A review by brennna
I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron

lighthearted reflective relaxing fast-paced


One of my biggest regrets - bigger even than not buying the apartment on East Seventy-fifth Street, bigger even than my worst romantic catastrophe - is that I didn't spend my youth staring lovingly at my neck. It never crossed my mind that I would be nostalgic about a part of my body that I took completely for granted.

A recipe for them appears on page 36 of the book, but it doesn't begin to convey how stressful and time-consuming an endeavor it is to make egg rolls, nor does it begin to suggest how much tension a person can create in a household by serving egg rolls that take hours to make and are not nearly as good as Chinese takeout.

This was right around the time endive was discovered, which was followed by arugula, which was followed by radicchio, which was followed by frisee, which was followed by the three M's - mesclun, mache, and microgreens - and that, in a nutshell, is the history of the last forty years from the point of view of lettuce. 

And then dinner was served...It was delicious. It was so straightforward and plain and honest and at the same time so playful...The entire evening was mortifying, a revelation, a rebuke in its way to every single thing I had ever bought and every dinner I had ever served. My couch was purple.

Reading is one of the main things I do. Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.

One of my favorite things about New York is that you can pick up the phone and order anything and someone will deliver it to you. Once I lived a year in another city, and almost every waking hour of my life was spent going to stores, buying things, loading them into the car, bringing them home, unloading them, and carrying them into the house. How anyone gets anything done in these places is a mystery to me.

Then he dictates a set of facts to us that goes something like this: "...the principal of Beverly Hills High School, announced today that the faculty...will travel to Sacramento on Thursday for a colloquium..." We all sit at our typewriters and write a lead, most of us inverting the set of facts...We turn in our leads. We're very proud. Mr. Simms looks at what we've done and then tosses everything into the garbage. He says: "The lead to the story is 'There will be no school Thursday.'"

It's sad. Not as sad as things that are truly sad, I'll grant you that, but sad nonetheless. 

The state of rapture I experience when I read a wonderful book is one of the main reasons I read, but it doesn't happen every time or even every other time, and when it does happen, I'm truly beside myself. When I was a child, nearly every book I read sent me into rapture. Could I be romanticizing my early reading experiences? I don't think so.

Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of thirty-five you will be nostalgic for at the age of forty-five.

Write everything down. Keep a journal. Take more pictures.

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