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I Feel Bad About My Neck, And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

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With her disarming, intimate, completely accessible voice, and dry sense of humor, Nora Ephron shares with us her ups and downs in "I Feel Bad About My Neck," a candid, hilarious look at women who are getting older and dealing with the tribulations of maintenance, menopause, empty nests, and life itself.

The woman who brought us "When Harry Met Sally"..., "Sleepless in Seattle", "You've Got Mail", and "Bewitched," and the author of best sellers "Heartburn," "Scribble Scribble," and "Crazy Salad," discusses everything -from how much she hates her purse to how much time she spends attempting to stop the clock: the hair dye, the treadmill, the lotions and creams that promise to slow the aging process but never do. Oh, and she can't stand the way her neck looks. But her dermatologist tells her there's no quick fix for that.

Ephron chronicles her life as an obsessed cook, passionate city dweller, and hapless parent. She recounts her anything-but-glamorous days as a White House intern during the JFK years ("I am probably the only young woman who ever worked in the Kennedy White House that the President did not make a pass at") and shares how she fell in and out of love with Bill Clinton - from a distance, of course. But mostly she speaks frankly and uproariously about life as a woman of a certain age.

Utterly courageous, wickedly funny, and unexpectedly moving in its truth telling, "I Feel Bad About My Neck" is a book of wisdom, advice, and laugh-out-loud moments, a scrumptious, irresistible treat.

139 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2006

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About the author

Nora Ephron

72 books2,060 followers
Nora Ephron was an American journalist, film director, producer, screenwriter, novelist, and blogger.

She was best known for her romantic comedies and is a triple nominee for the Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay; for Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally... and Sleepless in Seattle. She sometimes wrote with her sister, Delia Ephron.

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5 stars
16,692 (25%)
4 stars
23,996 (35%)
3 stars
18,905 (28%)
2 stars
5,541 (8%)
1 star
1,576 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,356 reviews
Profile Image for Roxane.
Author 118 books157k followers
July 1, 2012
This was such a charming book. Aging is clearly very fraught and the sharp wit of the essays in this book is quite wonderful.
Profile Image for Carol.
829 reviews483 followers
February 10, 2017
Sometimes it takes a friend to get you to read a book. I Feel Bad About My Neck has been on my physical bookshelves for years. I’d look at it and look at my neck and think, “Do you really want to read this book?” I’ve got six friends on GR with the beautiful name of Julie but it was the clever one that wanted to be certain to stand out, the Julie preceded by a flower, that finally gave me the push to read this book. Thank you.

Heartburn, published in 1983 was my first encounter with Nora Ephron. I remember this as a funny, romantic read. Though humor is subjective Ephron’s sense of mirth is fine with me. Never having read any of her other books I certainly am familiar with her films, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle,, and You’ve Got Mail. There are many others.

Though I don’t feel bad about my neck anymore many other things have taken its place. Who knew I should worry about the purse I carry, varicose veins, coloring my hair, manicures, pedicures, the food I serve, my skin, and the dreaded post-menopausal hair, especially the bounty of this growing above my lips.

This was the perfect book for a dreary, rainy day. I Feel Bad About My Neck lightened my mood and reminded me how great it is to be a woman, turtleneck and all.

A special voice is gone as Nora Ephron passed away in 2012 but her talent lives on. Treat yourself to one of her books or a movie for which she was the screenwriter, producer or director. Have a good laugh in honor of one classy woman.

Profile Image for Beli_grrl.
60 reviews6 followers
August 29, 2007
I listened to the audio book on CD, which is read by the author. That was not the way to go with this one. She has odd inflections and an unnatural reading cadence. For example, she might read like this:

We lived (pause)
in a white house (pause)
and I didn't (pause)
like it.

Partly because of her reading style and partly because of the content, I had trouble getting into it. It's supposed to be funny but isn't especially. She describes all the "maintenance" older women do to keep up their appearances at great length and talks about these things as if they are mandatory, when in fact, they are not. She is not a person that a poor, blue-collar woman like me who shops at Target can well relate to. At least not at first. For instance, she talks about the agony of sitting at the beauty parlor all day to get her hair colored and how she spends more money on it each year than her first car cost. And I compose an imaginary email to her in my head where I turn her on to the beauty aisle at Long's Drug Store where you can buy a box of color that takes less than half an hour to use for less than $10.

