Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Feel Bad about My Neck

I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron
Random House, 2006
hardcover, 137 pages
ISBN-13: 9780307264558
personal essays
highly recommended

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.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed I Feel Bad about My Neck, Ephron's short collection of essays. In order to appreciate many of her essays, I think it helps being a bit older and understanding all too well about the neck thing. There are essays that younger readers will enjoy too, particularly "I hate My Purse." When my children were young my purse closely resembled hers and I never had a purse I liked. I will admit that there were parts of her essays that I couldn't relate to at all. She's lived a privileged life, mainly in NYC. She doesn't even blow dry her own hair. She gets her hair done twice a week. And our political views are very different. The last chapter about the death of her good friend was very touching. Highly Recommended - especially for "older" women


I feel bad about my neck. Truly, I do. If you saw my neck, you might feel bad about it too, but you'd probably be too polite to let on. opening

Sometimes I go out to lunch with my girlfriends - I got that far into the sentence and caught myself. I suppose I mean women friends. We are no longer girls and have not been girls for forty years. pg. 4

Oh, the necks. There are chicken necks. there are turkey gobbler necks. There are elephant necks. There are necks with wattles and necks with creases that are on the verge of becoming wattles. There are scrawny necks and fat necks, loose necks, crepey necks, banded necks, wrinkled necks, stringy necks, saggy necks, flabby necks, mottled necks. There are necks that are an amazing combination of all of the above. According to my dermatologist, the neck starts to go at forty-three, and that's that...short of surgery, there's not a damn thing you can do about a neck. The neck is a dead give-away. Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth. pg. 5

His recipes were precise and I followed them to the letter; I was young, and I believed that if you changed even a hair on a recipe's head, it wouldn't turn out right. pg. 21

The point wasn't about the recipes. The point (I was starting to realize) was about putting it together. The point was about making people feel at home, about finding your own style, whatever that was, and committing to it. The point was about giving up neurosis where food was concerned. The point was about finding a way that food fit into your life. pg. 29

Why do people always say you forget the pain of labor? I haven't forgotten the pain of labor. Labor hurt. It hurt a lot. The fact that I am not currently in pain and cannot simulate the pain of labor doesn't mean I don't remember it. pg. 43

I hate that I need reading glasses. I hate that I can't read a word on the map, in the telephone book, on the menu, in the book, or anywhere else without them. pg. 53

I can't believe how real life never lets you down. I can't understand why anyone would write fiction when what actually happens is so amazing. pg. 105

I've just surfaced from spending several days in a state of rapture - with a book. I loved this book. I loved every second of it. I was transported into it's world. I was reminded of all sorts of things in my own life. I was in anguish over the fate of its characters. I felt alive, and engaged, and positively brilliant, bursting with ideas, brimming with memories of other books I've loved. pg. 117

When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you. pg. 125


Jeanne said...

These essays made me think the author is kind of shallow. Maybe I don't want to know what can go wrong with a neck, but it sounds like a weird obsession.

Heidenkind said...

I don't know about Ephron. I remember watching the special features of When Harry Met Sally once, and she said she didn't believe in two people falling in love, especially if they were friends before hand (or something like that), and I was kind of disgusted. So there you go. Disillusionment strikes again.

Lori L said...

Jeanne, I'll admit that some of her essays did make her seem shallow. She spends a whole lot more time, money, and effort on her appearance than most of my women friends do... but the neck thing, well, I understand that and would rather not talk about my neck, LOL!

Heidenkind, she's been married three (?) times so maybe she doesn't believe in love. While I did enjoy most of the book, I know for a fact that Ephron and I would never be BFFs and hang out together in NYC. I guess if I were to write some essays about getting older I'd be writing about some of the same things, like hating reading glasses - or bifocals in may case- but not all of the same things. We're not in the same socio-economic circle.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I liked these essays...though I am from another state...another world, really....