Thursday, September 25, 2008

Book Report/I Feel Bad About My Neck

I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts On Being A Woman
by Nora Ephron
unabridged audio read by the author
nonfiction, 2006
finished, 9/24/08

In her latest book, I Feel Bad About My Neck, Nora Ephron writes of the "rapture" she feels after she finishes a book she loves. This is exactly how I felt as I finished listening to the audio cds of this book last night at 11:45 pm. I went to bed rather early, fell right asleep, and then awoke. I put on my headphones, and literally could not stop until it was over, and then I so didn't want it to be over. I loved every minute of being in her presence, and it really did feel like being with her because the author narrated the book.

I don't have a lot of accumulated wisdom from my sixty years on this earth, but there is one thing I have learned. Just because someone is "like" you does not necessarily mean you will like this person. And more often than not, someone who lives a different sort of life may become your closest friend.

Nora Ephron lives quite an opposite life from mine. She is a professional writer, I'm at home. She's had a few divorces, I've been with the same guy my whole adult life. She is a die-hard New York City girl, and I'm all about rural living. She loves her apartment, and I own not only my house, but a fair bit of land. And in fact, I don't feel the least bit bad about my neck. :<) None of these differences is earth-shaking. None of them is fundamental. Yet they are differences, and the kind of differences which would probably ensure we would never meet in the real world. So I am even more deeply happy that she writes and I read because here we meet and are friends, though one-sided, of course. :<)

I love humor, but not the sarcastic, nasty, cynical sort. Nora Ephron's humor is warm, friendly, companionable, and very witty. There were several times I laughed right out loud, something I don't do all that often.

She writes of a friend who just had to have a "Kelly Bag." Now, you may ask (as I did, and as Nora E. did) what is a Kelly bag? It is the little handbag Grace Kelly used to carry around. A friend of Nora Ephron's went to Paris and paid almost $3000 for an old, oops I mean vintage, one! This is part of an essay on women's purses, and it is just hysterical, while telling an underlying serious truth. Women pay lots of money for purses, handbags, satchels, bags. And the author's purse was bought in the subway shop for $28, and is yellow and royal blue plastic. Perfect!

There are writings about the apartment she fell in love with, food fashions over the years, raising children, and the death of her friend. She talks about her summer as an intern to JFK, which had me trying to hold in my laughter as Tom slept. :<) She writes about the books and authors who have meant so much to her. Like many of us, she recalls where she read certain books - right down to the couch material!

I recommend this book to every woman, and every man. It isn't one of those how to age nicely books, nor is it a "woman's book." It is incredibly smart and funny and real and important. I loved it beyond words. I was indeed in "rapture." What more could a reader want?


  1. Oh, good! I've been looking for something "not dark" to read and this sounds like just the ticket. I'm going to pick it up this afternoon!

  2. I loved this book too! I listened to it as well and found it really hilarious in spots. The purse essay was priceless. I didn't relate to every single thing that she commented on, but many things elicited a chuckle, a smile, and some an outright belly laugh.

    I think every woman over the age of ??? (45?) should listen to this. Her narration was good and, for me, added to the experience through her inflections and accent.

  3. So interesting to read your comments, because it's an off-putting title. When I read the title of your post I thought, Poor Nan - and it was a while before I realised it was the name of the book ;)

    But I'll browse through it next time I'm at the bookshop

    I'm really enjoying Courdoroy Mansions - thanks for the tip


  4. This is a hilarious coincidence! I just got off the phone this morning with a good friend who had dinner with Nora Ephron a couple of days ago. The first thing I asked her was..."Was she wearing a turtleneck??". The answer was no, and in fact my friend said she was lovely, both in looks and manner!

    I really need to read that book. It's been recommended to me often!

  5. My sentiments exactly! And, I just recommended it to a customer at work yesterday and she wound up buying it for a friend. I'll bet she reads it first! ;)

    One of my favorite passages (as quoted in my review) is about getting reading glasses. Oh, how I laughed!! What a great book. I'll have to get it on audio so I can give it a listen someday.

    Lovely review, dear friend.

  6. I browsed to you via Ernestine's. Your review of the books is so lovely. I wish they had the book here in Thailand.

  7. I loved this book, too, when I read it, but listening to your review, I think I would like to listen to Ephron read it herself on tape.

  8. This sounds fun, Nan, I don't really "do" audio books but I think I'd like this one. I love the pictures at the top of your blog, the Wodehouse one was tremendous, and today's is just beautiful.

  9. Have a feeling that it is time for me to give up my childish principle not to read books people recommend!

  10. Love your positive feelings gleaned from this book! It is one of my favorite books, too! ;)

  11. Well, I rarely listen to audiobooks but you have just made me need to rush to acquire this one rather urgently! Your comments on the attractions of opposites are so true. A lovely review - thank you.

  12. "I don't have a lot of accumulated wisdom from my sixty years on this earth, but there is one thing I have learned. Just because someone is "like" you does not necessarily mean you will like this person. And more often than not, someone who lives a different sort of life may become your closest friend."

    You're right, of course. Thanks for the wise insight, the book recommendation, and the astonishing header photo of the leaves! You've made my day.

  13. That book sounds like it might be a little too girly for me but you never know.-I have been riding the bust to work almost every day and go through about 2 audio books a week.-There are only so many books on cd-If I see it-I will remember it-thanks.

  14. That was interesting. I've always liked NE myself but I'm sure we'd have nothing in common!

  15. I've read one of her other books, Crazy Salad, which I enjoyed way more than I thought I would. (For some reason, I thought it would be dated, but it wasn't.) This sounds like a fun read too.

    I discovered your blog via Alpha Heroes’ bloghopping challenge.


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