This morning I had every intention to tackle my never-ending To Do List. That was, until I discovered I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman in the living room. I didn’t immediately realise who Nora Ephron is (FYI: she’s the brilliant writer and filmmaker behind Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally). Now call me stuck-up, but I will go to any number of great lengths to avoid reading a “#1 National Bestseller”. On this one occasion, however, I let down my guard; it was cold and raining and I desperately needed something to do as a self-indulgent means of procrastination. I should really let my guard down more often because Ephron’s little book had me hooting from start to finish.
Let’s begin by acknowledging the fact that Ephron’s title is genius; I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman could not be a more accurate description of what information this saucy little book holds. Basically, it is a collection of Ephron’s hilarious thoughts on all things shallow and not so shallow. She writes about marriage, divorce and her grown-up children leaving the nest, as well as maintenance (the waxing/plucking kind), being “blind as a bat” and the truth of her relationship with JFK. Her chapter titled ‘The Story of My Life in 3,500 Words or Less’ is perhaps the funniest thing I have ever read.
Amongst her hysterical chapters is ‘On Rapture’ in which she describes the impact of reading a truly magical book. Her description could not be more perfect for how I felt upon reading hers:
I’ve just surfaced from spending several days in a state of rapture – with a book. I loved this book. I loved every second of it. I was transported into its world. I was reminded of all sorts of things in my own life. I was in anguish over the fate of its characters. I felt alive, and engaged, and positively brilliant, bursting with ideas, brimming with memories of other books I’ve loved. I composed a dozen imaginary letters to the author, letters I’ll never write, much less send…
I’ve had a go at composing my own imaginary letter to Nora Ephron, who has sadly passed, but I’m much too embarrassed to type it out loud. Dear Nora: If you’re somewhere up there listening, I insist that we one day meet for dinner. I will cook cabbage strudel, which you so dearly love, and we will ne regrette rien. We will laugh until we cry and we will be sure to feel bad about our necks (although we’ll no longer care). And to my own Dear Reader: I insist that you read this little book. It won’t take up much of your time, but it will be sure to take up much of your heart for at least a few days.