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on 5 January 2015
I was looking for a really funny book to read - however, I am amazed that people spend so much time thinking about these things. This is quite a vacuous book.
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on 24 July 2017
“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I've accomplished something, learnt something, become a better person.”

This still remains my favourite Ephron quote, and it’s just one of the many memorable lines that make this collection a real pleasure to read. Ephron covers a broad range of subjects in these articles from designer purses and bags to the Sisyphean task of personal maintenance and grooming. She reflects back on being a summer intern at the White House in the early 60s (without a desk) and her non-affair with JFK. She confesses her love/hate romance with her Apthorp apartment in Manhattan, the love soon turned to hate in light of the escalating property and rental prices.

She reveals her heart breaking disappointment with Clinton as a president and speaks frankly about her quest to hunt down and recapture the magical cabbage strudel that she used to source from a local Hungarian, many years before. She shares her love of reading, talking of the many books that have inspired, informed and bettered her world. A small but revealing chapter “What I wish I’d known” she uses a platform to dole out some bite sized chunks of advice, ranging from “Keep a journal” and “You can order more than one dessert” to “Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of thirty-five you will be nostalgic for at the age of forty-five”.

What I like about Ephron is that she always tries to create a nice balance in her work, she can be frivolous, but she can be cerebral too. There is always room for humour, but she also sets aside time and space for the darker side, and this is shown most poignantly when she opens up about the many challenges of ageing, how harder she finds things in her sixties, with more friends dying, and in particular her closest friend which came across as particularly devastating.

This is another highly enjoyable collection from Ephron, showcasing her wit, insight and intelligence in varying measure, reminding us of what a talented and amusing writer she was.
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on 17 March 2016
great!!
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on 21 October 2016
Funny and enjoyable book.
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on 4 November 2015
I guess the first thing to point out is that before this I was yet to read anything from Nora Ephron which makes me feel like I am definitely missing out on some stunners. I did have a nosy in the Amazon reviews and one stated ‘Ephron could write about the telephone book and make it entertaining’ and I completely and utter agree. The book is a selection of essays that are based on the idea of getting older (kind of explains the neck bit I guess,) and the way we can and should embrace these changes. It’s one of those books that makes you think and take a minute to appreciate what you have.

One of the best of the ‘essays,’ is named ‘On Maintenance.’ The writing describes how much time we spend making ourselves look perfect and how over time these few minutes of time add up to years and years of time. It puts into perspective the things we do each and every day and how much time we spent trivalaising over things that are so very insignificant in our lives. The essay entitled ‘I Feel Bad about my Neck’ is terribly funny and lead to me spending a good ten minutes inspecting my neck. It leads from the idea that you never know what you had until it’s gone. One day we will all mourn for the wonder of our twenty year old necks – I’m sure.

The essays take on a number of different topics; falling in love with different concepts, people and places, and especially apartments and the reason we do so with very little reason. We become sentimentally attached to things and yet years, months, maybe as little as days later they get replaced by something else that we will find ever more satisfying. Whether that is relationships, places, books or food choices we are at one time or another going to move on with our lives and find something new to appreciate and that is okay. These concepts are really wonderfully described in the essay ‘Serial Monogamy: A Memoir’ about her affection and obsession with several different cookbook authors.

Some are ranting – most seen in the hysterical ‘I hate my purse’ but they have a positive feel throughout and all feel as though the author is sat just streaming out her ideas and emotions. This writing I adore; it is honest, candid, and frank. It’s not trying to do something, it’s not trying to sell a lifestyle it’s an honest look at things many of us women do and an understanding that it’s okay; maybe sometimes a little irrational but that really is the beauty of life. “The Story of My Life in 3,500 Words or Less” shows this perfectly.

I found this book utterly delightful and yet a little mournful; it made me think and take a moment to step back. Many of you will know I’ve been spending a lot of time stepping back and looking at my life, the things that fuel my insecurities and how to deal with them and whenever I have an internal struggle this will be the book I pick up. An essay a night would be perfect way to fall asleep feeling a little calmer with the world.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 25 May 2007
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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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 25 May 2007
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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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 25 May 2007
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 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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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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