I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman
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I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

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by Nora Ephron
     
 

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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.

Ephron chronicles her life as an obsessed cook,

Overview

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.

Ephron chronicles her life as an obsessed cook, passionate city dweller, and hapless parent. But mostly she speaks frankly and uproariously about life as a woman of a certain age. Utterly courageous, uproariously funny, and unexpectedly moving in its truth telling, I Feel Bad About My Neck is a scrumptious, irresistible treat of a book, full of truths, laugh out loud moments that will appeal to readers of all ages.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Wickedly witty. . . . Crackling sharp. . . . Fireworks shoot out [of this collection].” —The Boston Globe“Long-overdue. . . . Executed with sharpness and panache . . . . [Nora Ephron] retains an uncanny ability to sound like your best friend, whoever you are. . . . It's good to know that Ms. Ephron's wry, knowing X-ray vision is one of them.” —The New York Times“Women who find themselves somewhere between the arrival of their first wrinkle and death have to hear only the title to get the message.”—Los Angeles Times“Wry and amusing. . . . Marvelous.” —The Washington Post Book World
Library Journal
In I Feel Bad About My Neck the late Nora Ephron writes about distinctly female concerns: her neck and its truth-telling properties, the chaos and insistent demands of a pocketbook, the deeper meaning of cookbooks, the hourly and financial toll of looking presentable (and largely past–boyfriend proof), and the shifting conversations of parenting (from you are not getting a tiara to using the tiara as a bargaining chip). She also includes a flash-biography and a list of Nora aphorisms. As expected from the writer of When Harry Met Sally and the writer and director of Julie & Julia and You’ve Got Mail, these 15 intimate, confessional, and witty essays are as warm, supportive, and charming as having lunch with your funniest and smartest friends.

(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Bunny Crumpacker
Despite the elegiac tone of this collection, it would be nice to think that we'll have Nora Ephron around for a long time. She's always good for an amusing line, a wry smile, and sometimes an abashed grin of recognition as she homes in on one of our own dubious obsessions.
— The Washington Post
Janet Maslin
This brief, long-overdue book is for readers still willing to buy into Ms. Ephron’s familiar writing persona: that of a sharp, funny, theatrically domesticated New Yorker who can throw both arrows and good money at the petty things that plague her. When she says that she can trace the history of the last 40 years through changing trends in lettuce, she isn’t kidding.
ק The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
The 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 c leri 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 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A disparate assortment of sharp and funny pieces revealing the private anguishes, quirks and passions of a woman on the brink of senior citizenhood. Ephron, whose screenwriting credits include Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally and Silkwood, has brought together 15 essays, most of them previously published in the New York Times, the New Yorker or assorted women's/fashion magazines. She explores the woes of aging with honesty-hair-coloring and Botox are standard treatments, as is getting a mustache wax-but maintaining a 60-plus body is only her starting point. Ephron includes breezy accounts of her culinary misadventures, her search for the perfect cabbage strudel and her dissatisfaction with women's purses. An essay on her love affair and eventual disenchantment with the Apthorp apartment building on Manhattan's West Side deftly captures both the changes in New York City and in her own life. There's an unusual pairing of presidential pieces: A lighthearted piece on her non-encounter with Kennedy when she was a White House intern in the 1960s is followed by a fiercely astringent one on the failings of Bill Clinton. Some of the pieces, such as her essay on parenting, seem tentative, and two, "The Story of My Life in 3,500 Words or Less" and "What I Wish I'd Known," read like works in progress, suggesting that they may have been rushed into print to fill the pages of a too-small book. One doesn't need to be a post-menopausal New Yorker with a liberal outlook and comfortable income to enjoy Ephron's take on life, but those who fit the profile will surely relish it most. First printing of 60,000

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307276827
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/08/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
55,371
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

What I Wish I’d Known

People have only one way to be.

Buy, don’t rent.

Never marry a man you wouldn’t want to be divorced from.

Don’t cover a couch with anything that isn’t more or less beige.

Don’t buy anything that is 100 percent wool even if it seems to be very soft and not particularly itchy when you try it on in the store.

