PA Nicole lent me the above book recently and I was all “Awww, I love Nora Ephron! When Harry Met Sally is my fave movie of all time! I can’t wait for some lulz to be served with a side of love…a fun romp!”.
Well guess what, guys. JOKE’S ON ME, because this book was so real, her depiction of aging so unflinching, that I cried while reading the last chapter. And have been living in fear of death and aging ever since.
The book, of course, is beautifully written. Some chapters, like her story about her love affair and subsequent “break up” with Bill Clinton as a political figure is hilarious, as well as her chapter entitled “Parenting in Three Stages”, which made me feel like I was actually learning what it would be like to raise children in a very real and honest way. The line from her story “What I Wish I’d Known”: “Never marry a man you wouldn’t want to be divorced from” was a revelation to me…it makes so much sense! There is wisdom and yes, lulz to be had in these pages, people.
But then…then. There is, “THE REALNESS”. Lines like “When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you” makes sense but also…makes me feel so sad? Pleadings on Ephron’s behalf for the young (according to her, 35 and younger) to appreciate our necks, our bikini ready bodies, and our quick minds are funny but also just make this almost 33 year old reader feel like my body is in a rapid process of degeneration.
Then there’s the last chapter. “Considering the Alternative”. In this story, Ephron talks about her best friend’s death; about how when you reach 60, death and illness become the norm amongst your friends. “Before you get sick, you have absolutely no idea of how you’re going to feel once you do. You can hope that you’ll find a way to accept death, but you could just as easily end up raging against it.” Simple words but oh, they bite! So real, so sad, so honest, ugh! I wanted laughs, not all this truth about how getting old and dying sucks!
And yet…while Nora tells us all how it is because no one else will (and that’s certainly true), I have to say that her humor and her hilarious comic timing show that getting old maybe doesn’t suck as much as she would have us believe. True, we will apparently get a roll around our stomachs that will never go away once we turn 55, and yes, at a certain age we will always be reaching for the name of the person we met the day before, but maybe if we are realistic about what’s happening, embrace it and laugh about it, everything will be ok!
As Ephron says, “LOL. Eat, drink and be merry. Seize the day. Life goes on.”
Verdict? Read the book, if you are not feeling worried about the future. Or, read it if you are, and realize that you’re not alone. I <3 Nora.