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

As I read I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron, I thought about how, with When Harry Met Sally and then Sleepless in Seattle and then You’ve Got Mail, Nora Ephron kind of . . . defined what it was to be a funny woman for people my age. The way she phrases things is so familiar, because I’ve seen her movies hundreds of times. I sometimes take that same tone when I want to be funny because I learned it from her.

So, of course I thought the book was hilarious, from her thoughts on purses (as I am not a purse person myself, you see, I agree with her) to her revelation that she did not, in fact, have an affair with JFK (just in case anyone was wondering). I read most of it in my car on my lunch break on Friday (it was too nice to be inside, but too cool and windy to actually sit outside, so the compromise was to be in my car with the windows cracked), and I laughed out loud several times. Alone. In my car. I then looked around to see if anyone had heard me. I don’t want to be the crazy car lady, you see.

If you wonder what this book is like, I can give you the perfect example. In the commentary on You’ve Got Mail, there’s a discussion of the fun of slipping mini-essays into movies, like the scene where Tom Hanks discusses Starbucks and how ordering coffee gives a person a defining sense of self. Many of the chapters in this book were riffs like that, a thought turned into a mini-essay.

In the same way that You’ve Got Mail has things to say about a woman discovering who she is in her late 30s, this book is not just about the laughs. It closes with thoughts on friends of hers who have passed away, and, in a humorous way, asks us to consider what it looks like to really live in the time that we have left.

Some of the essays were not as interesting to me as others, but with a book like this, it’s only a few more pages and then you’re on to another subject. If you’re a fan of Nora Ephron’s style, you will probably find some laughs here, whether you are pondering your age or not.

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