I’ve been vaguely familiar with Tig Notaro for the last few years, but mostly as a writer on Inside Amy Schumer, and as the comic who announced her breast cancer at a stand up show. I had no idea that in the four months prior to her breast cancer diagnosis in 2012, that Notaro also almost died from Clostridium difficile (C. diff), lost her mother in a freak accident, and went through a break up. I’m Just a Person tells the story of that year, and how Notaro coped (or didn’t) with those events.
I listened to the audio version, which Notaro delivered with her typical deadpan style. She talks a bit about her childhood, mostly her difficulty with school, and her troubled relationship with her hard-partying mother and strict stepfather. She then fast forwards to her C. diff diagnosis, her mother’s death (following a blow to the head when she tripped over an end table), her break up with her girlfriend and her diagnosis of stage 2 breast cancer (which forced her to have a double mastectomy). She also talks about her work during that time, and her relationship with her stepfather and brother following the death of her mother.
The humor is suitably dark for the material, and Notaro doesn’t shy away from the gory details of her physical and mental health. One thing that surprised me, however, was how much seemed to gloss over her relationship with her mother and stepfather. She does say quite clearly at the beginning that her mother always came across as super fun to anyone who wasn’t her child — Notaro spent much of her early childhood hunting down her mother at bedtime, or fending for herself. But towards the end she mentions how fractured her relationship with her mother was, and I feel like there’s a lot more history that she simply skimmed over.