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Fat and sassy 

It takes a certain kind of creativity to turn the standard aren't-men-rotten theme into something truly memorable. For every Bridget Jones's Diary there's Bridget Jones's Diary: The Edge of Reason, a badly Xeroxed copy of the original.

With Autobiography of a Fat Bride (Villard), Laurie Notaro has managed to tap into that creativity. From the beginning, when the author's hippie boyfriend is caught packing the car in the midst of fleeing their relationship, to the last few pages, when Notaro details a touching encounter with Tina Sinatra in the airport, there is hardly a moment when she's not making up for all the stereotypes that have been heaped upon the nearly done-to-death Chick Lit genre.

Based on first-person essays, Autobiography of a Fat Bride details Notaro's slow evolution from a chain-smoking, booze-soaked partier to a married suburban thirtysomething, caught up in the neighborhood battle of Christmas lights.

Like her first book, The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club, the writing is just as sharp. Her detailed exploits on preparing for her wedding are at times a little forced, but her afternoon auditioning for a Playboy centerfold (research for a writing assignment) more than makes up for the book's weak spots.

No one is spared in Notaro's book, not her friends, co-workers, family and certainly not her husband. The poor guy has every flaw tossed out for all to read. But in fairness, Notaro comes off as just as unhinged.

In Autobiography of a Fat Bride, there's no talk about Prada bags or Jimmy Choo shoes. Notaro comes off as slightly disheveled, more than a little crude, and anything but delicate -- almost the anti-hero of the Chick Lit set. Which is probably just what the genre needed.

Shelf Space is a weekly column on books and Atlanta's literary scene.

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