Later in the book, however, she rather wins me over. She describes the raptures of getting engrossed in a great novel in a way that I (or you, I bet) could totally relate to. The real world is tedious and seems unreal when you're dying to get back to your book. When she's not talking about shopping, she and I do seem to inhabit the same planet and I can see that she has some wisdom to impart.

And I admire her honesty. She mentions all the upbeat chicken-soup-for-the-soul type of books that are out there for older women and says they're full of crap. Being old isn't that great. In this day and age where everyone pretends that whatever age they're at is the new 25, it's refreshing.

This might appeal to a woman who is looking for some light nonfiction to read. Do NOT get the audio version, though. I really think it would have been a totally different experience to read it and I probably would have taken to it much more quickly.
Profile Image for Laysee.
500 reviews233 followers
February 5, 2022
Every now and then, I need a book that makes me laugh. It became even more imperative when I was wading knee-deep in the philosophical maze in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Each chapter in this collection of humorous essays served as a refreshing palette cleanser when I needed lighter fare.

This is my first acquaintance with Nora Ephron (1941 – 2012), an American journalist, writer, and award-winning filmmaker. I was thrilled to learn that she wrote the screenplay for two movies I loved: ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and ‘Sleepless in Seattle.’ I most appreciated these essays for giving me a glimpse of the person behind the writer. Her tone was candid, disarming, and charming.

The thrust of these personal essays is on aging and the indignities women suffer when they are no longer looking their best. The eponymous title story is a grand introduction to a problem any women past their prime will find relatable. ”We all look good for our age. Except for our necks.” According to Ephron’s dermatologist, ”the neck starts to go at forty-three, and that’s that.” Oh help!

With self-deprecating good cheer, Ephron regaled us with anecdotes of her life, crises, and challenges. She told us unabashedly about her failed marriages, divorce, and the horrors of parenting. She shared the inspiration behind her first job as a journalist and then as a writer. A chapter I greatly enjoyed, titled ‘Rapture’, extolled the joy of reading. I learned about her most rapture-inducing book, which I must now read. I was amazed at how much honesty there was in these stories and I nodded in appreciation. A hilarious chapter, ‘I Hate My Purse’, sent such a shock of recognition, I promptly re-organized mine.

Below are snippets I enjoyed:
‘I Feel Bad About My Neck’
“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 if it had a neck.”

“Your adolescent has changed… And you have changed too. You have changed from a moderately neurotic, fairly cheerful human being to an irritable, crabby, abused wreck.”

“The worrying is forever.”

The Story of My Life in 3,500 Words or Less
“I can’t get over this aspect of journalism. I can’t believe how real life never lets you down. I can’t understand why anyone would write fiction when what actually happens is so amazing.”

What I Wish I’d Known
”Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of thirty-five you will be nostalgic for at the age of forty-five.”

Considering the Alternative
‘Why do people write books that say it’s better to be older than to be younger? It’s not better.

I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman is a fun read. I dare say the gentlemen may like it, too, though I doubt they ever have to worry about their necks. I have to admit, I do.
Profile Image for Cyrus.
8 reviews3 followers
February 22, 2015
I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a [Rich White] Woman [Living in a Bubble of Privilege on the Upper East Side]

I like Nora Ephron (her politics, movies, etc), and I really wanted to enjoy this book. But it's painfully dull, and her "witty insights" are bland/overtrodden enough to make Andy Rooney seem cutting edge.

Worse yet, many of her complaints are offensively tone-deaf to the realities most people face.
- Nora Ephron sees a homeless woman on the street? Time to complain at length about the price of her weekly hair and nail appointments, and joke that she's just a few missed beauty treatments away from becoming a "bag lady". (Kinda horrifying that a feminist icon would completely ignore — and hell, mock — the humanity of a homeless woman).
- Ephron gets surgery done by one of the world's best surgeons? Time to complain about how she wishes she'd had her plastic surgeon present to help avoid a small scar.
- NY passes law changing rent-control regulations? Time to complain about how her salary, which exceeds the new $250,000 threshold set by the new law, means the rent will increase on her 7-room Manhattan apartment.

