Monday, January 19, 2009

a review of There's a Slight Chance I Might Be Going To Hell

There's a (Slight) Chance I Might Be Going to Hell: A Novel of Sewer Pipes, Pageant Queens and Big Trouble By Laurie Notaro

If you are looking for a blog that is always entertaining....besides mine of could do worse than to mosy over to see what Michele at A Reader's Respite is up to. Well, the other day, in her always amusing 'Diversifying My Bookshelves' segment, she highlighted a book with a very amusing title and a very amusing cover. Yes, this book right here. And I thought “Hmmm...that looks familiar”. It was because I actually owned it! Never read it, but owned it. So, when there was some discussion in the comments, wondering if the book lived up to it's funny title, I volunteered to carefully removed it from the dangerous TTTBR (Tower of The To Be Read) and let you all know. A funny title does not necessarily make a funny book. But it certainly does in this case. “There's A (Slight) Chance I Might Be Going To Hell” is a very funny book. But more than that, it is a book with some great characters, a bit of a mystery, a great story and one that will keep you entertained from cover to cover.

First...the amusement factor. I would rate humor, be it in real life or in a book (there is a difference, right?) on a scale of one to five. Let's call it the Caite Comedy Calibration Computation.


1.Makes me smile.
2.Makes me my head. Sort of like the Voices.
3.Makes me chuckle.
4.Makes me actually laugh aloud.
5.Makes me laugh, so much so that tears come to my eyes. Makes me think about it and laugh again. Makes me want to explain to someone what is so funny. Makes people stare at me...again.

On that scale, this book is very often a solid 5. And just about always somewhere on the CCCC. Quite amusing indeed.

But this book is not just sort of stand-up routine taken to paper. No, there is also a very nice story as well.

Maye Roberts and her husband had grown up in Phoenix, met and married there and have a nice life and a lot of friends. Well, nice except the crack houses and streetwalkers in their neighborhood. Now, upon her husband's completion of graduate school, he has been offered a teaching job in the seeming charming town of Spaulding, Washington and off they and their dog Mickey go. A nice town, once the home of the world's largest sewer pipe factory, now more a college town with a lot of ex-hippies with rainbow painted houses, college folk and people seemingly obsessed with proper recycling. Poor Maye is really part of none of these groups and is having a terrible time making friends. Try she does, but the book group she joins turns out to be a witch's coven, who want her to dance nekked around a fire and let them give her a bath and burn a lock of her hair. She joins a group of nice vegans, until she is tossed for being seen eating a steak. Most likely because she is not a vegan. Her 'friend date' with a woman she meets at a bookstore ends..well, very badly. She makes quite a show at one of her husbands facility parties, involving a sweater, a very nasty hostess and partial, accidental nudity.
“At what point did I step into another dimension? Maye wondered as she did just that and headed straight for the bar. Is the chh chh chh hallway a portal to the David Lynch version of a work party? Is there a bottle that someone is passing around labeled “Drink Me?” Where are the midgets? If she passed into an alternate universe, there ought to be midgets, goddamn it, dressed as cops pirates, and little maids. The Spaulding living room is a Salvador Dali painting, she decided, and I must be a melting clock wearing a sweater depicting a Santa with no eyes in a sleigh pulled by rabbits. One thing for sure- should any rabbit materialize before her eyes, she would sure as shit follow it down any hole to get out of here, she told herself.”

She sees only one way out of her lonely dilemma, one way to make some friends and fit in and become liked in the community. To enter and win the annual Sewer Pipe Queen Pageant. Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. She needs a sponsor, an Old Queen to help whip her 'act' into winning form and when she used her skills from her previous occupation as a journalist to find the perfect Queen who can help her win..well, then things really start to happen and she runs into the aforementioned Big Trouble while making a very special and unlikely friend.
Don't miss the kitten juggling!

I know that this will most certainly not be the last book by Laurie Notaro that I will be reading!! If you are looking for a laugh, this is a fun book indeed.

Available From Amazon


  1. I love the CCCCs! Absolutely hysterical! Thanks for the review, Caite....looks like we found a winner here!

    Oh, and I'm putting a link up to your review in the original're awesome!

  2. Well, I want to read this one now. I can always use a good laugh.

  3. See! Sometimes you can judge a book by it's cover.

  4. my mom is always looking for a laugh-tastic book. too bad she was just at barnes and noble looking for something good and went with another sophie kinsella, typical. (hasn't she read them all yet!?) i think she'll get it soon.

  5. tell your mom I will bring it down to her if she wants..


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