From the title, the reader gets the sense that the writer of I Feel Bad About My Neck is not only pulling their leg but starts with a punch of humour associated with self-poking on flaws and quirks of ageing.
“Oh, the necks. There are chicken necks. There are turkey gobbler necks. There are elephant necks. There are necks with wattles and necks with creases that are on the verge of becoming wattles.
There are scrawny necks and fat necks, loose necks, crepey necks, banded necks, wrinkled necks, stringy necks, saggy necks, flabby necks, mottled necks. There are necks that are an amazing combination of all of the above. According to my dermatologist, the neck starts to go at 43, and that’s that.
‘‘You can put makeup on your face and concealer under your eyes and dye on your hair, you can shoot collagen and Botox and Restylane into your wrinkles and creases, but short of surgery, there’s not a damn thing you can do about a neck. The neck is a dead giveaway. Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth.”
Nora Ephron is a literary giant, from creating and directing films like When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, among others.
Her writing is effortlessly simple and thrives on the maxim “less is more”. It is pegged on everyday experiences and is filled with sharp wit. For example, “If your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you,” or “Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of 35 you will be nostalgic for by the age of 45”.
I Feel Bad About My Neck is a short book, 162 pages to be precise, and can be read in one sitting.
Ephron writes about the impact of age on her body, hair, relationships, fashion sense, culinary skills and home choice, to mention but a few topics. In the process of exploring her thoughts, she writes conversationally, as though chatting with the reader.
Nora is a simple writer. She uses creativity of language to generate humour and set the wheels of thought rolling. She also makes ageing appear manageable and worthwhile.