In her latest essay collection, “I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman,” the roman-à-clef author, playwright, screenwriter and film director Nora Ephron offers rearview reflections on her life as a talker and writer, as well as a flinching but honest look at the image she lately confronts in the mirror....1. Has Liesl looked at Cher recently?
[L]ately Ephron has learned that there is one betrayer upon whom no woman (with the possible exception of Cher) can exact vengeance or impose a fairy-tale finish: the body, with its dazzling flurry of early gifts, and its misleading air of permanence. Just as you begin to count on it, off it goes, hooking up with its smirking henchman, the aging process. She does not hide her pique at this 11th-hour deserter. “Why do people write books that say it’s better to be older than to be younger?” she asks. Ruefully, she catalogs the body’s defections, and the desperate measures she has taken in her attempts to woo it back — creams, waxes, injections, dental work, dyes, threading, bleaches: “Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death,” she writes. But she doesn’t wallow. Instead, she does what she has always done — she buries the bad news under a barrage of shareable anecdotes, humorous self-deprecation and womanly bravado.
2. Ephron's book sounds like all the stray articles in fashion magazines I have ever read. (And I once had a job that consisted of reading magazines, including all the women's and fashion magazines, circa 1975.)
3. "I Feel Bad About My Neck" really is a great title for a book trying to get the attention of the aging woman crowd. But I can't picture myself standing in line and buying it at a bookstore. Everyone would look at my neck.