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I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman Hardcover – 8 Aug 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 137 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf (8 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307264556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307264558
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 2.1 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,367,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Nora Ephron, 65 years old in "I Feel Bad About My Neck," pokes fun at her own eccentricities and finds herself writing about 'lunch with my girlfriends-I got that far into the sentence and caught myself. I suppose I mean my women friends. We are no longer girls and have not been for forty years.' But ["I Feel Bad About My Neck" is a] girlfriend book, and in the best way. . . . Ephron, who is a great wit, has made a career out of women's body anxieties. The magazine piece that made her famous in the 1970s, 'A Few Words about Breasts, ' is a long "kvetch" about her flat chest . . . Now, though, Ephron "kvetches" about her wrinkled neck, the one part of a woman's aging body that can't be resurfaced. She and the ladies who lunch with her all wear scarves or turtlenecks to hide their 'shame.' . . . Ephron [is] unfailingly clever and often pokes fun at our preoccupations while sharing them. . . . "I Feel Bad About My Neck" has everything I want in an entertaining read: a breezy pace, wry musings, copious doses of gossip, humor, and new information. . . . Ephron produces perfect vignettes. . . . [When I finished "I Feel Bad About My Neck," I] felt the 'rapture' that Ephron says you feel on completing a great book. . . . [Books] have always been faithful pals, and [this one is] among the best. . . . [Get] your friends of a certain age together, rent "Silkwood" (which I think is Ephron's best film), read [her book] together, and argue and laugh and cry. That's my prescription."
-Emily Toth, "Women's Review of Books "
"The subtitle to this book of autobiographical essays by the pithy, witty Ephron-'and other thoughts on being a woman'-says it all. Chapters include brilliant, biting essays on such things as wrinkly necks, bad handbags, and being a parent. You'll laugh out loud at her spot-on observations, but there's something wonderfully poignant about Ephron's list of things worth knowing, and how to live out one's life feeling satisfied. A heartwarming little book."
-"Easy Living" magazine (UK)
"What's refreshing about Ephron is that she refuses to entertain any illusions about the terrible fate that awaits us. What's great about her is that she makes the truth about life so funny when it should be so grim."
-Christopher Goodwin, "The Sunday Times" (UK)
"Ephron's laugh-out-loud collection tells the truth about aging-it's not fun-and 'she does it with humor and satire and perspective, ' says [Roxanne Coady of R. J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Conn.]. With blithe charm, Ephron exposes all the vain ploys that she-and we-would rather not admit we use to stave off another telltale wrinkle or gray hair. Read her book as an antidote to despair."
-"U.S. News & World Report "
"Now 65, the humorist offers a bracing take on aging in 15 memorable essays. Her finely honed wit is as fresh as ever."
-"People" magazine, Top 10 Books of 2006
"As if wrinkles and belly flab weren't enough, women of a certain age have to fret about their turkey necks, too-so says the sage, dry, and hilarious Nora Ephron . . . Her droll take on traditionally gooey topics like motherhood and marriage makes the tender observations that much more unexpected . . . [A] sparkling series of essays."
-"Ladies Home Journal"
"Delightful . . . [A] funny, sisterly collection . . . Where books written for seniors are apt to be full of unconvincing cheer, Ephron's charming book of self-questioning, confession, and resolve faces the reality that she's sixty-five, dyes her hair, and is not happy about her neck, her purse, her failure at ambitious exercise programs, and other personal failures shared by many of us . . . None of these confrontations with mortality is arcane, all are universal, and people of either sex can relate to them . . . Many readers of "I Feel Bad About My Neck "will be familiar already with Ephron the accomplished human being . . . She's one of only a few American essayists with a public persona-one thinks of Will Rogers, or Calvin Trillin, maybe Benjamin Franklin, Steve Martin, and Woody Allen . . . [She has] a talent for incisive compression and accessibility confided in a sort of plainspoken Will Rogers manner . . . . The hapless character Ephron has presented over the years may be the real Ephron, or not. The actual Ephron is praised by friends as smart, a perfect housekeeper, much prettier than the person she began depicting in "Wallflower at the Orgy," her essays from the Seventies, a wonderful cook, etc., etc. It's sound rhetorical strategy. Of all the ways to be funny, self-deprecation is more endearing than satire . . . . All in all, this funny book offers the pleasures of recognition; in an anxious world, her epigrams have a serious, consoling utility."
-Diane Johnson, "The New York Review of Books"
"OK, so Nora Ephron is 65 now. Not to me, she's not. She's still that young smartass who used to rule the pages of "Esquire" . . . "That" was entertainment. She's still entertaining . . . Ephron's new look-back is a delight of a book that you can inhale in a single sitting . . . . When she's funny, as she is in "I Feel Bad About My Neck," she becomes a [writer] who won't give her readers a rest from the bellowing laughter. Sixty-five ain't old when you're Nora Ephron."
-Dan Smith, "Blue Ridge Business Journal"
"I like short books. In fact, when I'm at the bookstore, I tilt my head to the right and scan the shelves for books with the skinniest spines. "I Feel Bad About My Neck" was one I wished were longer. Ephron, journalist, novelist and screenwriter, bemoans getting old and all the maintenance needed just to tread water. But she does it in her inimitable, witty style. You don't come away depressed as much as invigorated . . . [She] brings [her] funny but serious approach to this latest work."
