Books Magazine

Book Review: I Feel Bad About My Neck

By Storycarnivores @storycarnivores

Book Review: I Feel Bad About My NeckTitle: I Feel Bad About My Neck: and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman
Author: Nora Ephron
Series: N/A
Publisher: Vintage
Publish Date: 4/8/08
Genre: Humor / Essays
Pages: 140
Source: Purchased from Indie Bookstore
Buy the Book: I Feel Bad About My Neck

SUMMARY: 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.

BRIAN’S REVIEW: I was so distraught by the passing of Nora Ephron earlier this summer that Shaunta and I dedicated a whole post to her. Of course as soon as Ephron passed away, I became instantly intrigued by all the books and writings she’d penned over the years. I’ve looked for her final book of essays entitled I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections, as well as Crazy Salad, Wallflower at the Orgy, and her acclaimed play Imaginary Friends. I’ve been looking for her sole work of fiction — Heartburn — at the local indie bookstores and at the library for two months now and have yet to come across a copy. When I do, I plan to gulp it up right away, then check out the movie that stars Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson! See the trailer for the film below:

But since I still consider her deliciously funny script for When Harry Met Sally one of my favorite of all time, I thought about checking out one or more of her books of humor essays, and I found a copy of I Feel Bad About My Neck at the local indie bookstore Grassroots. A few nights ago I started reading it at 9pm, and then I finished it three hours later, all at one time, all in one sitting. Very rarely do I have the patience and the stamina to read a whole book in one sitting, but this one is short enough, and so damn funny, that to read it in any other way would be impossible. Ephron is so spot-on with her observations about life, and even though some of her anecdotes have to do with being an older woman, I could still definitely relate.

Yes, circa 2008 Nora Ephron did feel bad about her neck, but the most memorable essays in the book exist in the second half, and my favorite probably is a piece called “Moving On,” which is about Ephron’s immense affection for a large apartment she rented in New York for many, many years, only to have to reluctantly move away when the rent is increased to a staggering amount, and when she moves into a new place, although she never expected it, she discovers she likes it even better than the last one. Ephron is witty and charming in her descriptions about her run-ins with the new witch of a landlord, but the whole piece rang so true to me that in the end I almost wanted to cry rather than laugh. She’s talking about homes, but in reality she’s talking about life, how we go from place to place and ultimately always have to move on.

I also enjoyed “Me and JFK: Now It Can Be Told,” which is about Ephron’s early career internship working at the White House and occasionally brushing up against Mr. Kennedy himself. We all know Ephron was a foodie — she wrote and directed “Julie & Julia” after all — and there’s a wonderful essay toward the end about Ephron’s years-long hunt for a treat called cabbage strudel. And “The Story of My Life in 3,500 Words or Less” is some of the most entertaining fifteen pages I’ve read in a book in a long, long time.

Bottom line, if you love Nora Ephron, don’t pass up this book. She was a comedy icon, who thankfully, will always be remembered through her movies, and most of all, her sharp, wonderful writing.

So last time I left you with Ephron’s hilarious speech at Meryl Streep’s AFI Tribute Award. This time I leave you with her salute to Oscar-winning director Mike Nichols. Enjoy!

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