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
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.
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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
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
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.
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
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-
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.
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.
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.
From the Hardcover edition.