I read this book for one reason – Nora Ephron wrote it. You know, Nora Ephron. She wrote You’ve Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally which are two of my absolute FAVORITE movies. I mean who does not love Meg Ryan in those roles? I mean she obviously didn’t create Meg Ryan but you get what I’m saying.
Anyway, while this book had some of the wit that made me love those movies, I left with the feeling that this book is schizophrenic. There were about fifteen essays total and several of them focused on getting older. I knew to expect this going in but I guess I expected something different. So much of what she talked about were vain attempts to look younger. Vain attempts characterized by the use of procedures, salon visits, and creams that are essentially a luxury of those with money. She came off as shallow and vain during a lot of these essays. At first I couldn’t tell whether she was intentionally being tongue in cheek or if she was serious. I somehow ended up with the impression that she was more on the serious side and this bothers me… A LOT. Granted I’m not even middle-aged yet, I like to think I’d be more accepting of what time will start to do to my body rather than attempting to dye and primp my way to looking younger. I’m not particularly looks obsessed now and hope to stay this way.
The parts of the book I really liked were those that recounted stories from here life sans the pitfalls of aging. There was more wit and less whining. My recommendation – pick up this book and then call me so I can tell you which essays to read.
Reading is one of the main things I do. Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after of day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.
Whenever you give up an apartment in New York and move to another city, New York turns into the worst version of itself. Someone I know once wisely said that the expression “It’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there” is completely wrong where New York is concerned; the opposite is true. New York is a very livable city. But when you move away and become a visitor, the city seems to turn against you. It’s much more expensive (because you need to eat all your meals out and pay for a place to sleep) and much more unfriendly. Things change in New York; things change all the time. You don’t mind this when you live here; when you live here, it’s part of the caffeinated romance to this city that never sleeps. But when you move away, your experience change as a betrayal. You walk up Third Avenue planning to buy a brownie at a bakery you’ve always been loyal to, and the bakery’s gone. Your dry cleaner move to Florida; your dentist retires; the lady who made the pies on West Fourth Street vanishes; the maitre d’ at P.J. Clarke’s quits, and you realize you’re going to have to start from scratch tipping your way into the heart of the cold, chic young woman now at the down. You’ve turned your back from only a moment, and suddenly everything’s different. You were an insider, a native, a subway traveler, a purveyor of inside tips into the good stuff, and now you’re just another frequent flyer, stuck in a taxi on Grand Central Parkway as you wing in and out of La Guardia. Meanwhile, you rad that Manhattan rents are going up, they’re climbing higher, they’re reached the stratosphere. It seems that the moment you left town, they put a wall around the place, and you will never manage to vault over it and get back into the city again.
“Here are some questions I am constantly noodling over: Do you splurge or do you hoard? Do you live every day as if it’s your last, or do you save your money on the chance you’ll live twenty more years? Is life too short, or is it going to be too long? Do you work as hard as you can, or do you slow down to smell the roses? And where do carbohydrates fit into all this? Are we really all going to spend our last years avoiding bread, especially now that bread in America is so unbelievable delicious? And what about chocolate?”
I live in New York City. I could never live anywhere else. The events of September 11 forced me to confront the fact that no matter what, I live here and always will. One of my favorite things about New York is that you can pick up the phone and order anything and someone will deliver it to you. Once I lived for a year in another city, and almost every waking hour of my life was spent going to stores, buying things, loading them into the car, bringing them home, unloading them, and carrying them into the house. How anyone gets anything done in these places is a mystery to me.