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

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  48,088 ratings  ·  5,679 reviews
With her disarming, intimate, completely accessible voice, and dry sense of humor, Nora Ephron shares with us her ups and downs in I Feel Bad About My Neck, a candid, hilarious look at women who are getting older and dealing with the tribulations of maintenance, menopause, empty nests, and life itself.

The woman who brought us When Harry Met Sally . . ., Sleepless in Seatt
Hardcover, 137 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by Knopf Publishing Group
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  48,088 ratings  ·  5,679 reviews

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Jan 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
Despite the clever and sometimes funny observations about aging, I couldn't shake the feeling that this book of essays was...trivial. Except for the final chapter (Considering the Alternative), Ephron spends a lot of time writing about superficial aspects of growing older (the skin on her neck, her disorganized purse, her worsening eyesight) that make her seem shallow and self-absorbed. In the essay focused on all the hours she devotes to maintaining her appearance (On Maintenance), she describe ...more
Feb 07, 2017 added it
Shelves: non-fiction, women, essays
Sometimes it takes a friend to get you to read a book. I Feel Bad About My Neck has been on my physical bookshelves for years. I’d look at it and look at my neck and think, “Do you really want to read this book?” I’ve got six friends on GR with the beautiful name of Julie but it was the clever one that wanted to be certain to stand out, the Julie preceded by a flower, that finally gave me the push to read this book. Thank you.

Heartburn, published in 1983 was my first encounter with Nora Ephron.
Aug 24, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: wealthy older women
I listened to the audio book on CD, which is read by the author. That was not the way to go with this one. She has odd inflections and an unnatural reading cadence. For example, she might read like this:

We lived (pause)
in a white house (pause)
and I didn't (pause)
like it.

Partly because of her reading style and partly because of the content, I had trouble getting into it. It's supposed to be funny but isn't especially. She describes all the "maintenance" older women do to keep up their appearances
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was such a charming book. Aging is clearly very fraught and the sharp wit of the essays in this book is quite wonderful.
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was so sad for this book to come to an end.  I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Nora Ephron herself, which I so enjoyed because it was in such an amusing tone that no other narrator could have captured.  There were numerous wise and funny lines throughout that had me constantly rewinding...just so I could hear them again.   I hadn’t heard of her books until she passed away, and although I was drawn to this catchy title, I don’t think I could have fully appreciated it at that time since I ...more
Apr 03, 2015 rated it liked it
It's been a rough couple years...I mean days. I grabbed this book off the shelf in the library and sat behind my son as he played some cartoony anatomy game wherein he places organs in the correct spot on a very happy looking skeleton (even though I have noted several key organs are simply not there...but I digress.). Anyway, I really had to leave the library because I was cracking up. This collection of essays includes some that are very funny and some that are less so but I had several laugh o ...more
Aug 28, 2016 rated it liked it

Multi-talented Nora Ephron was a journalist, director, and author. In her heyday Ephron wrote the screenplays for some very popular movies including 'Julie and Julia', 'You've Got Mail', 'Sleepless in Seattle', 'When Harry Met Sally', and 'Silkwood.'

Nora Ephron

This audiobook - read by the author - contains a collection of humorous essays written when Ephron was 60 years old...and stopped having birthdays. In fact Ephron notes that, upon publication of this book, she'll have been 60 for five yea
May 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron is an audiobook read by the author. This is my second reading and it seems that I have enjoyed it more than I did the first time. Could it be that I am now at an age closer to the author’s? Ephron’s humor is as sharp as ever and listening to her had me nodding my head in agreement with many of her ways of looking at life in the midlife lane. The same wit that we enjoyed in her movies is present in this book. Because this is an audiobook, I had the pleasure ...more
Sue Cook
Jul 20, 2012 rated it liked it
The thing is this. Nora and I are not sisters.
In "On Maintenance": "When and how did it happen that you absolutely had to have a manicure?" er, never? I also don't care that much about make up or matching handbags or wrinkles. I JUST REALLY DON'T CARE.
What I care about is women being raped, beaten up, paid less,not let in, talked down to and generally fucked over because they are women.
"I Feel Bad About My Neck" adopts a universal voice but talks only about a sliver of privileged society. It i
Feb 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sitting in a movie theater back in the eighties, not my eighties -- the 1980s, I am smiling, laughing, just having a good ol' time when suddenly TERMS OF ENDEARMENT goes from funny to ominous to dark as turds that can signal upper g.i. bleeding. I'm thinking, "Shit, no, don't take this story there." I'm not walking out of a movie with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson in it; that fact means watching a character who's about my age die of cancer. She's got three young kids; I have one and one ba ...more
Nov 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
For most of you who are my Goodreads friends, you will be too young to really appreciate the humor in this book -- after all, you still have firm, unwrinkled necks which you have probably never even given a single thought. BUT take my word for it, someday you will. And then, you should run right out and find a copy of this book. (Perhaps you can find one cheap in the garage sales that members of my generation will be having as we downsize into assisted living apartments!) Anyway, when it comes t ...more
Nov 30, 2007 rated it liked it
Nora Ephron is, hands-down, one of the funniest women in America. Her novels, movies, and essay collections have brought me to tears by way of laughter more than once. That's why I was a bit disappointed by this collection of essays, loosely tied around the topic of aging.

