From Publishers Weekly
Fans of Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman
will find humor along with serious insights about women and aging in Barreca's latest challenge to women to stop obsessing over hymens, husbands, and hangnails and once again direct our attention outward to the larger issues of... the creation of genuinely significant opportunities for women in all workplaces. But Barreca (Perfect Husbands & Other Fairy Tales
) is more about laughs than lecturing, as she addresses the mysteries of finding the perfect bra, the indignities of bathing suit shopping at TJ Maxx, her relationship with her hair and the Fifty-two Things I Learned by Fifty-one. Along the way, she points out what she considers to be the insipid concerns of holiday preparations or what exactly women may consider to be a waste of time (Why, oh why, didn't I organize my closet according to color and texture of garment?). Between the snappy observations, Barreca takes an opportunity to liken the progression of contemporary feminist thought to a car accident—it's not so much that we're in a backlash as we're in a whiplash. (May)
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While some may debate whether Barreca’s collection of short essays are painfully funny or humorously painful, many will agree these eminently readable pieces will have people laughing out loud, then sighing thoughtfully. Her observations as a 50-ish woman focus on life’s sexual inequities: “If women had tufts growing from our noses and ears, men would bring exorcists to the house. . . . Professionals to drive the evil spirits from our bodies.” And on the subject of age: “Once we hit forty, women have only about four taste buds left: one for vodka, one for wine, one for cheese, and one for chocolate.” Using the first-person plural, she chronicles all-too-common collective foolishness: “Almost no woman would treat any of her acquaintances as poorly as she treats herself.” Many readers, especially women, will enjoy, discuss, and reread this quick, breezy work of commentary, a book that stirs up dust long after its covers are closed. --Whitney Scott