A peek at the funny side of aging

By TERRY MATEWS | News-Telegram Arts Editor

Apr. 1, 2007 - Nora Ephron might not have universal name recognition, but her writing is certainly well known. 

Norah Ephron


I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman
By Nora Ephron
137 pp. Knopf. $19.95

She is the author of the screenplays  “Silkwood,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “When Harry Met Sally” and “You’ve Got Mail.” 

She was married to Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein, with whom she had two children. Their divorce prompted her to write “Heartburn,” a biting book made into 1986 movie starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep, who won an Academy Award for her work.

Ephron’s parents were screenwriters. She came of age in the 1960s, and spent time as an intern at JFK’s White House. Now, her children are grown, she has settled into her third marriage and she’s past the big six-0. And, she’s written some really funny essays on issues near and dear to the hearts of women of a certain age. 

�On Maintenance� will make you wonder if Ephron has a hidden camera stashed beside your make-up table. She riffs on hair � �Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside to death.� She gives kudos to hair dye � �There�s a reason why forty, fifty, and sixty don�t look the way they used to, and it�s not because of feminism, or better living through exercise. It�s because of hair dye; today there are parts of Manhattan and Los Angeles where there are no gray-haired women at all.� She ponders the necessity of manicures and pedicures and she bravely addresses one of the most feared downsides to menopause, unwanted hair. She even addresses exercise � �Every time I get into shape, something breaks . . . I pulled my lower back doing sit-up; I threw out my right hip on the treadmill; I got shin splints from jogging; and I entirely destroyed my neck just from rolling over in bed.�

�I Hate My Purse� will make you laugh out loud. �Where I Live� gives her non-New York City readers a sense of what it means to live in The Big Apple.

There are also two incisive, clear-eyed essays on JFK and Bill Clinton. 

There are a lot of laugh-out-loud moments in this slim book. If you’re a woman of a certain age, you’ll need a box of tissues and a soundproof room so you can laugh until you cry and howl as loudly as you want without someone coming to put you in a straight jacket.

Laughter is the best medicine. I wonder if it can smooth out the wrinkles on Nora’s neck?


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