-Elizabeth Pezzulo, "The Free Lance-Star"
"You might think that "I Feel Bad About My Neck" is not a book for foodies. You would think wrong. "I Feel Bad About My Neck" is so witty and so much about food in our lives, that every Foodie should read it. This is the kind of book that will make you laugh out loud on the Amtrak train to the chagrin of other passengers buried deep in "The Wall Street Journal." You may have to force yourself not to wave it under their noses, shouting, 'Get this book!' . . . . It rings funny and true at the same time."
-Juliette Rossant, SuperChefBlog
"Clever . . . . ["I Feel Bad About My Neck" is] laced with wry observations, told in an intimate style that makes Ephron seem like a close friend spilling details about her life . . . [Ephron] has punctured many a bubble of conformity and made audiences laugh in recognition . . . [She] will keep you entertained."
-April Austin, "Christian Science Monitor "
"Maybe Nora Ephron has become timeless . . . Certainly she writes, for all her funny commentary on modern life, like someone who has something useful and important to tell her readers . . . She's figured something out that she wants to let you in on, and to make it palatable she'll make you laugh."
-Susan Salter Reynolds, "Los Angeles Times Book Review"
"Before Nora Ephron the director, or Nora Ephron the screenwriter, or even before Nora Ephron the novelist, there was Nora Ephron the journalist and essayist. That Nora Ephron, known for her wit, candor and vulnerability, has returned and is holding forth in "I Feel Bad About My Neck" . . . Sales have been brisk, no doubt because it's the kind of book women don't get only for themselves; they purchase copies for their best friends and sisters, and buy more to be given as birthday gifts and party favors. Women who find themselves somewhere between the arrival of their first wrinkle and death have to hear only the title to get the message. They get it that she gets it, and thank God for that."
-Mimi Avins, "Los Angeles Times "
"[A] stylistic tour de force . . . Fireworks shoot out [of this collection] . . . The smaller blazes are bursts of wit that cast the familiar so sharply as to make it seem new . . . There are [also] passages where wit is used not to entertain but to lament . . . to take arms against life or death (where loss, however blithely sketched, is no joke at all) . . . The comic and rueful are still there, but they take on resonance."
-Richard Eder, "The Boston Globe"
"Youth may be wasted on the young, but everyone can enjoy the hurdles and highlights of aging with Ephron's witty and deeply personal essays on getting older . . . and yes, wiser."
-"Life" Magazine ("Life 5" Editors' Pick)
"[W]ry and amusing . . . . [M]arvelous."
-Bunny Crumpacker, "Washington Post Book World "
"I belly laugh[ed] at this compilation of essays by Nora Ephron, a book that includes subjects every woman can identify with, regardless of her age . . . I [plan] to order multiple copies as gifts, knowing my girlfriends [will] get as much of a charge out of the book as I have."
-Chris Stuckenschneider, "The Missourian"
"This is a book about age and regret. Since it's by Nora Ephron, it's funny . . . . This delightful collection of personal essays . . . [is written] by a truly smart woman [who] disarms . . . by mocking her own anguish in a style that veers between hey-girlfriend coziness and wit . . . . Ephron has me in her pocket: I'm absolutely on her side and feel that she's on mine, that we're in this together . . . . Sublime."
-Anna Shapiro, "The New York Observer"
"We have Nora Ephron to thank for this wonderful girlfriend's guide to aging. In "I Feel Bad About My Neck," Ephron perfects her 'vintage whine' in a series of essays conveying everything from beauty regimes to Manhattan real estate. There is little cheerleading here for the joys of acquired wisdom or the age-defying results of botox and collagen-since the neck is still a giveaway-hence the title . . . . There are small victories, however, which Ephron chronicles along with her life as overachieving cook, loyal friend and mother, hard-working writer and fashion frump who disses purses but loves black turtlenecks . . . . She shares heartfelt ardor for her friends-especially one who passed away-her passion for cooking, including recipes for successful dinner parties . . . Ephron's insights make the book an enjoyable romp. [She'll] make you laugh at her laments. You'll also be grateful for her honesty. One of her best lines is her retort to a baby-boomer editor who complains that too many women over 60 talk about how things were better 'in my day.' 'But it isn't our day, ' Ephron tells the editor. 'It's their day. We're just hanging on.' For people who want a little candor and humor about not only hanging on but getting on, this book is for you."
-Jill Brooke, "New York Post"
"In her latest essay collection . . . Ephron offers rearview reflections on her life as a talker and writer, as well as a flinching but honest look at the image she lately confronts in the mirror. Like her fellow Upper West Side loyalist Jerry Seinfeld, she has found a lot of 'something' in the 'nothing' of everyday life. In the manner of all natural-born embroiders, Ephron augments tales she has told before and also divulges new insights, grievances, and gossip . . . . Nothing is off limits to her, even personal humiliation-especially personal humiliation . . . [But] Ephron has owned her laughs for several decades . . . . [S]he doesn't wallow. Instead, she does what she has always done-she buries . . . bad news under a barrage of shareable anecdotes, humorous self-deprecation and womanly bravado . . . . Through [30 years of writing], her focus has remained on the heart. This current gatherum of hard and funny truths spares neither the author's pride nor her audience's, but it does salve wounds, and many of Ephron's insights are bound to come in handy."
-Liesl Schillinger, "The New York Times Book Review"
"Wickedly funny . . . [Nora Ephron's] candid, witty tales about life and love will put everything into perspective."
-"Tango Magazine"