The last third of the book is tolerable; she's best when writing about death, the joy of reading, or reminiscing about her days as a young woman in sexist work environments. But it's not enough to overcome the book's overall flaws. In short, these are the ramblings of an old rich person complaining about old rich person problems.
Profile Image for Emily B.
426 reviews421 followers
October 7, 2021
3.5 rounded up.
This book is witty for sure and relatable at times but not always. An easy light read for me.
Profile Image for ❀Julie.
96 reviews83 followers
December 10, 2016
I was so sad for this book to come to an end.  I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Nora Ephron herself, which I so enjoyed because it was in such an amusing tone that no other narrator could have captured.  There were numerous wise and funny lines throughout that had me constantly rewinding...just so I could hear them again.   I hadn’t heard of her books until she passed away, and although I was drawn to this catchy title, I don’t think I could have fully appreciated it at that time since I wasn’t quite “feeling bad about my neck”...yet.  But I could still relate to a lot just being a woman and a mother.  Not all of her essays were on aging, nor could I relate to them all, but I loved every single one of them, because her candid telling and dry sense of humor made them enjoyable.   Learning about her career, marriages, mothering, life in New York City, favorite foods, and the wit with which she dealt with such things was fascinating to me.  I laughed hysterically when she described the state of her disheveled purse--how she managed to describe my own purse had me in tears.  I loved her essay on “Rapture”, describing how the books she loved transported her to another world.  I could so relate, even to some of the books and authors she loved.  I felt a sense of melancholy many times, especialy the way she talked about her life and her age, and it made me sad that she died.  It was deeply affecting to me when she “danced around the ‘D’ word”, talking about the loss of her friends later in life and how there was nothing to be done about it.  Definitely makes one think about life.  5 stars and I’ll be listening to this again, possibly with a scarf around my neck.
Profile Image for Kelli.
850 reviews395 followers
May 2, 2017
It's been a rough couple years...I mean days. I grabbed this book off the shelf in the library and sat behind my son as he played some cartoony anatomy game wherein he places organs in the correct spot on a very happy looking skeleton (even though I have noted several key organs are simply not there...but I digress.). Anyway, I really had to leave the library because I was cracking up. This collection of essays includes some that are very funny and some that are less so but I had several laugh out loud moments in the few hours it took to read this book. There were some seriously funny comments and that is about all I was looking for. My favorite feeling is when my stomach hurts from laughing. Mission accomplished! A light, fun read. 3.5 stars

Update: I have thought of this book so often over the past few months...mainly because I seem to have "tech neck," which is the deep groove from always looking down at phones & iPads. I insist mine is from reading books, but nonetheless lately I can truly relate!
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,346 reviews4,864 followers
August 11, 2021

Multi-talented Nora Ephron was a journalist, director, and author. In her heyday Ephron wrote the screenplays for some very popular movies including 'Julie and Julia', 'You've Got Mail', 'Sleepless in Seattle', 'When Harry Met Sally', and 'Silkwood.'

Nora Ephron

This audiobook - read by the author - contains a collection of humorous essays written when Ephron was 60 years old...and stopped having birthdays. In fact Ephron notes that, upon publication of this book, she'll have been 60 for five years (ha ha ha 😊).

As might be expected, many of the essays touch on the subject of aging. The book's title, for instance, refers to the fact that 'older ladies' in Ephron's circle always wear turtlenecks or scarves to hide those crepey necks. (I think this is an exaggeration but I get the idea.)

Ephron's semi tongue-in-cheek description of her maintainance regime includes regular coloring sessions at the hairdresser followed by bi-weekly blowouts, frequent manicures and pedicures, a rigorous exercise schedule, constant dieting, botox injections, bath oils, and endless containers of expensive lotions for specific parts of the body (hands, face, feet, etc.) - which must NEVER cross over. All this is costly and time-consuming...but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to keep from looking like the bag lady on the corner.

Ephron lovingly describes her large rent-controlled apartment in Manhattan's Apthorp building, which was close to every kind of store, hairdresser, nail salon, restaurant, etc. that a person could want - as well as a playground for the kids. Ephron lived in this heavenly residence for many years until - with the end of rent control - the rent was set to rise to $12,000 a month. Wow!

Apthorp Building

In another entertaining story Ephron speaks about her dismay when cabbage strudel disappeared from Manhattan restaurants and bakeries. Ephron was an excellent cook who - like the character in 'Julie and Julia' - worked her way through much of Julia Child's cookbook. However, hard as she tried, Ephron couldn't reproduce the strudel. The writer goes to great lengths, and even consults friends in high places, to try to find this savory delight. Does she succeed? You'll have to read the book to know.