You can’t be friends with people who call after 11 p.m.

Block everyone on your instant mail.

The world’s greatest babysitter burns out after two and a half years.

You never know.

The last four years of psychoanalysis are a waste of money.

The plane is not going to crash.

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.

At the age of fifty-five you will get a saggy roll just above your waist even if you are painfully thin.

This saggy roll just above your waist will be especially visible from the back and will force you to reevaluate half the clothes in your closet, especially the white shirts.

Write everything down.

Keep a journal.

Take more pictures.

The empty nest is underrated.

You can order more than one dessert.

You can’t own too many black turtleneck sweaters.

If the shoe doesn’t fit in the shoe store, it’s never going to fit.

When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.

Back up your files.

Overinsure everything.

Whenever someone says the words “Our friendship is more important than this,” watch out, because it almost never is.

There’s no point in making piecrust from scratch.

The reason you’re waking up in the middle of the night is the second glass of wine.

The minute you decide to get divorced, go see a lawyer and file the papers.

Overtip.

Never let them know.

If only one third of your clothes are mistakes, you’re ahead of the game.

If friends ask you to be their child’s guardian in case they die in a plane crash, you can say no.

There are no secrets.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Wickedly witty. . . . Crackling sharp. . . . Fireworks shoot out [of this collection].” —The Boston Globe“Long-overdue. . . . Executed with sharpness and panache . . . . [Nora Ephron] retains an uncanny ability to sound like your best friend, whoever you are. . . . It's good to know that Ms. Ephron's wry, knowing X-ray vision is one of them.” —The New York Times“Women who find themselves somewhere between the arrival of their first wrinkle and death have to hear only the title to get the message.”—Los Angeles Times“Wry and amusing. . . . Marvelous.” —The Washington Post Book World

Meet the Author

Nora Ephron was the author of the bestselling I Feel Bad About My Neck as well as Heartburn, Crazy Salad, Wallflower at the Orgy, and Scribble Scribble. She wrote and directed the hit movie Julie & Julia and received Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay for When Harry Met Sally. . ., Silkwood, and Sleepless in Seattle, which she also directed. Her other credits include the script for the stage hit Love, Loss, and What I Wore with Delia Ephron. She died in 2012.