"Witty. . . . sharp . . . . readily accessible to all . . . . [Ephron] is as funny as ever . . . . What is so refreshing about Ephron is that she doesn't take herself too seriously . . . . [She has] a knack for finding the significant in the mundane, and for making readers feel like they've been welcomed into [her] inner circle of friends to share lipsticks and life's licks. [Her] best lines probably get read aloud as often as 'Goodnight Moon.'"
-"Newsday Sunday"
"Before Nora Ephron became a Hollywood maven with her screenplays for movies such as 'Sleepless in Seattle, ' 'Heartburn, ' 'You've Got Mail, ' and 'When Harry Met Sally...', she was a wickedly witty and astute writer of essays and articles. Ephron returns to her print roots with a new collection of essays reflecting the perspective of an aging-but still crackling sharp-cultural scribe."
-"Boston Globe"
"I Feel Bad About My Neck is . . . long-overdue . . . . [T]hese essays . . . [are] executed with overall sharpness and panache . . . . [Nora Ephron] retains an uncanny ability to sound like your best friend, whoever you are . . . . Some things don't change. It's good to know that Ms. Ephron's wry, knowing X-ray vision is one of them."
-Janet Maslin, "New York Times"
"In her latest book of essays . . . [Ephron] is as funny and poignant as ever. This time around she rails against aging ('Oh, the necks . . . '), decides adolescence is for "parents" and reveals her non-affair with JFK."
-"Ms. Magazine"
"By the time Nora Ephron's "I Feel Bad About My Neck" comes out, in August, you'll be feeling the heat-or maybe just a hot flash-in which case her reflections on looking at your saggy, baggy neck in the mirror (she advises squinting) . . . will be just the cool comfort you need. Use this wryly romantic book as a guide to musing about mortality, or just curling up in your empty nest."
-"O: Oprah magazine"
"[S]parkling . . . [T]his collection is . . . a thoughtful concession to pre- and post-menopausal women (who else is there?) . . . 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 . . . . [R]efreshing . . . witty . . . delightful . . . . 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.)""
"-Tony Bentley, "Publishers Weekly, "signature review
"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 . . . . 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 . . . "
-"Kirkus Reviews"

