Wednesday, June 3, 2020

I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman - Nora Ephron

Summary: From Nora Ephron,the writer and filmmaker whose films Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally defined romance for a generation, and whose latest, Julie & Julie, celebrated the pleasures of cooking and the thrill of self-reinvention: a disarming, intimate, and hilarious book on being a woman today.

Ephron chronicles her life as and obsessed cook, a passionate city dweller, and hapless parent.  She hates her chaotic mess of a purse.  She searches for the divinely flaky cabbage strudel of her youth and finds it 23 years later.  She endures the daily tribulations of feminine maintenance: removing unwanted hair moisturizing patches of skin the consistency of a loofah, and recovering from treadmill injuries.  Utterly courageous, uproariously funny, and unexpectedly moving in its truth telling, I Feel Bad About My Neck is a scrumptious, irresistible treat of a book, full of laugh-out-loud moments that will appeal to readers of all ages.  (Summary from back of book - Image from amazon.com)

My Review: I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman is series of essays written by the Nora Ephron, the writer behind such movies as When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, Julie & Julia, and several other novels.  In each chapter, Nora muses over such topics as the aches and pains of aging, the ridiculous nature of purses, modern-day parenting vs the parents of yesteryear, the perks and drawbacks of living in New York City, etc.  I started this book as an audiobook, as I needed a little something to listen to as I walk/run my way around the local track.  I made it through the first two chapters and decided that the narrator of the audio book read too slowly for my taste, but, finding those chapters mildly funny, I picked up the book to read the *old-fashioned* way.

The good news is that I Feel Bad About My Neck is fairly easy to read.  It has nice short chapters filled with dry wit and honest observations on topics that might ring true for many women.  I nodded my head along in absolute agreement as Nora waxed rhapsodic about the thrill of spending time with the perfect book. When she bemoaned the exorbitant cost of purses or the loss of her youthful physique, I was so there in sisterly solidarity.  PREACH!  And don't even get me started on her descriptions of the perfect cabbage strudel (something I never knew existed and must now locate/consume immediately). In some ways, Nora simply got me.  That having been said....

(And here is the part where I talk about the bad news)

When I finished the book, my first thought was:  Well, that was...odd.  Certain chapters seemed more like a live stream of Norah's thoughts on a particular subject -- slightly disorganized and riddled with tangents.  Nora has plenty of experience under her belt, so I assume that writing style was intentional, but my brain didn't like it.  I also didn't find this book nearly as uproariously funny as it was purported to be.  There were a few laughs, to be sure, but some of it felt downright depressing.  I am just shy of forty years old, so many of the other aging issues she addresses offered a terrifying glimpse into my future and I am not looking forward to it.  Additionally, Nora is rather well off and some of her complaints felt out of touch with people, like me, who could never hope to afford a similar lifestyle.  Of course, her fortune is not her fault, but those complaints simply didn't resonate with me.

Bottom line? Although Nora made some valid, slightly humorous observations in her essays, I wasn't as taken with them as I hoped to be and other times I was just bored.  The pee-my-pants humor I was waiting for, just never came.  Oh well.  Can't win 'em all.  Moving on to the next book!

My Rating: 2.75 Stars

For the Sensitive Reader: I can't think of any swearing.  Nora leans left politically, so some of her statements might offend a right-leaner looking to be offended (but only if they are looking really hard).  Some brief discussion of sex in a off-hand, vague sort of manner.

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