she never has. Take a simple thing like losing your keys. The last time she lost them, not only couldn’t she drive anywhere, but she had also locked every door in the car for the first time in her life. This created a problem because she had left her roommate’s dry cleaning in the trunk. And that created a problem because the dry cleaning consisted of every military uniform that he possessed. And that created another problem because he needed to be at the airport in two hours, since he was flying out on an Army mission overseas. And that created yet another problem, because he couldn’t show up in civilian clothes at the Army place because he said they would immediately shoot him in the head or give him a dishonorable discharge, because the Army doesn’t fire people, they just kill them or ruin their lives forever. And we still had yet another problem on our hands, and that was that Nikki was the only ride he had to the airport.

So, because Nikki lost her keys, someone was either going to die or spend the rest of his ruined life working at the only job he could get, which would probably be working at a record store or managing a record store. But the story actually didn’t turn out too sad. After spending seventy-five dollars on a locksmith to get into the trunk, we found Nikki’s keys, leisurely placed right smack on top of an arsenal of khaki-green uniforms.

And if the reconnaissance of Nikki’s keys had a seventy-five-dollar price tag, there was a terrifying chance my forty-dollar loan might get called in, which was bad. Especially since it was most likely being deposited at that very moment in the bank account of our favorite bar.

“Please don’t tell me that you were messing around with the trunk this time, or that your kid is sitting in the backseat with all of the windows rolled up, or that you left something of mine, like my CDs, on the front seat,” I said as beads of worry were rolling down my forehead.

“I knew you’d help me! I just have to change into something yucky so I don’t get dirty,” she said before bounding up the stairs.

Whatever, I thought as I shook my head, and figured I’d get a head start by rifling through the cushions of the couch. I found a lighter right away, which I pocketed. Then I found thirty-seven cents, which I also pocketed, and a hairy LifeSaver that I left for the next couch-cushion bandit.

“Okay, I’m ready,” she said as she came down the stairs, wearing the T-shirt with my caricature and name on the back that was made up during my days at Arizona State University’s State Press Magazine.

“I thought you said you were going to put on something ‘yucky,’ ” I said immediately. “That’s my shirt. It’s got my face on it. And my name. That’s yucky? To you that’s yucky?”

“I didn’t mean yucky yucky, just, you know, yucky,” she answered.

“So I’m not yucky yucky, I’m just plain yucky?” I snapped. “What would make it yucky yucky? Maybe if I had signed it or given it to you as a gift?”

“Yeah. No, I mean, it’s my favorite shirt. I love this shirt,” she explained.

“Well, I’m just sorry that it’s so ‘yucky.’ I should have given you the ones we made out of the silk from those endangered worms.”

She smiled. “Okay, I have to get my stick, and then we can go and look for my keys,” she said.

“What do we need a stick for?” I asked. “We can break the car window with a rock.”

“No, the stick isn’t to break the window, it’s to poke at the trash.”

“We’re poking at trash? Why are we poking at trash?” I asked.

“I think my keys are in the bottom of the trash bag that I took out yesterday.”

“Let me get this straight: So you’re wearing my shirt while we dig through other people’s waste?”

“Right. See, if I thought it was yucky yucky, I’d wear it if the toilet overflowed.”

Nikki found the stick—actually a broom handle—and we journeyed to the Dumpster, which is about as big as my house and smells worse. We climbed up the side and looked down into it, down into all of Nikki’s trash as well as the trash of forty of her neighbors. That day, it was 114 degrees out, and the stench of the garbage was visible in stink lines that waved before my face in wiggly patterns, like in cartoons. Nikki started stabbing the trash with the stick, trying to find her own bag that was conveniently located at the very bottom.

Things were flying and falling everywhere—kitty litter and kitty turds, rotten vegetables and old food, used Kleenexes, and lots of dead things. Everybody in Nikki’s complex is on birth control pills, I found out. All of a sudden, a bag Nikki had poked broke open, and then this little white thing rolled right in the center of my visual zone.


“What?” Nikki asked as she started to turn toward me.

