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I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50
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I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50

3.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,570 ratings  ·  311 reviews
Annabelle Gurwitch the humorist The Washington Post calls hilarious and O, The Oprah Magazine slyly subversive returns with a wickedly funny new book chronicling the vicissitudes of turning 50.
The panic began to set in when Annabelle Gurwitch turned 49. Suddenly, new and pernicious health problems began to plague her, solicitations from the AARP began flooding her mailbox,
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 6th 2014 by Blue Rider Press
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Average rating 3.23  · 
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Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Ladies, may I show you to a table?" the maitre d' asks us.

"Ladies," I whisper to my friend Carla. "Well, at least he didn't 'ma'am' us."


I've lost track of how many times I've been ma'amed, but it still stings every time.

Lately, my husband has been complaining about the increasing amount of space in the medicine cabinet that is taken up by moisturizers. "You must have one for each part of your face," he whines. He is just WRONG! I have TWO for each part of my face. THREE for that sensitiv
Elyse  Walters
May 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
The idea behind this book was for me to enjoy a few laughs. Mission accomplished!!!!

I'm turning 63 this month...
I'm past the minimum age requirement for "I see you made an Effort".

Mostly .... The these essays are about aging.... (If you are under 50 years might consider waiting until you, too, have reached the minimum age requirement to appreciate Annabelle Gurwitch's sense of humor)

I expected 'all' of these middle age stories to be funny... But then realized why that would be imposs
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Q: Dear God,
Please let me still be fuckable at fifty. (c)
Q: I think of myself as someone who is up for adventure. I’ve performed roles where I’ve had explosive charges attached to my person, fired machine guns, learned to sing opera, kissed Rodney Dangerfield. (c)
Q: ... it’s surprisingly freeing to have any burden of beauty lifted. (c)
Q: I was the only student at my school who could spot an FBI plainclothes agent. (c)

Oh, Gosh, this was so funny and sad and depressing and hilarious and chockfull
Lynne Spreen
Mar 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: midlife
It was funny, at times laugh-out-loud funny, but there's an undertone of depression in it that can only emanate from a young person who believes that getting old is the end, period. Maybe it's because of Gurwitch's unfortunate choice of careers, wherein youth is the only currency. Maybe she has been brainwashed to accept the bullshit viewpoint of the media and our stupid culture, which rewards fecundity - or the appearance thereof - to the exclusion of everything else, over brains, wit, humor, s ...more
Dec 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Having slipped past the mid-century mark myself, I was looking forward to some empathetic chuckles with a fellow middle-ager musing on turning 49. Gurwitch is a Hollywood adjacent, secular jew with a preteen son - not insurmountable differences, but apparently still a gap too wide to forge. This is in no small part due to the fact she's narrowing in on 50 as a woman. For women in Hollywood, as Gurwitch notes, 50 is the new 80 in actress years. Meanwhile Tom Cruise at 58 is no doubt in lifts, spr ...more
Janet Newport
An easy, though somewhat repetitive read of the author's personal reflections of her own process of aging. While told with humor, it felt like cocktail party chatter. ...more
Sonia Reppe
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Really funny. I started reading it and couldn't stop, laughed out loud. Did I enjoy it because I'm not there yet ("there" meaning menopause); therefore it wasn't so depressing as it could've been...Annabelle talks a lot about getting old, and even though I'm not there yet (the dreaded menopause), I can see it in the far distance, it's just a speck, but I know I'm headed toward it, and...I could appreciate this book of humorous essays like someone in their 20's wouldn't be able to. Have I spent a ...more
Elizabeth A
Mar 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, essays
OK, I'll admit that the cover made me pick this one up. Who can resist those pink grannie undies with a touch of lace? The author is turning 50, and this is a collection of essays about what it feels like to be a woman of a certain age. Sure, the problems are mostly first-world ones, as the author readily admits, but that does not make them any less real for her.

If we are lucky, we will grow old, and whether we do it gracefully or not, with humor or angst can depend on various factors: genetics
Cherise Wolas
Fun, humorous, and breezy essays that were enjoyable to read and caused some laugh-out loud moments.
Jun 07, 2018 added it
Shelves: dnf
No stars because I'm stopping this at page 50. It's very hard to write a funny book about aging.

In the first couple chapters, I see I have nothing in common with her--I don't go to an Apple store to have them fix a laptop (ha! so cheap now I basically just buy a new non-Mac one), my youngest graduated from college before I was 50 so dealing with a middle-schooler is ancient history to me and buying $400 worth of creams makes me cringe, not laugh. My .02 is that the basics (Nivea, Aveeno) is jus
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aging, humorous
Holy Colonoscopy! I am going to be fifty in less than one year. I don't think I can adequately convey, Dear Reader, the levels to which my addled mind is being diddled by this notion. And before anybody out there in Goodreads Land comes up with that tired 'age is just a number!' BS...well, let me just remind you that R. Kelly said that. And you can see how well that worked out for him.

Fifty is a 'number' alright. It is a number of extremely disturbing things if you are a female in a western cult
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: humour
A collection of essays on coming of age... age 50, that is. I was a little disappointed with this book after the first few chapters. The one on her friend dying of cancer, although touching, was a downer in a comedy book. In other chapters there were too many references to her dry vagina. Hey, one would have been too many but there were a lot more than that. The author was a little hard to identify with. But it was worth sticking with it. The chapter called "I'm meditating as fast as I can" was ...more
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I think I may be on the wrong edge of fifty to really enjoy this book. A few smiles, but not nearly what I'd hoped for. There are some funny insights into the not so glamorous life of a c list star. I do remember seeing her once or twice on Dinner and a Movie. Some fun observations on raising a teenage boy and caring for aging parents at the same time, make this an okay read. Bossy Pants and Wishful Drinking are still the benchmarks for celebrity/comedic/meditations, but this line might be worth ...more
Loved this book! I could relate to a lot of it and Annabelle is hilarious and a good writer. Enjoy!
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs, essays
Do you remember Annabelle from Dinner and a Movie? I loved her! She's still great with these essays written as she faces her 50th birthday. Happily married, with a teenage son who won't talk to her. Several essays are absolutely wow including one about her new trampoline and another about helping a friend die. ...more
Edythe Hamilton
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Annabelle Gurwitch discusses everything from her computer crashing to purchasing cream for a dry vagina. In addition, this is only within the first two chapters.

