I Feel Bad About My Neck: and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman—Review by Carole

I appreciate Nora Ephron’s sense of humor. Although my exposure to it has been limited, until now, to the movies she writes, such as When Harry Met Sally or Sleepless in Seattle, she has a sensibility that I find charming.

In her book, she comments on what aging has been like for her and I think she brings to mind what all women go through to some extent or another.

While I disagree with her politics and her views on marriage, her observations on aging were wryly amusing. My sisters-in-law and I discussed this as our book club book in September. Everyone enjoyed reading it, and we had a great time chatting about it.

They laughed at me because I had employed my sticky note method. Do you know this one? You get the skinny strips of Post Its, which come in lots of fun colors, and you tab the pages and write your comments on them. For this book, I picked a sunny yellow color to match the book’s cover. Geeky? Sure. But fun? You bet!

Invaluable for book club chats—it sure beats spending what precious time you have to talk about a book thumbing through the book, mumbling, “I really like the part where she says something funny about something…wait, I’ll find it.” Only you can never find it when you want to, by the time you do, the conversation has moved on. I think my book tabs keep the conversation going, and we’ve been able to get more in depth with our chats because we can talk about specifics.

This tab method works especially well with a book that is essentially a chat between the writer and the reader. It’s like I’m contributing to her conversation. Ephron mentions how, early in her married life (her first marriage), she became imaginary friends with all of the great chefs of the day as she tackled one cooking endeavor after another. I could relate as I have been known to daydream about chatting with chefs who tell me that my touch of tarragon really did improve their recipe. I read a quote by her that reveals all you need to know on this topic, “Whenever I get married, I start buying Gourmet magazine.”

Ephron observed trends that I have spoken about at length to girlfriends—one in particular, the sprouting of nail salons in every strip shopping center in America, seemingly overnight. This usually comes up in conversation as we are sitting in one such salon getting our mani/pedis. A few short years ago they didn’t exist, and now we can’t seem to do without them. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not, but I do love how my French pedicure looks with sandals! Chris has blogged about this herself. We all seem to be conflicted by something that is purely unnecessary in our daily lives, yet so wonderful we don’t want to be without it.

In the book, Ephron also waxes philosophic about waxing and many other beauty regimen essentials. Should you have plastic surgery? What kind? Do you get injections? What kind? From her first assertion that the neck starts to go at 43 (uh oh!), I was fascinated. It’s like reading the exploits of someone who has traveled to a destination you are contemplating. I figure—Ephron has negotiated a few twists and turns on the aging road that I haven’t encountered yet, so if she can provide me a bit of a roadmap, it would be folly for me not to study it a bit.

A quick read of an afternoon, maybe longer if you take the time to use sticky notes, I Feel Bad About My Neck offers some humorous as well as touching insights into what aging is like for women today. It would be a great gift for a girlfriend turning a significant birthday, much better than a gag gift of prunes and Geritol. (Does any woman find that funny, ever? Seriously?)

1 comment:

Chris said...

I really enjoyed Nora Ephron's book Heartburn, and some of her other movies.

I am looking forward to reading her ideas on aging. Anyone who gets there first has an obligation to warn the rest of us!