“Don’t look!” I said as I blocked her view, knowing that she has a weak stomach and gets queasy when I talk about picking noses or when I mention anything whatsoever about poo, so I knew she would get sick if she saw what I saw, which was a white, naked, and, at some point, used tampon applicator.

Jesus, I thought to whomever it had belonged to, didn’t your mother ever teach you about those things? I mean, Christ Almighty, as soon as my mother suspected that my ovaries were beginning to percolate, she sat me down in the only private room in the house—which was her bathroom—broke out a roll of toilet paper and a maxi pad, and taught me how to wrap & roll. Three wraps over the middle and three wraps over the side. Roll & wrap, it’s the polite thing. Even I could figure it out at the age of eight. And, for added protection, you could stick God’s little bundle in a plastic baggie, so when the dogs got loose in the house they wouldn’t find it and tear it apart, as our dogs, Ginger and Brandy, loved to do. Immediately following the hands-on demonstration, I got the “Not-So-Fresh-Feeling” speech, after which I ran to my room and sobbed for an hour because Barbie didn’t have an outfit that came with a tiny maxi pad, tampon, or Summer’s Eve.

Well, we found Nikki’s trash bag, but, of course, the keys weren’t in it. In fact, as of this moment, Nikki lost her keys three weeks ago, and we still haven’t found them. Who knows where they are?

Maybe, somehow, in the weird way that things work in Nikki’s World, maybe someone wrapped Nikki’s keys three times over the middle and three times over the side, and some hungry dog just ate them.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"This is a great, funny [listen] that women will love." —-Library Journal