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I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 149 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read a review on this book and ordered it from my local library in Tennessee. I tried to borrow it while I was in San Diego for a month, however, there was a waiting list of 122. Does that tell you something? When I got back to TN the book was waiting for me. Real in every sense of the word - but, you need to have a dry sense of humor to find this book funny, or should I say - you need to have a humorous personality to understand it. I loved this book so much, I have ordered a copy for myself. I repeatedly went back over chapters that meant something to me - all of them, that's how closely these chapters match my own life. They read quickly as there are only a few pages in each chapter. I am going to buy all of her books, that's how much of an imaginary mentor she is to me. You've got to read this book if you are 60 or over, especially if you're having a bad day as this book will put a smile on your face for all the right reasons. I love the chapter on the Purse.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is beyond funny. Her choice of words is absolutely perfect. My words can not convey the absolute necessity of reading this book for any woman over that age where we start seeing our necks in the mirror and wanting a change. For you that may be 35 or 65 but when that is becomes the time for this to be a MUST read!
FDDJFVA More than 1 year ago
Let me start by saying that I LOVE Nora Ephron. I love her wit, her sense of humor, her movies and I will go so far as to say I think we have similar outlooks on life. I did not however, love this book. I really did expect more. I felt that most of the book was just "filler". I found the NY real estate chapter of her book interesting but there wasn't one chapter that grabbed me. I'm sorry Nora, but this was kind of forgettable. I will end on an upbeat note by saying I loved the cover and I hope that you come out with a new movie soon.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great, in fact because this book made me laugh repeatedly about something I find the opposite of funny. Ephron, who's still running circles around younger writers, reveals how it feels to face life in the not-as-fast lane. Especially good are her discriptions of mishaps and misadventures and the ways she gets over and goes through some of the inevitable albeit unexpected challenges. Just wonderful reading, particulary for people who can't read without their glasses.
Judysviews More than 1 year ago
Nora Ehron is right on target with her hilarious view of women's experiences. A BIG chuckle in an overly serious world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After seeing Nora on Oprah along with some other aging women, I was slightly interested in her book. Then, when I went to the bookstore I saw it and instantly knew that it was the book I wanted to purchase..and I don't regret it! I laughed outloud to this book. I reccomend this to any woman..and I am only 16!
Sarah_in_USA More than 1 year ago
Funny, entertaining, and right on the spot of women's pet peeves and foibles! Not great literature but the kind of female soul food needed when one gest older, the things to discuss only between females, because it only pertains to us.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Funny, but I was thinking the same thing about MY neck and saw the title of this book. I've read many a Roberts book but this one is the best. Funny and sad at the same time, I really enjoyed it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you're like the lady who can't appreciate the humor because Nora Ephrom makes more money than she does (making her an elitist? Pu-lease! You COULD just see the it all as metaphorical examples instead of being the snob yourself.)- then don't bother because you'll be wasting your time. Otherwise, if you appreciate dry wit - the kind that sounds like Tom Hanks when he was emailing Meg Ryan in 'You've Got Mail' - you will love this book. I read chapters of it on my lunch hour and always went back to my desk chuckling. I giggled uncontrollably throughout and insisted on reading parts aloud to my husband, hairdresser, best friend... whoever would listen. I LOVE her tongue-in-cheek humor and delightful take on the commonplace. I would recommend this book to any woman over 59 (my age, ya see). Nora even makes me want to be a better writer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's hard to stop once you begin reading any of the essays in this book. I particularly enjoyed those that followed the title's suggested theme: women getting older. Like a reviewer below, I had a more difficult time relating to the woes of someone who must pay $12,000 monthly for an Manhattan apartment as opposed to $10,000. But most of the book was spot-on and hilarious. The final chapter on facing mortality struck a contrasting and very poignant note.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just before falling asleep I found myself laughing out loud at her various efforts. (Her reaction to an exercise program was halarious.) I think others will relate to the events in her life as much as I did and maybe even learn something from her life experiences.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Since I am the exact age as the author, I really enjoyed hearing her tell "my story" as well as her own (I listen to audio books). I like Nora's writing style and will definitely order future books from this writer. I especially like books that are read by the author as opposed to voice over artists. The actual author lends true emotion to each sentence as they tell it like it is. This was good for a few laughs.
ANoraFan More than 1 year ago
I love this book, and the author even more. The audiobook is even better - her comic timing and choice of words are perfect! I could listen to this over and over again. I'll be able to relate more with each passing year. It sure takes the pain out of long commutes.
emjay49 More than 1 year ago
This a great read, a must read for fellow sisters of the 60's. I've been there, done that, ditto the neck thing!
njoyVA More than 1 year ago
Witty, well written, loads of fun
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great read, especially when you are old enough to 'know what she means'. I'm giving this book to all my women friends this coming holiday season.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love any book that makes me laugh----and think! Enter I FEEL BAD by Roberts, her latest addition to her growing literary canon. Trust me, if you don't feel bad about your neck now . . . you will. Roberts has taken her career to new heights with this great book! READ IT!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book makes me glad I'm a woman with all my lumps and bumps. I love reading real thoughts from real women. Pass this on to your significant others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Even though I am only 22 years old, I found this book on aging irreverent and funny. I love the witty, unabashed manner in which she addresses the things we all deal with.. or at least dread having to deal with one day.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved every page of this book and recommend it highly! I'm off to order her other books right now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The truth about getting older - a hilarious, and occasionally poignant, collection of observations and insights. It ain't pretty, but it's comforting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I remember reading Heartburn many years ago, and I thought I remembered that I liked it (I still have it in my library). This book, however, goes off the track too many times. The author tells us too many boring things about herself and where she worked and about husband after husband after husband. And, gee, you poor thing...having to move out of your oversized, ultra expensive apartment. The author obviously enjoys bragging about her excesses, and , personally, I'm glad I got 30% off the price...I say wait for it to come out in paperback. The hardcover price is definitely not worth it.
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