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I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman Paperback – April 8, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
[Signature]Reviewed by Toni BentleyThe honest truth is that it's sad to be over sixty," concludes Nora Ephron in her sparkling new book about aging. With 15 essays in 160 pages, this collection is short, a thoughtful concession to pre- and post-menopausal women (who else is there?), like herself, who "can't read a word on the pill bottle," follow a thought to a conclusion, or remember the thought after not being able to read the pill bottle. Ephron drives the truth home like a nail in your soon-to-be-bought coffin: "Plus, you can't wear a bikini." But just as despair sets in, she admits to using "quite a lot of bath oil... I'm as smooth as silk." Yes, she is. This is aging lite—but that might be the answer. Besides, there's always Philip Roth for aging heavy.Ephron, in fact, offers a brief anecdote about Roth, in a chapter on cooking, concerning her friend Jane, who had a one-night stand, long ago, with the then "up-and-coming" writer. He gave Jane a copy of his latest book. "Take one on your way out," he said. Conveniently, there was a box of them by the front door. Ephron refuses to analyze—one of her most refreshing qualities—and quickly moves on to Jane's céleri remoulade.Aging, according to Ephron, is one big descent—and who would argue? (Well, okay—but they'd lose the argument if they all got naked.) There it is, the steady spiraling down of everything: body and mind, breasts and balls, dragging one's self-respect behind them. Ephron's witty riffs on these distractions are a delightful antidote to the prevailing belief that everything can be held up with surgical scaffolding and the drugs of denial. Nothing, in the end, prevents the descent. While signs of mortality proliferate, Ephron offers a rebuttal of consequence: an intelligent, alert, entertaining perspective that does not take itself too seriously. (If you can't laugh, after all, you are already, technically speaking, dead.) She does, however, concede that hair maintenance—styling, dyeing, highlighting, blow-drying—is a serious matter, not to mention the expense. "Once I picked up a copy of Vogue while having my hair done, and it cost me twenty thousand dollars. But you should see my teeth." Digging deeper, she discovers that your filthy, bulging purse containing numerous things you don't need—and couldn't find if you did—is, "in some absolutely horrible way, you." Ephron doesn't shy away from the truth about sex either, and confesses, though with an appropriate amount of shame, that despite having been a White House intern in 1961, she did not have an affair with JFK. May Ephron, and her purse, endure so she can continue to tell us how it goes. Or, at least, where it went. Toni Bentley is the author, most recently, of Sisters of Salome and The Surrender, an Erotic Memoir. She is writing about Emma, Lady Hamilton, for the Eminent Lives series.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Nora Ephron, best known for her screenplays When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and Silkwood and best sellers Heartburn and Crazy Salad, has written a sort of Ephron retrospective. Though humorously self-deprecating and poignant, critics agree that the essays, some published previously,are uneven. Readers may love "I Hate My Purse"unless they find it outdated. Other essays came off as vain, stale, or elitist in their carefree attitude toward luxury items. Only "Considering the Alternative" received uniform praise for its generous introspection. Despite the collection's lightweight feel, Ephron still writes "like someone who has something useful and important to tell her readers" (Los Angeles Times). "When your children are teenagers," for example, "it's important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you."
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
She says that there are so many books out there about what to do after menopause etc, but none addressed your neck change as you age so she thought this was a cute and funny title.
She talks about maintenance being a second career because a lot of women are pre-empting age. For example, hair dying, botox etc. She talks about her husbands theory of women either being birds, muffins or horses and that is the shape of your face. If you are a muffin, you can have a zillion face lifts and be fine, but other shaped faces - not so much.
She talks more seriously about reaching 60 and start loosing friends. You have to come to grips with reality and realise that we aren't invincible and won't die - it's getting closer to being on the cards.
She also mentions things she wishes she'd known; You can't be friends with people who call after 11pm, Write everything down, Back up your files etc. She's very funny (a very dry sense of humour) and it shows through this book. It's a good read that is sometimes serious but overall will be thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining. If you are a fan of her movies, you will definately love I Feel Bad About My Neck ...
Ephron writes about so many of the problems we women face: hairstyles, maintenance routines, raising children, empty nesting, reading glasses, cooking, purses, living in New York City, aging, and the death of good friends. Some of her observations are brutally honest. She talks about how a neck is a telltale sign of aging. "The neck is a dead giveaway. Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth. You have to cut open a redwood tree to see how old it is, but you wouldn't have to do that if it had a neck." She has a refreshing list of "What I Wish I'd Known" including "Never marry a man you wouldn't want to be divorced from" and "The empty nest is underrated."
I' m not real big on make-up routines, I wear glasses all the time and love my poker-straight hair. So some of her musings I found funny but didn't necessarily relate. But where Ephron and I see eye to eye is about reading. "Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person." One of my favorite chapters is "On Rapture," about the state of rapture she feels when she discovers a good book. She also lists some books that changed her life. The chapters where she discusses reading are the best in the book.
I Feel Bad About My Neck got raves from most of the book critics that reviewed this book. While I enjoyed it, I just was expecting more from Ephron.