Cabbage Strudel

Ephron was an intern in President John F. Kennedy's White House and - inspired by one of Kennedy's blabby flings - tells the 'true story' of her relationship with the handsome politician. She also talks about her 'love affair' with Bill Clinton. Nothing scandalous...I don't want to start any rumors. LOL. 😊

John F. Kennedy

Bill Clinton

Other essays mention Ephron's discomfort with aging, her numerous marriages, her kids, her career, her celebrity neighbors, and her sadness when her best friend became ill and died.

Complete honesty: The book lags in places and the author's narrating style - slow with odd emphases - is a little distracting.

The essays are aimed at metropolitan 'women of a certain age', but many people would probably enjoy the book. I'd recommend it to readers who want an entertaining light read.

You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
Profile Image for Carole.
489 reviews109 followers
July 31, 2020
I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron is an audiobook read by the author. This is my second reading and it seems that I have enjoyed it more than I did the first time. Could it be that I am now at an age closer to the author’s? Ephron’s humor is as sharp as ever and listening to her had me nodding my head in agreement with many of her ways of looking at life in the midlife lane. The same wit that we enjoyed in her movies is present in this book. Because this is an audiobook, I had the pleasure of listening to a voice like no other: her tone makes her views so serious and yet so comical. Nora Ephron, you are missed, especially in these so unfunny times. Highly recommended.
337 reviews8 followers
September 3, 2011
I have to say I'm a little baffled by Nora Ephron. She was in intern in the JFK White House and had a free pass to roam its halls. She was a reporter at Newsweek in the 1960's, before they even had female reporters. She's been married three times. One of her husbands was Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Bernstein of the Watergate scandal. And when he had an affair it wasn't just with any old woman, but with the wife of the British ambassador to the United States. She's been nominated for three academy awards for screenwriting (Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally, and Sleepless in Seattle). She also directed those films.

Her accomplishments are staggering. Impressive for any woman of any era, but harder for her certainly, in those times. The sexism alone she must have faced -- at a hard NY newspaper, in the even harder boys club of Hollywood -- had to have been outrageous.

Then why are her essays so flip and shallow? So elitist? Ephron has a dry wit that I find quite pleasing. But the topics? "I Hate my Purse." "I Feel Bad about my Neck." Gah! Vapid and trivial.

I mean, this woman should have some shit to say! Too bad she didn't say any of it.
Profile Image for Glenn Sumi.
404 reviews1,536 followers
October 16, 2020

I've now read all five of Nora Ephron's non-fiction collections, and this one is my favourite.

It's deeper and more personal than anything else she wrote, except perhaps for a couple of pieces in her last, and (IMO) most uneven book, I Remember Nothing. Perhaps it's because in 2006, the same year this book came out, she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, and it forced her to look inward and to take stock of her eventful life.

The book begins with the title essay, written with the same kind of frank honesty that characterized A Few Words About Breasts," the 1972 essay that helped make her name in journalism. This time she's talking about why and how so many women her age cover up their unsightly necks. It's candid and devastatingly funny – all without an ounce of self-pity.

Elsewhere, she discusses why she hates purses (which, if memory serves, made its way into the play Love, Loss, And What I Wore, co-written with her sister Delia), all the maintenance that's required to look decent, and what it's like to be blind without reading glasses.

These are all written in Ephron's signature style: witty, wise, read-aloud-to-your-friends funny. (I should point out that these pieces are relatable whether you're a woman, man or non-binary. Everyone has some sort of bag they haul around, and we all try to look our best as we get older, even though it's an uphill battle.)

Then she gets more serious. A piece on raising children is infused with heartbreak. An essay on living with and then moving out of a fabulous rent-stabilized apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side is structured as if she's recounting a love affair. And a couple of political pieces – on being an intern during the JFK years and on falling out of love with Bill Clinton – are very clever.

And then there's a group of essays that are phenomenal. One synopsizes her life "in 3,500 Words or Less." Since she's done so many things, it's worth studying for the wisdom in its pared-down prose. Another is about her total love of getting lost and immersed in books; this one's a keeper and will be of special interest to Goodreaders. And the two final essays, "What I Wish I'd Known" and "Considering the Alternative," deal head on with mortality. Some of her writing here made me laugh and cry in the same sentence.

I don't often take baths, but when I do, I'm going to take the advice Ephron gives in the book's final sentences and just luxuriate in the experience. And God (or whomever) willing, I'm going to reread passages from this book for years to come.