Ms. Gurwitch shares her experiences being forty-nine going on fifty and all the changing life cycles that comes with it. She speaks about having hot flashes at the most inopportune time. With each event, she adds humor that will make you laugh aloud.

The ways she describes certain thoughts, “If I spend any more money today, it will threat
Pop Bop
Mar 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Hits the "G" spot; Glib, Generous and Good

There are a number of just-turned-30,or 40,or 50 humor books out there, and almost all of them have their engaging aspects. They do display a considerable range of styles, from the purely jokey to the angsty and way too self-involved. This book is a nice antidote to those two extremes because it is at times both funny and insightful in a rueful and self-deprecating way. By that I mean Ms. Gurwitch knows her way around a one-liner and around an extended g
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

I was oblivious to Annabelle Gurwitch's identity before selecting I See You Made an Effort for review otherwise I probably would have given it a wide berth. I don't have a single thing in common with a Jewish/atheist actress/comedienne living in Hollywood, and I still have ten years until I turn 50 anyway.

That being said I found this collection of essays on reaching middle age readable, sometimes touching, and even occasionally funny.

The most moving story is about the slow death of her friend f
Rhiannon Johnson
May 11, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was funny but it may have been funnier to me if I was 50. At 37, I can laugh at myself and the funny things that aging does to women or the general neuroses we are all victim of. Staying awake worrying about family, money, the Holocaust, anything really, until you realize you are not going to fall asleep and then wondering if you would feel better or worse if you took a sleeping pill this late at night. Gurwitch points out the limited shopping selections we have as women once we age ou ...more
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
The glowing review from Bill Maher should have been a clue. Gurwitch bemoans her aging, her lack of stellar success, and what sounds like a decent marriage. Clearly, this book is an attempt to make up for the lack of residual income. She may even say that somewhere. I have to admit, I wasn't paying that close of attention after the first couple of essays. At least she has the honesty to call her issues first world problems and notes that she sometimes behaves as an elitist. Sadly, the cover is t ...more
Susan Bazzett-Griffith
Read on audiobook, this humor memoir about an actress and older mom turning 50 started out slow for me, but by the middle, I was hooked. I much preferred the more serious chapters-- the ones about the author dealing with the loss of her friend to pancreatic cancer were particularly moving and well written. And the final chapters about developing arthritis and still trying to do things like jump on a trampoline with her 10 year old son knowing just how bad it was going to hurt thr next day but do ...more
Sandy Hall
Nov 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received this as an early read from NetGalley.While I didn't find this laugh-out-loud-until-I-cried funny like I do with pretty much everything that David Sedaris writes, I very much enjoyed this! I'm 46 and could relate to most of the topics covered, both from first-hand experience and also from my girlfriends who are over 50 and sharing their wisdom. I'm always happy to read well written and humorous accounts of what it's like to age and NOT especially gracefully! We're all in the same boat, ...more
Rhonda Lomazow
Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful hilarious book about what it means to be a woman of a certain age..From Eileen Fisher clothes to expensive makeup to hormonal creams &mood swings. This is a book you will identify with & love for its real life honesty.
Jun 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Any woman around the age of 50 can find humor within these chapters. One minute I was crying from laughing, then finding myself choked up from hard hitting realities. Finding humor from aging is a must!
Jen Potter
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I don't want to give you the impression that reading this book will bring on menopause... But by Chapter 5 I was experiencing symptoms of perimenopause. Recommended for my girl friends at the mid-point of life. ...more
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Brave. Hilarious. A fantastic book about life that is laugh-out-loud funny and surprisingly wise.
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
I’m going to blame Covid for my lackluster response to this book of essays on middle age. Instead of feeling camaraderie, I felt self conscious and neurotic.

The only one I found funny was This is Fifty. I thought the format was clever and the teen dynamic spot on. Can’t say more because it would spoil it for you.

I prefer Nora Ephron’s and Samantha Irby’s writing for middle age angst. In case you’re wondering.
Sadaf Trimarchi
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Started out funny but latter third of it was just too LA, and I couldn’t relate to a bit of it. Then it just veered into maudlin territory and I wondered whether she had achieved any wisdom upon reaching the half century mark.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
First 1/2 of book was slightly entertaining but last half was boring. Tired of her continued mention of her being an atheist. Basically skimmed the last half. Found it uninteresting. Sorry.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Ugh! Listened to 1 cd. Couldn't stand the woman's whining about being 49. ...more
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ANNABELLE GURWITCH grew up hoping that she was the long lost daughter of Joni Mitchell or the reincarnation of an Egyptian princess. Neither of those things turned out to be true. She is the author of The New York Times bestseller and Thurber Prize Finalist for Humor Writing 2015, I See You Made an Effort; You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up (co-written with husband Jeff Kahn); and Fired! which was also ...more

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11 likes · 2 comments
“So, fuck you, fifty, I own you. You're my bitch.” 1 likes
“I have no idea what the future looks like but I can still dive in and I intend to keep doing it.” 0 likes
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