Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron

Synopsis from

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.

My thoughts:

I loved this book! It was amusing, to laugh out loud funny at times! It feels like Ephron is a friend you haven't seen in awhile sharing her views. It made me think about my own thoughts on each subject (if I had them, living in New York is something I've never done or had any real desire to do so I don't have strong opinions on that). This book has been sitting on my shelf for awhile. Over the weekend I read a bloggers review of her latest book and thought that I should read this one since I already own it. I'm afraid I am now going to be staring in the mirror trying to figure out if she is right about woman's necks, will it really be all downhill after 43? Luckily I have awhile before that deadline. I recall my dad telling me one time that is is all downhill after 35 and thinking that it couldn't possibly that early but as I've seen my age go up it has started to become harder to keep extra weight off and stay in shape. Will I have a wattle to look forward to at 43?

One item I could totally relate to was Ephron's relationship with her purse. I want to like carrying one, but I am never organized enough and end up searching for everything for so long that I often wonder why I even bothered to bring one along. The bottom seems to accumulate loose change and crayons, along with cheerios and crumbs. I buy extra zippered bags to make it easier to find important items but still I loose a lot in my purse.

Her chapter on cookbooks reminded me of reading Julia and Julia last year, with her imaginary conversations with the authors and how rigidly she stuck to the recipes. I am the opposite, if I want to make something but don't have quite the right ingredients at home and don't want to deal with the buckling car seats and going to the grocery store I will improvise. Sometimes it is fine and others, I realize too late I should have just waited to go to the store for the right items. I do delete things a lot too, I hate how so many recipes call for cheese and nuts, those ruin so many otherwise appealing foods! I take them out when I can.

I do not look forward to the time that I will need to pay someone to dye my hair. The idea of never having to wash it at home again has some appeal, but really it doesn't take that long. Also I can't understand why it would take 90 minutes to have hair dyed at a salon when at home application, setting time and washing out takes less than an hour. I've never been someone to take a lot of time on my hair. I now pretty much just wash it, comb it out and let it dry. I'll use barrettes or hairbands and elastic bands but never do anything complicated. About every three years I cut off 10 or more inches to donate (I've done Locks of Love and Pantene Beautiful Lengths), love it for about a week and then hate it and wait for it to grow back. I'm about due for the cutting it and hating it stage again.

Ephron's relationship with her reading glasses reminds me of mine with sunglasses, I buy multiple pairs a year and can never find more than one pair at any one time. I designate spots to put them in and still when I need them they are gone, but miraculously when I come back sometimes they are there again (so maybe I need stronger contacts as well since I am overlooking something that is already there to begin with).

This book was a comfortable, fun read. It felt like a conversation. I guess instead of having imaginary conversations with cookbook authors I was having them with Ephron's essays about being a woman. "Oh I know exactly what you mean..", "You should see my purse and then things I find in old purses like..", "So you really think when my children grow up I should repurpose their bedrooms right away so they don't try to move back? What if they really need to?" I enjoyed this weekend reading this book and loved that each essay was short so provided a natural break for putting it down if I needed to.


  1. This sounds totally adorable and like something I really should make the point of readings.

    Thanks for visiting my blog :) I love your header!

  2. I've heard good things about this book. I'm glad you enjoyed it.