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on 31 December 2008
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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on 14 January 2010
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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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. This concept is beautifully explored in "Serial Monogamy: A Memoir" (about her affection for various cookbook authors), "Moving On" (about her 10 year delight in a large apartment in New York), "The Lost Strudel" (her desire to recreate happy experiences through food that's no longer easy to find), and "Me and Bill: The End of Love" (about her feelings about Bill Clinton as a leader).

Some of her essays border on being rants. I found those the least appealing. These include "I Hate My Purse" and "Blind as a Bat."

Vignettes are powerfully shared. I loved her humorous take on probably being the only White House intern JFK didn't make a pass at and her expert explanation about why typing was irrelevant as an intern in the JFK White House in "Me and JFK: Now It Can Be Told." She also does vignettes brilliantly in "The Story of My Life in 3,500 Words or Less."

She ends with thoughts about dying, and humor fails her. But "Considering the Alternative" is the section where you see the real woman most clearly.

Writers will love her mother's advice: "Everything is copy." The older I get, the more I realize that's true.

Those who like to fall asleep with a smile will find it makes sense to read one essay a night before turning off the light.
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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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VINE VOICEon 11 June 2007
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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on 30 January 2011
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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on 6 February 2015
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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on 7 August 2012
Absolutely love this book. Could be me and I'm sure a huge percent of women, couldn't put it down and if I have an appointment where I think I may have to wait take it with me to have a chuckle at it again. Can almost feel my head nodding in agreement to most of it. Lent it a couple of friends who also loved it and are buying it themselves. One of those books its always nice to pick up and read again.
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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. This concept is beautifully explored in "Serial Monogamy: A Memoir" (about her affection for various cookbook authors), "Moving On" (about her 10 year delight in a large apartment in New York), "The Lost Strudel" (her desire to recreate happy experiences through food that's no longer easy to find), and "Me and Bill: The End of Love" (about her feelings about Bill Clinton as a leader).

Some of her essays border on being rants. I found those the least appealing. These include "I Hate My Purse" and "Blind as a Bat."

Vignettes are powerfully shared. I loved her humorous take on probably being the only White House intern JFK didn't make a pass at and her expert explanation about why typing was irrelevant as an intern in the JFK White House in "Me and JFK: Now It Can Be Told." She also does vignettes brilliantly in "The Story of My Life in 3,500 Words or Less."

She ends with thoughts about dying, and humor fails her. But "Considering the Alternative" is the section where you see the real woman most clearly.

Writers will love her mother's advice: "Everything is copy." The older I get, the more I realize that's true.

Those who like to fall asleep with a smile will find it makes sense to read one essay a night before turning off the light.
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on 3 October 2014
A delightful, amusing and witty collection of essays which highlight some of the joys and problems of a being a woman in the 21st century. At the end I felt I knew Ephron, and would love to have met her. I found the articles echoed some of my own experiences and thoughts, but the ones I enjoyed most were those which revealed her feelings about two presidents, JFK and Bill Clinton. Although clearly an American writer, describing essentially New York life, her writing resonates with many women facing up to the inevitability of aging. At times hilarious, sometimes quite thought provoking. How sad that she is no longer with us - who knows what other gems she might have produced?
Definitely a great idea for a Christmas present for your women friends.
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