I read a book

Don't be shocked.

I Feel Bad About My Neck

I love Ms. Ephron, and her sister too.
When I read her sister's books, for reasons unknown to me now, I thought they were my private treasures and that I was the only person in the world who read them and understood them.
Now, while reading this, I was older and wiser -
I believe Ms. Ephron is channeling MY thoughts.
Not that we've ever met or anything.
I'm SURE of it.
She was totally writing about me when she wrote Heartburn.
True, I've never lived in Washington, was never married to a cad, and I never was a divorced writer living in New York City.
None of that was my life.
There was only one tiny moment of my life in that film - it was the scene where they are having the baby and she is heartbreakingly sad, but they are having a baby....
Happily for us, it wasn't about our marriage, but Nora touched me then, or Meryl Streep did, I suppose, capturing awful heartbreak at a time when things should be wonderful.

ANYWAY, I read a damn book and you should all stand on your chairs (right NOW) and say woot.
Because I don't read.
I don't have the patience, unless I'm on vacation, to read a tome when I can just clickclickclick around and see what you are all up to.

Nora and I (and, yes, I CAN call her Nora) agree completely regarding handbags:

This is for women whose purses are a morass of loose Tic Tacs, solitary Advils, lipsticks without tops, ChapSticks of unknown vintage, little bits of tobacco even though there has been no smoking going on for at least ten years, tampons that have come loose from their wrappings, English coins from a trip to London last October...Kleenexes that either have or have not been used but there's no way to be sure...

I have a whole post in my head about the tampon which has come loose from it's wrapping and how I need to re-thread it while hovering over a rest-stop toilet.
(There, now you know the punch line.)

She is speaking with my voice (and I'm sure she's not pleased at the sound of it) when she writes about Parenting In Three Stages...
...Suddenly, one day, there was this thing called parenting. Parenting was serious, parenting was fierce. Parenting was solemn. Parenting was a participle, like going and doing and crusading and worrying; it was active and energetic, it was unrelenting. Parenting meant playing Mozart CD's while you were pregnant, doing without the epidural, and breast-feeding your child until it was old enough to unbutton your blouse...

She wrote so vividly about her apartment that the night I read it I dreamed about our first apartment. Of course K and I didn't pay ten thousand dollars a month for our apartment, but it was old and quirky and had wonderful space.

What I Wish I’d Known

People have only one way to be.

Buy, don’t rent.

Never marry a man you wouldn’t want to be divorced from.

Don’t cover a couch with anything that isn’t more or
less beige.

Don’t buy anything that is 100 percent wool even if it
seems to be very soft and not particularly itchy when you try it on in the store.

You can’t be friends with people who call after 11 p.m.

Block everyone on your instant mail.

The world’s greatest babysitter burns out after two and a half years.

You never know.

The last four years of psychoanalysis are a waste of money.

The plane is not going to crash.

Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age
of thirty-five you will be nostalgic for at the age of forty- five.

At the age of fifty-five you will get a saggy roll just
above your waist even if you are painfully thin.

This saggy roll just above your waist will be especially visible from the back and will force you to reevaluate half the clothes in your closet, especially the white shirts.

Write everything down.

Keep a journal.

Take more pictures.

The empty nest is underrated.

You can order more than one dessert.

You can’t own too many black turtleneck sweaters.

If the shoe doesn’t fit in the shoe store, it’s never going to fit.

When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.

Back up your files.

Overinsure everything.

Whenever someone says the words “Our friendship is more important than this,” watch out, because it almost never is.

There’s no point in making pie crust from scratch.

The reason you’re waking up in the middle of the night is the second glass of wine.

The minute you decide to get divorced, go see a lawyer and file the papers.


Never let them know.

If only one third of your clothes are mistakes, you’re ahead of the game.

If friends ask you to be their child’s guardian in case they die in a plane crash, you can say no.

There are no secrets.

It's one of the best lists I've ever read and I agree with every single one.
Except, maybe, the part about the dog.


Badger said…
Look at you, all joining the cognoscenti and shit!

I keep waiting for this book to show up at my local Half Price.

I ALREADY HAVE the saggy roll. At FORTY.