Customer Reviews

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Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 150 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was really funny for the first few chapters then the humor fell off. I was disappointed as I kept reading because each chapter seemed more pointless and dry than the previous. The only reason I ended up actually finishing the book was because I held on to the hope it would get better, but it didn't. Overall the book is mediocre.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thank God I borrowed this book from the library and didn't waste one penny on it. After reading the reviews, I was really looking forward to this read. It sounded clever. I like clever. This was not clever. VERY disappointing. I like a good story about being drunk as much as the next person, but an entire book of stories about being fall-down drunk and smoking too much and poor me this and poor me that was too much whining for me. One star is being kind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was suckered into this book by its catchy title and enticing cover-- do not make the same mistake I did by buying this book. Aside from a few chuckles here and there, Notaro's stories fall into the 'it was funny at the time' category. Her tales of drunken stupors get tired really fast. The quality of writing is no better than average and the stories aren't all that interesting. The only thing good about this book is that it is a quick read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't even finish it and the only reason I tried so hard to is because I paid for it. Boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading some of the reviews and the biggest majority raved about the book,I would advice you to read the sample first.It was so bad I couldn't hardly get through it.What a disapointment.
barretthansen More than 1 year ago
There are maybe 3 stories in here that resonated with me, but frankly, the main theme appeared to be getting drunk and then doing stupid stuff. Wish I had passed. Nice writing, though.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I started to read it, I thought it would be awesome. Wrong. Filled with bodily functions & drunk tales, it starts to be boring and annoying.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I agree with the reviewer who said this book deserves less than a star. It is terrible. Ms. Notaro is completely undeserving of the positive press she has received for this book. She is a sub-average, trite 'writer'. It is a shame that this book has done so well since there are so many more deserving female authors out there who don't receive 1/100th of the publicity.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like original, funny and witty stories, then this is not the book for you. This book delivers a heaping dose of mundane writing, stereotypical gender roles, and absolutely no valuable insight into adult life. Notaro tries to emphasize her dorky and quirky aspects, but is neither charming or convincing in doing so. Her stories read much like those of a high school creative writing class taught by a substitute teacher. There are far too many captivating and intelligently funny books in this genre for Notaro's to make any waves.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book thinking that all the blurb made it look good. Yeah right. This book is TERRIBLE. The writing and grammer is bad. The book has no purpose. I feel that I wasted my money and guess what. I have only made it to the second chapter. I guess writing for a column does help sell books.
kayceel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very funny and a bit crass (admittedly, how i tend to enjoy my humor...), Notaro unabashedly pokes fun at herself and at her friends and family. So much of this reminded me of my friends - though we're all a bit more hygenically advanced than she seems to be...
amybrojo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fun collection of essays written by Laurie Notaro who grow up around the same time I did which made them ring true.
susiesharp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutely hilarious! This is Celia Rivenbark for the single girl with a little bit more of a foul mouth. With Chapter names like; Ashes to ashes, bones to dust, my mother always said underwear a must, or It smells like doody in here or The useless black bra and the stinkin¿-drunk twelve ¿step program .How could it not be funny!These are little short chapters of true to life stories like Waiting for the bug guy you finally give up on him take off your bra and tada there¿s someone at the door. I know I¿ve done this waiting on cable, electricians etc. get into comfortable clothes take off your make-up and then they show up. And then to meet the bug guy, Fred, I think he may be inhaling too many fumes!If you are looking for a great laugh out loud read I highly recommend this book/author. I listened to this on audio narrated by, Hillary Huber who does a great job her timing is spot on.4 Star
icedream on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another Notaro book that had me laughing so hard I was snorting. I definately belong to her Idiot's Girl Club and can only cringe and laugh at the hilarious situations the author would get into that hit a little to close to home with me (drink may have been involved).
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I didn't like this one much either. The author is whiney and drinks too much and is lazy. Am I morphing into a finger-pointing- crone?
sunfi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It was okay, she seemed to try really hard to be funny. There were some funny parts in it but I just don't find folks that do stupid things when they are drunk to be that funny. I would try another one of her books, maybe this one was just a bit off.
Pickle115 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is Laurie's first and ,in my opinion, best book. It is a series of hilarious essays about her life that only a true Idiot girl can fully appreciate. That's not to say that everyone else can't enjoy it too though. Fun, fast read that will leave you laughing out beware where you read it. ;-)
HELLOKITTYISPRETTY on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This chick cracks me up. I'd actually give it a 3.5 stars. Lots of experiences to relate too and she's just a great story teller. Its kind of like listening to your friend tell a story or complain about her dysfunctional life. Easy read and I'd definitely recommend.
katerbugg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
By far one of my all time favorite (along with relatable) book/memoir. Column writer, Laurie Notaro takes us on a journey throughout different experiences of her life. The book has all the qualities a book should have; Laurie also contains all the honesty and sarcasm a writer may need. Although scatterbrained, this book made me laugh. Not only from how Notaro describes her adventures; but by how easily I could find myself in these same scenarios, reacting the same way.
crazy4reading on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was given to me by one of my son's friends. She figured I would enjoy it because the woman is close to my age and some of the things she talks about I would understand. I did enjoy the book. Yet I wasn't as bad as her with some of her behaviors.Laurie is writing about her own personal experiences. Some are funny and some are just unbelievable. She talks about her drinking binges and her escapades that follow. The one time she gets pulled over because a woman is in her window yelling at her friend. She gets pulled over because she held up traffic and then is given a sobriety test. She fails yet she is sober. That is something I am always afraid of happening to me.I found the one story about the revenge of the bra girl very funny. I could just picture her yelling at the manager for yelling at the girls for talking while working. Sometimes management doesn't realize that people can multi-task.The book was entertaining and a nice book to read in between the longer books I have been reading.
ddenick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My favorite book of 2002 - it was biographically relevant :)
fusesburning on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I adored this book. It's fast-paced, quick-witted, and laugh-out-loud funny. If you have a fast-talking best friend who always turns a mundane story into the funniest thing you've ever heard, you will love this book.
Brookie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I have ever read. So funny, I was crying and had to stop reading and put the book down.
sarahnoid on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading about 2 pages of the book, I decided I want to have beers with Laurie Notaro. Or tequila. Or something. The book is hilarious. I had to stop reading it in public because people kept looking at me funny. After I got through two stories, I forced myself to stop reading, grab a pencil, and go back from the beginning, writing notes in the margins, underlining parts I liked best, inserting comments, etc. Once I finished, I sent the copy with marginalia to my best friend in San Diego. Since then, we've come up with a system. I write in all of Notaro's books and send them to her. Then she writes in them and send them to another friend. She does the same and sends the book on. We've kinda started our own Idiot Girls' round-robin with the books.Definitely worth it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was recommended by another memoir author whom I adore and it was a great ride!