Review: I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman
I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book #38 for 2014

When this book first came out, I learned of it from an NPR interview with Nora Ephron. That night, I added neck moisturizing to my bedtime rituals. I am pleased to report that I am now 45 and my neck is still holding up quite nicely. Thank you, Nora Ephron! That may have been the only tidbit I took away from that interview, though, because for at least the first half of the book, I found that I was expecting something entirely different, something more satirical and less musing.

I also found myself quite put off by some of the essays, which were not only whining about first-world problems, they were whining more specifically about rich city-girl problems. No way was I identifying with those. And since Ephron was right about my mother’s age, and she was in so many ways not the least little bit like my mother, I had a hard time thinking of her as a real person instead of some fictional character from some movie about frustrated rich New Yorkers. Not that I expect all women my mother’s age to be just like my mother, but shouldn’t there be a certain degree of commonality?

And I guess that commonality did come through by the end of the book. Ephron spent the book complaining about so many trivialities but then acknowledged them as such. She pointed out that these are all distractions from the ultimate commonality: Death. Some of us have commonalities in our distractions — often choosing to distract ourselves — but it doesn’t really matter what they are, so we might as well enjoy them while we can.

Some of the essay topics did resonate with me. Books, most certainly. And some of that awkward experience of being on the edge of the stage of world events but not really involved. And the attachments we form to places, like homes and cities. Though Ephron and I are a bit swapped in our feelings for NYC (which has always seemed to me like a place where “other people” live) and DC (which feels like a second home every time I visit).

I did end up liking this book quite a bit, but I am a little reserved in making recommendations of it. I don’t think many women younger than 40 would get much out of it, so if you belong in that category, I will just say this: Moisturize your neck. Now. You can thank me (and Nora Ephron) later.

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