Here are my reviews of Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women and Scribble Scribble: Notes on the Media
Profile Image for Brittany (whatbritreads).
586 reviews1,054 followers
November 28, 2020
This is hands down my biggest disappointment of 2020. Thank god it was only 200 pages and I could just power through in one sitting because it left such a sour taste in my mouth. Just didn’t vibe with this at all. It’s described as funny, feminist and a must read but I didn’t get any of that from this. Ephron has a talent for writing, sure, but that’s about it.

These essays held no substance for me. It was just very off topic ramblings of a rich white woman. It wasn’t relatable, only a handful of sentences were funny, and it didn’t feel very feminist. Honest to god I actually found myself bored halfway through reading this. Full of random celeb name drops and talking about how much money she has and prices of things and blah blah blah.

I’m a tad concerned nobody in these reviews has also highlighted the racism in this book? I mean she literally says she gets lip fillers, then describes herself as looking like a member of an African tribe so she never wants to do that again. Like???? Here:

“Once I even had my lips plumped up with a fat injection, but I looked like a Ubangi, so I never did it again.”

Add to this – saying she’s never seen Asian people have bad hair and she wishes she were Asian and dragging down the physical appearance of a homeless lady. Unnecessary quips that just makes me really dislike the person writing it. Bleurgh.

If you want no-so-engaging discussion of ageing, handbags, cookbooks, divorce and relationships go for it. But I wouldn’t recommend.
Profile Image for Sana.
105 reviews60 followers
January 11, 2022
باید بگم من عاشق نورا افرون هستم. نورا فیلمنامه های جولی و جولیا ، شما یک نامه (ایمیل)دارید. رو نوشته.
این مجموعه داستان‌ها مدتهاست دوست داشتم بخونمشون که بالاخره خوشحالم از اینکه خوندمشون.
این مجموعه در مورد کیف،روابط،آپارتمان،تربیت فرزندان،مرگ و زندگی که در قالب طنز نوشته شده به جز داستان آخر
پیشنهاد میکنم حتما بخونین 📚💛
Profile Image for Sue Cook.
11 reviews3 followers
September 5, 2012
The thing is this. Nora and I are not sisters.
In "On Maintenance": "When and how did it happen that you absolutely had to have a manicure?" er, never? I also don't care that much about make up or matching handbags or wrinkles. I JUST REALLY DON'T CARE.
What I care about is women being raped, beaten up, paid less,not let in, talked down to and generally fucked over because they are women.
"I Feel Bad About My Neck" adopts a universal voice but talks only about a sliver of privileged society. It is feminism-lite, faux solidarity. Don't mistake it for anything serious.

However I did read it so it beats Hemingway and gets 2 stars. #shootin'atstars

revised rating - another star
I think I must have been in an exceedingly bad mood when I read this first time. I read it again yesterday and found much more in it. I still don't have time for the handbags or makeup crap but I found a lot to like about women's friendships, in particular the notion of "one away" (read the book); the section on parents and adolescents is very funny; but this, on heartbreak, was my stand-out : "I fly to NY to see my shrink. I walk into her office and burst into tears. I tell her what my husband has done to me. I tell her my heart is broken. I tell her I'm a total mess and I will never be the same. I can't stop crying. She looks at me and says, "You have to understand something. You were going to leave him eventually."
Profile Image for Bianca.
1,046 reviews902 followers
February 11, 2022
Ephron had a very interesting life, she was quite accomplished.

I liked this collection of essays. Certain aspects about ageing, purses and a few other things were very on point.
Some essays were more mundane. I occasionally cringed when she bemoaned having to go shopping by herself wondering how do people who have to do it all the time accomplish anything.

This was what I call an "untaxing" read, which is what I was after. I expected it to be slightly funnier.
Profile Image for Reese.
163 reviews62 followers
June 6, 2011
Sitting in a movie theater back in the eighties, not my eighties -- the 1980s, I am smiling, laughing, just having a good ol' time when suddenly TERMS OF ENDEARMENT goes from funny to ominous to dark as turds that can signal upper g.i. bleeding. I'm thinking, "Shit, no, don't take this story there." I'm not walking out of a movie with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson in it; that fact means watching a character who's about my age die of cancer. She's got three young kids; I have one and one baking in the pelvic oven. The film deserves praise, but I AM PISSED.

