17 October 2019

I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron



This has been sitting on my shelf for a number of years and I felt really inspired to read it after reading Sister Mother Husband Dog by Nora Ephron's sister Delia earlier this year.  I've read other books by Nora Ephron before and I have to say, I wasn't a big fan of this book. I found the content to be pretty superficial and boring.

Generally speaking, I'm a big Nora Ephron fan. I really liked her book I Remember Nothing, and I love all of her screenplays, including When Harry Met Sally and You've Got Mail. I read I Remember Nothing before this blog's time, but it was a short, diary style book chronicling ideas and observations throughout her life. Her sister Delia's Sister Mother Husband Dog that I read earlier this year was very similar in style. I Feel Bad About My Neck is also similar in style, but I thought the content itself seemed exhausted.



The majority of this book is just Ephron's musings as she ages and observes the world around her. There's a few good 'essays', for example, one about her apartment she loved and lived in for years on the Upper West Side, and there's the book's titular essay about how women's necks age the worst (which has honestly got me into quite the panic), but for the most part I found them boring, unoriginal, and uninspiring for Ephron. I just don't care about her search for pastries and her crush on Bill Clinton. And honestly, the whole thing felt indulgent. It's almost if she was just due to write another book but had nothing of real interest to talk about. I know that's a harsh way to talk about a late author, but that's how it reads. My favourite thing about this book was the following quote. It really struck a chord for me after reading about their parents' alcoholism in Sister Mother Husband Dog:

When we were growing up, we used to love to hear the story of how our parents met and fell in love and eloped one summer when they were both camp counselors. It was so much a part of our lives, a song sung again and again, and no matter what happened, no matter how awful things became between the two of them, we always knew that our parents had once been madly in love. But in a divorce, you never tell your children that you were once madly in love with their father because it would be too confusing. And then, after a while, you can't even remember whether you were.

I know this review is insanely short, but so is the book (176 pages) and I just didn't really like it enough to talk about it much beyond this. It's in Ephron's traditional nonfiction style, and I usually enjoy her work, but perhaps a more older audience would appreciate this particular book more. I'm looking to read some of her fiction work next and perhaps take a break from this format for a while. Maybe I've just overdone it recently. I'd recommend I Remember Nothing over this book if you're interested in reading some of her nonfiction. 

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