The essays on aging were amusing, but not particularly funny or fresh. It was like eating a day-old doughnut -- still tasty, but probably not worth all the calories. The weird thing -- her non-age-related essays were brilliant
Oct 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love Nora Ephron and wish that she was still alive so that I could continue to enjoy her witty and funny style of writing. Funny is something that I seem to crave these days. This is only her second book that I’ve read. It’s a quick read and a particularly enjoyable one.

Every parent should read her chapter “Parent in Three Stages”. I desperately needed that!
Phillip Smith
Oct 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Amanda W.
It won't change your life, but it is quite a treat for a sunny afternoon. I read most of it lying in the sunshine on my bed shortly after lunch on a Saturday.

Ephron, like Sedaris & Degeneres, has a gift for expressing mundane thoughts in the most delightful phrases. The one that's in my head right now is when she describes loving cabbage strudel in the 1960s: "I don't want to get too sentimental, but it's practically the only thing I remember about my first marriage." You'll be chuckling the who
Sep 02, 2011 rated it liked it
I have to say I'm a little baffled by Nora Ephron. She was in intern in the JFK White House and had a free pass to roam its halls. She was a reporter at Newsweek in the 1960's, before they even had female reporters. She's been married three times. One of her husbands was Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Bernstein of the Watergate scandal. And when he had an affair it wasn't just with any old woman, but with the wife of the British ambassador to the United States. She's been nominated for three academy ...more
Sandy T
Mar 17, 2008 rated it liked it
So I bought this book thinking it was going to be full of humor about what happens to women when they reach that "certain age". I was expecting to relate to and be amused by her musings about getting older. And that did happen... certain chapters really made me smile, and I could relate to more than I would like to admit! But for about half the chapters, the only people who might relate to it would be rich, famous, New York socialites. That obviously doesn't describe me, so even though her writi ...more
Sep 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Malbadeen by: shallow people such as myself
Here's the thing, I would've never listened to this book if it weren't for the fact that years ago I gifted it to someone in those last few moments of Christmas-oh-shit-I-forgot-to-buy-that-person-a-gift hysteria.

I was married at the time and was, by default, put in charge of figuring out what EVERYONE should be given. My mother-in-law and I had a so-so relationship. I mean she did accuse me of purposely putting pins in her bed when she stayed the night and got poked a few times with left over
Seth Fiegerman
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a woman. Nor am I a parent or a successful screenwriter or a particularly ambitious cook. But I still found myself nodding my head over and over as I related to Ephron's insights on life. She writes plainly but with great humor and candidness about her abusive relationship with her apartment building, why parenting is more about quantity time than quality time and how something always seems to go wrong when she tries to exercise. It's the portions about New York that really got me, thoug ...more
It's unavoidable, we are all growing old. And in this book, Nora Ephron has decided to tackle some of the more obvious annoyances of aging. I have to say that when I first started this book, I thought, "Wow, she REALLY doesn't like herself!" But as the narrative continued, I realized that Ephron simply addressed the issues that all women grapple with as they are aging. And she does it in a highly humorous way.