Book Description

Hilarious anecdotal memoir in Grumpy Old Women vein by Hollywood screenwriter / director of When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the loveliest of books-I came across it by accident and immediately rushed out to send it to my very best friends. The word gem comes to mind. If youre over 40 and beginning to feel old, buy this and laugh. Its so true to life, the wrinkles on our necks, on where we live, how we entertain, its a book I keep looking through and every time it makes me smile.
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Format: Paperback
I've admired Nora Ephron's film work for a long time. She wrote the screenplay for 'When Harry Met Sally', one of my favourite movies. She has a wonderful knack of writing humorously and hauntingly all at the same time.

'I Feel Bad About My Neck' is a series of short essays about her life. It reflects that time in life when each of us has to face our mortality, work through the inner turmoil that may bring and arrive at a place where we can be at peace with ourselves and our age. This is a chocolate box book. One into which you can dip in every now and again and pick out a soft cream one day and a brazil nut the next. For example: "But if the events of the last few years have taught me anything, it's that I'm going to feel like an idiot if I die tomorrow and I skimped on bath oil today." Funny and very readable.
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This book is an absolute delight, women of all ages will relate and laugh. You will see yourself and your friends in a very good way. Hurry and buy it.
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Format: Hardcover
I think Nora Ephron could write about the telephone book and make it entertaining (one brief section in this book about parenting proves the point). Here's an example. Most writers don't want to think about aging. If they do, they want to prescribe "solutions." Nora Ephron has a different idea: Simply describe aging as something we foolishly try to stave off (pretty unsuccessfully) by sharing her own experiences.

That concept is best captured by her essay "On Maintenance" that describes in detail the time, money, and effort she puts into trying to look as good as she can. I'm reminded of a conversation I had with my cousin (who in her more naive days was a beauty queen) who always looks terrific. When I complimented my cousin on her appearance once, she replied, "You have no idea how much more effort it takes every year." Now, I do!

The essay "I Feel Bad About My Neck" is very funny. I don't think I ever look at women's necks . . . but now I know that some women do. Apparently it's all downhill after 43. The essay ends with the irony that Ms. Ephron cannot do anything about her neck without a facelift, and she's not a good candidate for a facelift.

I also liked her essays about how we fall in love with concepts, places, and people . . . for no particularly good reason. But that temporary embrace is soon replaced by another one that will probably be even more satisfying. Although not described that way, you get a sense that she views her prior two marriages much in the same way.
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Probably best appreciated by the over 50-s, this book is especially poignant now that the author has died just last month aged 71. Nora Ephron, well known through writing the screenplays for "When Harry Met Sally" and "You've Got Mail" among many others, writes hilariously about motherhood, children, relationships, and the angst of discovering that with age comes the horror not only of your changing neck but the betrayal of your entire body from failing eyesight to unwanted body hair. She advises younger women to appreciate their bodies while they still have them but wisely concludes: What's the Alternative? The short chapters are random, and the topics jump about from living in New York to the author's love of cookery; but I loved the wit, wisdom and humour of all of it.
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By DubaiReader VINE VOICE on 11 Jun. 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book reminded me of why I don't buy womens' magazines.
I read it as a book club choice, otherwise I would never have chosen it.
I'll be interested to hear what the others thought tomorrow when we meet.

The author discusses many of the things that worry women of a certain age, from signs of aging to children fleeing the nest. All these things are discussed often enough amongst groups of women, I don't need to read about them too.

(Edited to say that the reaction of my book group was fairly muted. We discussed her opinions on things; the very minor appearance of her three husbands and her one true love - her apartment, in particular. We'd all had to buy the book in hard back and when asked if we thought the book value for money, the answer was a resounding 'no'.)

And in parting I'll just say that if I had 2,600 dollars to spend on a 'Kelly bag', I'd go and buy books!!
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This is an entertaining book for women of all ages, not just mid-aged or older women. I'm 29-years-old and enjoyed all essays. In fact, I would especially recommend this book for young women. We often forget or try to forget we will not stay young forever, maybe we don't want to think about it, maybe we shouldn't even really think about it and enjoy our youth when we can. But hearing about the experiences of older women open our eyes to the 'luck' we currently have and not realize. Nora was right in the book. If you are young and healthy, you never think about your neck. It's when you get older and your neck decides to take a trip to the south you get aware, "I had a neck all these time I did not appreciate as much as I should have."

It's not all wisdom or learning, the book is meant to be entertaining and it does that very well. Let me also warn you the book is shorter than it seems. It says 224 pages, but the chapter titles have their own page just for the title, I take my time when I read and even I finished the book in less than a day. So if you are looking for something to read on the plane, or for the weekend, you better get a second book.
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