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Pickle Me This

November 22, 2006

I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron

I think some of I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron is lost on me. I don’t feel bad about my neck, I’ve got four grey hairs, and according to Ephron, I’m still in the heart of my bikini years, and so perhaps I miss what is most wise about her wisdom. I love her writing though, and I liked this book. It’s essential to note that I read it last evening in the bathtub. More essentially, however, I cared if it fell in. It didn’t and I think I’m going to lend it to my mother.

I read Ephron’s Collected Essays early this Fall, after reading her newest book being hyped by Heather Mallick and Jennifer Weiner. The new book is written in the same funny and conversational tone as the essays, with an emphasis on what it is to be a woman in her sixties. Obviously, Ephron feels bad about her neck. But she also reflects on marriage, parenthood, cooking, reading and living in New York. This book had a bit of the appeal of The Year of Magical Thinking, in that it is a glimpse into a pretty brilliant life (because I too want a five bedroom apartment in New York City).

Its lightness is deceptive, however, with an edge most apparent in the final essay “Considering the Alternative” about when your friends start dying and you stop skimping on bath oil. “On Maintenence” is an eye-opening treatise on beauty regimines. Ephron believes she was the only White House Intern JFK never made a pass at, and in fact during her tenure there, nobody even bothered to give her a chair. Oh, she’s funny and she’s got stories to tell. Sometimes I wish she’d tell them in a way that was less flip and throwaway, but such is the essay form we are working with here. I am looking forward to reading her novel and finding out how her voice translates into fiction, and I suspect I’ll come away satisfied.

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