We're way past the 1980s; I look as if I could be eighty, and I turn to Nora Ephron to entertain me. Her work (forget HEARTBURN) usually does, and the first chapter doesn't disappoint me. Most of the middle chapters are forgettable even if you have a terrific memory, so I start to anticipate writing a review that is somewhere between neutral and unfavorable(2 stars). But I reach the essay "The Story of My Life in 3,500 Words or Less," and I find material so closely related to remarks I made just hours ago that -- surprise -- I'm liking this book again. Then with only a few stops left before this train reaches "the end of the line," I smell a "terms-of-endearment" experience on the tracks. Well, not quite. Besides, I'm not young and pregnant; so even if the author leaves me in an unlit underground station, the image of Debra Winger in a hospital bed won't be with me. I am actually GLAD that the final two chapters of the book offer an interesting combination of sunshine and charcoal-gray clouds. And despite my lousy memory, I can hold on to lines such as "The empty nest is underrated"(125); "Never let them know"(126); and "I don't know. I hope that's clear"(136). About that last one -- if Nora Ephron and I knew each other, I'd swear she was quoting me.
Profile Image for Darlene.
259 reviews87 followers
April 21, 2021
Award-winning journalist and screenwriter Nora Ephron spills about her daily life, her battle with aging and how she and her friends ward off the passage of time, children and parenting in an age of ever more parental involvement, and other nuggets of wisdom she accumulated along the way.

I'm afraid that saying how unrelatable Ephron's daily life is to me is admitting how low-maintenance I really am. Honestly, I spent this entire book wondering how she ever actually got anything done.

She writes candidly about her beauty regimen which seemed to consist of several hours every week at one salon or another in addition to a couple of hours of daily at home with various moisturizers, creams, lotions, and oils. On top of this, she often spent hours in the kitchen trying the latest cooking fad, and more hours pouring through parenting books and practicing what the current gurus told her she should be doing on that front as well.

I was exhausted just reading about her routine. There were funny moments, but it seemed more sad overall. I was glad the book was short because I don't think I could have taken more than those 137 pages of the author doggedly following the latest fads for every aspect of her life. I hope she was exaggerating, but I got the feeling she was not. I can't help but look at this book as a cautionary tale of how not to live one's life.
Profile Image for Sue.
613 reviews24 followers
August 27, 2011
For most of you who are my Goodreads friends, you will be too young to really appreciate the humor in this book -- after all, you still have firm, unwrinkled necks which you have probably never even given a single thought. BUT take my word for it, someday you will. And then, you should run right out and find a copy of this book. (Perhaps you can find one cheap in the garage sales that members of my generation will be having as we downsize into assisted living apartments!) Anyway, when it comes to the realities of middle-age, it's always better to laugh than to cry, and this book will make you LOL. (There, I'm using a texting acronym. Do I seem younger now?)
Profile Image for Lain.
Author 13 books120 followers
December 1, 2007
Nora Ephron is, hands-down, one of the funniest women in America. Her novels, movies, and essay collections have brought me to tears by way of laughter more than once. That's why I was a bit disappointed by this collection of essays, loosely tied around the topic of aging.

The essays on aging were amusing, but not particularly funny or fresh. It was like eating a day-old doughnut -- still tasty, but probably not worth all the calories. The weird thing -- her non-age-related essays were brilliant. The piece on her love affair with her apartment was a treasure, as was the one about her life in 3500 words or less. I almost felt like her agent or publisher told her she needed to write about getting old, so she did lip service to the topic but snuck in "other stuff" that in actuality is the best part of the book.

If you're an Ephron fan, check it out. Not as great as "Scribble Scribble," but still worth a read.
Profile Image for Negin.
613 reviews151 followers
October 4, 2015
I love Nora Ephron and wish that she was still alive so that I could continue to enjoy her witty and funny style of writing. Funny is something that I seem to crave these days. This is only her second book that I’ve read. It’s a quick read and a particularly enjoyable one.

Every parent should read her chapter “Parent in Three Stages”. I desperately needed that!
Profile Image for Karen.
574 reviews1,118 followers
February 20, 2022
I listen to the audiobook, narrated by Nora.
15 essays.
Mostly about women’s issues with aging.
She writes about her love of New York, also.. her marriages, and career.
Quite humorous!
I enjoyed it!
Profile Image for Praveen.
153 reviews281 followers
June 5, 2023
Some books should be read without any conjecture, especially when you feel bad about your neck.
As the neck is an important organ in reading. Reading a bulky book while sitting in the same posture for a longer duration can take hold of your neck!

How long can you keep your neck bent on a bulky book?
A light book will work as a remedy in such a case. Like this. It will have a calming effect on your reading habits and on your necks too!