Saoirse said…
I read this, too. Loved it. It was one of the books we read in my Book Club (meet monthly, going on 10 years now). Timing is the thing with the dog: don't wait to get one until your kids are teenagers because when they go off to college, you're left running home at lunch or right after work to take care of the dog! If you're going to get a dog, do it when they're young. Unfortunately, on the 1/3 of clothese being mistakes, I'm way ahead in that number. As a matter of fact, big project this coming weekend is to PURGE closets of old clothes--even if I EVER do fit back in them, harem pants are just never really going to come back!
Also, try reading "Crazy Salad" by Nora Ephron--it first came out in the 70's but was reissued a few years ago. Some of it seems pretty dated, but I recently reread it and enjoyed it. Don't know your age (not asking): I'm 49 and loved it.
Paula said…
I loved the book (and you know how I feel about you and Nora).

I like dogs, love them even,and I do believe in pie crust from scratch though.

I will try to make friends with my neck, crape-y-ness and all.
Jennifer said…
hah! I was wondering where you'd put in there that you didn't agree about the dog!

I really enjoyed reading this.
MizMell said…
I agree with the list, too. But the part about the dog as well, ESPECIALLY if you have teenagers in the house. I still have the dog,(kids are gone) and most days he's still glad to see me.
MsCellania said…
This is so true.
And very lovely to read today.
Anonymous said…
Absolutely NO DOG for me. Thank you very much. I don't care how lonely I can feel when I get home.
I always overtip, but don't back up (ooops) and don't get me started on rolls...OK?
I'm standing on my chair facing the sea and...

Anonymous said…
I agree with just about everything especially the saggy roll. I don't have a dog; my cats are happy to see me when I come home. My 11-year-old is usually happy to see me, too.

And somewhere in the back of my mind, I'm really looking forward to the empty nest.

When I saw the movie Heartburn, it unhinged me. I sobbed all the way through it and then for hours afterwards. What upset me was not only the part about her leaving her husband when they had little children but the construction guy (Yakov Smirnov?) who sort of took their house apart and then never showed up to work and there was something about him having cancer, so they had to feel sorry for him and not bug him to finish whatever he was doing to their house.
Alice said…
Does knowing this when I'm younger mean I'm ahead of the game??
Annagrace said…
I second Alice--there's hope for us kids, right? I've always believed that there are no secrets. Unfortunately.
Stephanie said…
I love your review, thank you. I'm going to put it on my hold list at the Library.
Anonymous said…
Pie crust not from scratch is an abomination. But otherwise, i agree. but i am a young'un yet.
Anonymous said…
i am a reader but this is one that i listen to on books-on-cd, checked out from the library, while running errands over the past few days.
loved it too, fun to hear it in her own voice, and laughed out loud many times, and like you-thought she might be following me.
Anonymous said…
You KNOW I think the empty nest is awesome. And, sadly, I also have that saggy roll thing going on. And it PISSES ME OFF.
Anonymous said…
The Ephrons!
They're wonderful, these sisters, aren't they?
The youngest turned out a book that I just love...one family and all this talent, it floors me.
But I thought Nora was mine, bb--seems she's been two-timing me all along, since you and zillions of other women say the same thing as I: she has my voice!
That's the wonder of those Ephron chicks: they know this trick in which they can sound like Everywoman. And isn't it great?

Reading an Ephron book or play or poem is like running into that college girlfriend you had, the one you shared everything with, and more, but because of a now forgotten misunderstanding, you went in different directions and lost one another.
Finding an Ephron is like finding that lost girlfriend.

And btw, this book is the one I told my daughter I'd like very much for my birthday. Of course she asked, first--but if she hadn't, I'd have hinted that she get me this book, every time I talked to her.

I'm glad to see from your post, bb, that it will meet my hopes for an enjoyable friendly girlfriend kind of read.


Anonymous said…
More about Nora Ephron: I just read saiorse's comment up there and I'm so relieved to know that Crazy Salad came out in the seventies, because I was sure I read it a a long time ago.
And while I don't rememember much that matters (to me or anyone else), I always remember the names of books I read.
I saw,though, on Amazon that Crazy Salad was published in 2001, and I thought "No, I read that way way back when..."
So this must be a reissue.

I hope it's the same as the 70's version?

Because I think I want to read it again (it was hilarious; a chapter on breasts I remember well), along with Heartburn, which I've never ever read. Ever.
Which is a good thing, since I need some new books.

gabbi said…
I've been wanting to read that book for ages... your post has inspired me to finally track down a copy!