by Spencer Merolla

Please Put On a Bikini Immediately

Some 31 years ago Nora Ephron began her book of essays on women’s issues by lamenting her too-small breasts and describing them as the “hang-up of [her] life.” In 2006, her concern has shifted up 10 inches to her neck. “Uh oh,” I thought, upon reading this first essay. And it seems I have nothing to look forward to in the years to come. Fortunately, my concerns were unwarranted. In her new collection of essays, I Feel Bad About My Neck (Alfred A. Knopf, S20.00), Ephron offers a smart, delightful and, at times, poignant reflection on aging and womanhood. Ephron, a novelist, essayist (Wallflower at the Orgy, Crazy Salad) and screenwriter (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle), turns her attention in these hilarious essays to such varied topics as her adversarial relationship with her handbag, an uneventful internship at the Kennedy White House, and the Sisyphean task of maintaining one’s physical appearance as time marches on. “Maintenance,” Ephron writes, “is what they mean when they say, ‘After a certain point, it’s just patch patch patch.’”

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