"Oh the necks. There are chicken necks. There are turkey gobbler necks. There are elephant necks. There are necks with wattles and necks with creases that are on the verge of becoming wattles. There are scrawny necks and fat necks, loose necks, crepey necks, banded necks, wrinkled necks, stringy necks, saggy necks, flabby necks, mottled necks."

The book is a collection of 15 essays by the author, which are written in a light and jubilant mood.

She talks about the case of her neck in the first essay, then she says that she hates her purse and writes for women whose purses are a morass of loose Tic Tacs, solitary Advils, lipstick without tops, Chapstics of unknown vintage, and so on. Talks about her insane culinary episodes. Talks about the maintenance of hair, hairdryer, and nails. She says in one of the essays that at the lowest point of her adult life she had been rescued by a building, talking about her days when she shifted from Newyork to Washington D.C., and in one essay she writes the story of her life in less than 3500 words. She also talks about her connection with JFK.

These essays are her intimate personal account, her views, and her changing worldview with aging.

I recommend it for having a light reading experience!

Not a bad book! Keep Expectations low though, in the beginning.
Profile Image for Kristijan.
216 reviews67 followers
May 8, 2015
"Osećam se loše zbog svog vrata" sam kupio (svojevremeno na nekoj Deretinoj akciji na kojoj je dotična knjiga bila na neverovatnom popustu) prvenstveno kao posledicu ponovljenog gledanja skoro pa kultnog filma "When Harry Met Sally".
Iako je tekst na koricama obećavao kako će Norin humor da razoruža čitaoca i da će postojati momenti kada će se čitaoci smejati na sav glas - ti momenti su kod mene izostali. Bilo je momenata kada su se usne blago izvile u neki poluosmeh (ili je to možda bio grč jer je na momente Efronova brutalno direktna) ali njen humor je ipak previše suv za mene...
Nema one dvosmislenosti i "prpošnosti" iz WHMS i ne mogu a da ne ostanem pomalo razočaran...
Ima tu interesantnih misli/eseja ali ipak nije dovoljno za više od dve zvezdice.
Profile Image for leah.
283 reviews1,897 followers
September 9, 2022
read this during my lunch breaks at work and actually really enjoyed it. i only know the basics about nora ephron (e.g. the films she's worked on), but i'll definitely be checking out more of her work after this. nora ephron era potentially incoming.
Profile Image for Malbadeen.
613 reviews7 followers
September 12, 2010
Here's the thing, I would've never listened to this book if it weren't for the fact that years ago I gifted it to someone in those last few moments of Christmas-oh-shit-I-forgot-to-buy-that-person-a-gift hysteria.

I was married at the time and was, by default, put in charge of figuring out what EVERYONE should be given. My mother-in-law and I had a so-so relationship. I mean she did accuse me of purposely putting pins in her bed when she stayed the night and got poked a few times with left over remnants of my latest creative pursuits, and we weren't exactly the lets-get-a-manicure-together type but she did tell me she loved me once (which caught me so off guard that all I could muster in my shocked state was an awkward, "thank you").

Sooooooo, I saw this book on audio, new she had a long drive home on Christmas, vaguely recognized the name Nora Ephron (honestly I think I kind of sort of confused her with Erma Bombeck), read that is was supposed to be funny and grabbed it. who doesn't like to laugh, right? Had I thought about it for 2.2 seconds it would have occurred to me that giving your 60 something mother in law a book about the horrors of aging (whether their offered up humorously or not) when you are only in your mid 30's is probably not in the best of taste.

And now, divorced, in my 40's and hating my own neck I couldn't resist when I saw it at the library. What exactly had my mother-in-law heard as she drove home that Christmas season?

Suffice it to say, I doubt she laughed out loud and mostly likely didn't exactly appreciate that the entire book ends with musings on death. oops.

As for me - I like a good musing on death and watching my body change is a never ending source of fascination. And as self absorbed as I can be, as much as I think the world is looking and noticing my every new wrinkle, I grew tired of Ephron's endless lamenting about all things physical and material in her life. She spent an entire chapter on the loss an apartment in NY but completely glossed over her 2 divorces. Not that she has to bear her sole about every aspect of her life (If she had the book would have been longer than 3 CD's and I wouldn't have listened to it anyway) but still....an occasional grappling with SOME sense of moral obligation to the world outside herself would have been a little reassuring.