The audiobook was great! I'm sure the print version was entertaining as well, but I hig
Feb 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a [Rich White] Woman [Living in a Bubble of Privilege on the Upper East Side]

I like Nora Ephron (her politics, movies, etc), and I really wanted to enjoy this book. But it's painfully dull, and her "witty insights" are bland/overtrodden enough to make Andy Rooney seem cutting edge.

Worse yet, many of her complaints are offensively tone-deaf to the realities most people face.
- Nora Ephron sees a homeless woman on the street? Time to complain at
Ephron is better known as a screen writer, in particular for When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, films with some very funny moments and strong observations about the human psyche and relationships. In this little book, she turns the spotlight back on herself. It is a collection of articles and essays with titles such as I Hate My Handbag and What I Wish I'd Known as well as other things that affect a aging Manhattenite.

It is written as a fairly honest account of her life, but whilst i
Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Loved it
The life of a woman in NYC
Jessica Woodbury
I read this to have a frivolous, light audiobook during travel. And it does fit the bill. Yet I seem to have lost some of my ability to enjoy frivolous memoir. It was not all that way. I enjoyed very much the section on food, which had hefty helpings of pride and self-deprecation in good measure.

I think younger women will not enjoy this book as much and it has nothing to do with much of the subject matter being aging. I want to talk more about aging! I found much of it insightful. The problem i

I've finished another book...

I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron

I like Nora. She's real. And she's smart. Nice combination. Add in the fact that she shares her wisdom freely, and also in a funny way, and it makes her even better.

I could have written her exact words on reading...

"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 tal
Mar 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
At first I thought: This is just not something that I can ever in any way understand or comiserate with. Nora Ephron is filthy rich, twice (thrice?) divorced, extreamly successful in her career, living in Manhattan, and 64 years old. She begins with a long discourse on the pain-in-the-neck-ness of having to dye her hair to illiminate gray (I am at least 10% gray and not in the least bit upset or willing to do a thing about it), the ins and outs of purchasing expensive handbags (never, ever cross ...more
Dec 16, 2017 rated it liked it
“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter.”

This was a fun essay collection. I listened to the audio, narrated by Ephron, and very much liked her delivery and dry sense of humor.

PS. This is where I admit I didn’t realize she was such a prolific screenplay writer. I mean, I obviously know the films, I just didn’t know she wrote them.
Deb Jones
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
Do not read/listen to this book if you're searching for answers to life's existential questions. That isn't what this is about, although from the title alone I gathered that. What it is is an insight into some of the pitfalls of becoming older -- frivolous pitfalls with which many readers can identify and laugh about together with the author.

As Ehpron so wisely reminds herself and the reader, even though there are difficulties with aging, the alternative is no picnic either.
Feb 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just the right book for a woman of a certain age (or any age). Ephron is funny and good-natured, never feeling sorry for herself as she points out the absurdities in how women try to turn back the clock, performing ‘maintenance’ as if they were half-broken jalopies, only just holding together. (This alongside Diana Athill’s Somewhere Towards the End would provide a good balanced tone.)

This collection is also, somewhat surprisingly, very wise on the subject of reading. From “Blind as a Bat”:

I am of an age that I now empathize with these stories instead of just finding them amusing.

Ok. I don't relate to all the stories. For instance, I don't live in an apt. in NYC, though I do completely understand having a ridiculous amount of love for one's home and community.
I don't do the maintenance thing. Well, except now I've started paying more attention to my neck because maybe these last few years or months of preventative measures will make a difference.

"Consider the Altern
Barbara Rice
May 23, 2009 rated it liked it
I have a love-hate relationship with Nora Ephron. On the one hand, she's a Democrat, so I feel a certain allegience with her. I want to like her. Sometimes I actually get what she's saying.

Other times I think, can you hear yourself? Is that really what you think? Are you that vapid? She makes a point, a brilliant point, then suddenly punctures it with a denigrating remark - perhaps to keep us from taking her too seriously, perhaps to make us laugh - but it detsroys the momentum and lets us down.
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Nora Ephron was an American journalist, film director, producer, screenwriter, novelist, and blogger.

She was best known for her romantic comedies and is a triple nominee for the Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay; for Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally... and Sleepless in Seattle. She sometimes wrote with her sister, Delia Ephron.

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