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When You Lie About Your Age, the Terrorists Win: Reflections on Looking in the Mirror Hardcover – March 10, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Villard (March 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345502965
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345502964
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,192,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Leifer uses her background in stand-up comedy to good effect in her collection of easy-to-read, column-length pieces that range from her finding her lesbian sexual identity at 40 (“If I don’t sleep with a woman soon, I think I’ll kill myself”) to her childhood disappointment at her dad’s “bargain” gift of a cheap Babblin’ Barbara doll instead of the A-list Chatty Cathy she yearned for. Babblin’ Babs was “a train wreck reeking of cheap Taiwanese sweatshop child-labor plastic . . . a speech-impaired whore . . . you didn’t want to play with as much as rush her to the emergency room.” Along the way she offers breezy observations on Jews celebrating Gentile holidays à la Jews for Jesus—“like vegans for Burger King”—and her heartfelt conversion to animal adoption that led to her current household of seven dogs, all rescues that have changed everything: “My life without loving animals is unimaginable to me now. It’s like living without air, without music.” All in all, Leifer presents a charming mix of outrageous fun shot through with poignant affirmation. --Whitney Scott


“This book reflects the wise, knowing person Carol has become, and the hysterically funny one she always was. I recommend it highly - its strong enough for a man...but made for a woman. I couldn’t put it down.”—Bill Maher

“These essays have stirred in me a foreign, disgusting and heretofore dormant urge to hug someone, in this case the author. If I become human as a result of reading this, so help me God I will sue her for every dollar she makes from this profound, insightful, and hilarious book.”—Larry David

“I discovered Carol Leifer at an open mike night in the late 70's on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  It didn't take me two seconds to realize how special her talent is.  (Two seconds, that's how good I am, by the way).   But she really has one of the most uniquely hilarious minds of anyone I've ever met.  We have worked together on countless projects.  If you have never heard how she thinks, this book is the perfect introduction.”—Jerry Seinfeld

“Deeply honest, inspiring, and funny. This is a book about the unpredictability of life and finding yourself that is written by a very, very funny woman. Read this now before it's made into a movie, so you can join me in saying, "I liked the book better!"
Trust me: I'm generally as accurate as Seinfeld. It's really a winner.”—Garry Shandling

“Carol and I go way back. I'm not exactly sure what that means but we've known each other for a long time. Here's what I know about Carol. She's funny, she's smart, she's kind and she's a good writer. You will find out all of those things for yourself when you read this book. I laughed, I cried, (but that's because I leaned back laughing and hit my head on the wall). I think you'll enjoy this book as much as I did-except for the part when I hit my head.”—Ellen DeGeneres

“You'll love this. It's the best book ever.”—Chris Rock

“Carol Leifer is one of the most sane funny folks around—her book is full of love light and laughter. Her take on the world will make u smile and warm your heart. So buy it already.”—Rosie O'Donnell

“Carol Leifer's book is the perfect antidote to aging. If laughter is the best medicine, then her writing is an amazing beauty treatment. It's like a clay mask for the soul.”—Margaret Cho

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More About the Author

Carol Leifer is an accomplished stand-up comedian and an Emmy-nominated writer and producer for her work on such television shows as Seinfeld, The Larry Sanders Show, Saturday Night Live, and the Academy Awards. She has starred in several of her own comedy specials, which have aired on HBO, Showtime, and Comedy Central. Her 'big break' came when David Letterman unexpectedly showed up one night at the Comic Strip in New York City and caught Carol's show. His visit led to her making twenty-five guest appearances on Late Night with David Letterman. Carol has also been seen on The Tonight Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. She starred in and created the WB sitcom Alright Already. She lives in Santa Monica with her partner, their son, and their seven rescue dogs.

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Customer Reviews

The book is intelligently written and, yes, very funny!
As I age and begin to wonder if my life will have any real impact any longer, I can't help but take solace from the wit and wisdom of Ms Leifer's insights.
J. Perry
This book is a must read for anybody who enjoys a good laugh.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Kornbluth TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
There are people who think Nora Ephron is funny. I am not among them, but taste is subjective --- my idea of a thigh slapper may be your idea of a bummer. Doesn't matter. What counts is only that we laugh.