The over all message at the end seemed to be spend money on yourself, indulge, you only live once. And don't get me wrong, It's not like I'm toiling away at soup kitchen's during the day and spending my vacations bettering conditions at refuge camps. No. no. I just like to *feel guilt* about NOT doing that. (In real life I'm day dreaming about a pair of boots that I'm pretty sure make me look 39 instead of 40 and according to the salesman at Nordstrom showed that I "have nothing to hide" - what? that had NOTHING to do with the commission! He was just an honest guy doing an honest days work).

*also Nora Ephron throws paper away and I'd like to know what the F that is about - who the hell THROWS PAPER AWAY?! Answer up NY!

**also a 25 year old guy was in my car last night and not only picked up and glanced at the cover of this but further went on to read the description of how she "speaks frankly and uproariously about life as a woman of a certain age". And that shit was em.bar.ass.ing!!!
Profile Image for Sandy T.
280 reviews23 followers
July 24, 2017
So I bought this book thinking it was going to be full of humor about what happens to women when they reach that "certain age". I was expecting to relate to and be amused by her musings about getting older. And that did happen... certain chapters really made me smile, and I could relate to more than I would like to admit! But for about half the chapters, the only people who might relate to it would be rich, famous, New York socialites. That obviously doesn't describe me, so even though her writing was engaging, I'm not quite sure why she put it in this particular book. I did however, love her chapter on the "rapture" she feels with a good book. The chapter on "cabbage strudel" I could have lived without...
Profile Image for Seth Fiegerman.
137 reviews26 followers
December 2, 2013
I'm not a woman. Nor am I a parent or a successful screenwriter or a particularly ambitious cook. But I still found myself nodding my head over and over as I related to Ephron's insights on life. She writes plainly but with great humor and candidness about her abusive relationship with her apartment building, why parenting is more about quantity time than quality time and how something always seems to go wrong when she tries to exercise. It's the portions about New York that really got me, though. She does a better job than any writer I've read of capturing the characters, changes and charm of the city, and the magical thinking of its residents.

"New York is a very livable city. But when you move away and become a visitor, the city seems to turn against you. It's much more expensive... and much more unfriendly. Things change in New York, things change all the time. You don't mind this when you live here; when you live here, it's part of the caffeinated romance of this city that never sleep. But when you move away you experience hangs as a betrayal."

When she is eventually forced to move out of her beloved 8 bedroom apartment because the rent keeps going up, she remembers a truth that extends well beyond real estate: "What failure of imagination had caused me to forget that life was full of other possibilities, including the possibility that eventually I would fall in love again?"

The book ends on a sadder note as she grapples with the death of friends and fights against those who argue that aging is somehow a good thing. Here too she comes away with a great one-line truth:

"Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of thirty-five you will be nostalgic for at the age of forty-five."

I wish I'd read this book years ago so I could have tried to run into her on the street in the city, perhaps while getting a cabbage strudel at Andre's on the Upper East Side.
Profile Image for Diane.
1,064 reviews20 followers
December 14, 2022
It’s almost like Nora was eavesdropping on some conversations I’ve had with friends and my same-age co-workers. Seriously, just a couple days before I picked this up, we had a whole bitch session about the neck thing. And female maintenance issues— so true; why do we do this stuff? I realize these are real first-world problems and have seen criticisms of this book for its “shallowness,” but to that I say people need to lighten up. Everything doesn’t have to be about world peace and similar weighty issues. Getting older mostly sucks and I’m with Nora in that it’s a you-have-to-laugh-to-avoid-crying situation.

There are some sections of this book that didn’t totally resonate with me because —let’s face it— Nora’s income level was well above my own; and also, I don’t have the passion for cooking that she does. So I don’t necessarily relate to her situation with her New York apartment, but totally appreciated her technique of rationalizing exorbitant expenditures by thinking of a way their long-term value could be equated to the cost of a Starbucks drink. And there’s no way I’m ever going to cook my way through a famous chef’s cookbooks while inviting my friends and the chef over to eat the meals, but I torture myself in other ways.

The section at the end of the book is about facing the reality and imminence of death. It was especially poignant knowing that Nora died a few years after writing this book. She talks about the death of a friend and how hard and incomprehensible that was to come to grips with. That’s another you-have-to-laugh-to-avoid-crying situation.

This book made me laugh. And I feel like Nora and I could have been homies.

Edit: My thoughts upon the second reading pretty much mirror my thoughts from the first time. I'm a couple of years older now, so some of it might have resonated even more. It was worth the second read -- this time I listened to the audiobook.
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