Carol Leifer, I contend, is really funny. Funny in a way that Ms. Ephron isn't, for Ephron is an insider and an elitist, whereas Leifer has the common touch. That is, she comes from Long Island, her father was an optometrist, she grew up drinking frozen orange juice ("a quarter of the price and it's the same thing," her father insisted). She became the comic that her dad always wanted to be. Wrote for "Seinfeld", where she was known as "the real Elaine" (the character played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus). David Letterman adores her. (Odd fact: She bought, at auction, the handwritten notes that Michael Vick used in court when he apologized for his role in dogfighting.)

Carol Leifer, in a word, is funny like someone you know would be funny. Smart funny. Clever funny. But even more, funny in the heart --- funny like a really nice person is funny.

You see this right off, in a memorial piece about her father, who died, at age 86, watching "Sixty Minutes". On his birthday, she tells us in the first paragraph, she used to give him Godiva chocolate-covered nuts. "Big emphasis on the nuts," she explains. "Because, as he was not shy of saying as he unwrapped the cellophane to grab the first piece, `Creams? They're a waste of time.'" And with that, I felt: I know this man.

The nominal subject of her book is aging --- she was 50 when she wrote most of these pieces, and her father's death is no small event. She carries out her obligation to her nominal subject and, for example, does a good job of listing "40 Things I Know at 50".
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Memellow on March 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book after reading the title, and I couldn't stop laughing.

I'm 24, and even though the book is about getting older, I find Carol Leifer's observations to be timeless and useful to people of all ages. It sums up a common experience many women are going through, but it also offers a heads up for those of us who aren't there yet. Ms. Leifer is doing younger generations a favor by letting us know what to expect. The book is also a guidebook for guys who want to understand women better.

Ms. Leifer addresses several topics in the book including relationships, parenthood, pets, aging, and the loss of a parent. She is both honest and comical in her observations and she reminds us that there is no point in being anyone other than who we are.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Julie Klam on March 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have always been a huge fan of Carol Leifer's stand-up and tv writing so I am not surprised I LOVED this book. And let me just say, I don't usually like funny books, because sadly, they're often not funny. When You Lie About Your Age.... is brilliant. I only wish I had more stars to tack on.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Julie Peterson on July 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
WHEN YOU LIE ABOUT YOUR AGE, THE TERRORISTS WIN by Carol Leifer is not a book that I would normally read; but when I read all the praise surrounding this book, I thought I'd give it a try. Ellen Degeneres, Jerry Seinfeld, Garry Shandling, Chris Rock, Larry David, and Bill Maher all have blurbs on the back cover of this book. At the very least, I figured this book would have to be somewhat funny, right?

I have to admit that I didn't absolutely love this book -- it was just alright for me. The book was made up of more than 25 short essays on a variety of topics including plastic surgery, finding love, becoming a mother, and adopting pets. I was expecting to find a lot of humor in these essays (you know more like entertaining insights into regular life), but I found this book to mainly be Ms. Leifer's opinions (and strong ones at that) about her life.

Prior to this novel, I wasn't that familiar with Ms. Leifer as a stand-up comic or as a television show writer; and I'm thinking that might have been one of the reasons I didn't appreciate this book as much as some readers will. Of course, I am a fan of some of the shows she has worked on including Seinfeld and Saturday Night Live (and I won't swear that I haven't seen her do a little stand-up on some show), but I think not really "knowing" her might have made a difference in my ability to really care about her opinions.

I don't want to make it sound like I didn't find anything of value in this book because that's definitely not true. There were some really funny things in this book. And even though I have almost nothing in common with Ms. Leifer, I did find myself agreeing with her on some issues.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By NYC Music Lover on May 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I've been a big fan of Carol Leifer's ever since she first made her name as a standup comic. Having lived in New York City for over 30 years, I saw her many times at the Comic Strip and the Improv in the early days. Of course she made a bigger name for herself on TV, with several appearances on David Letterman as well as her own specials on Cable TV, and a very successful writing gig on the sitcom to end all sitcoms, "Seinfeld". But there is much more to her than punchlines. This wonderful book is part "How To" on aging gracefully, part coming-out story, and part memoir. It's all very engaging and REAL. Leifer truly seems like someone you'd like to hang out with on a Saturday afternoon. Her musings on coming out as a lesbian are surprisingly universal and will probably connect with anyone who's been "searching" for something missing in their life, even if they didn't know what it was they were missing. I found the stories about her late father particularly moving (as well as being truly funny) and enjoyed her very positive outlook on life. Face it, growing older is not easy, but it beats the alternative! If you have an open mind, an open heart and a sense of humor you will appreciate this breezy yet substantial book. Well done, Carol!
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