Monday, October 30, 2006

Dame's Eye View

Check out Diane Johnsson's review of Nora Ephron's book of essays, I Feel Bad About My Neck. My favorite part is where Johnson takes a look at the other best-seller books on the landscape and makes this connection:

We might hope that the coincidence on the best-seller lists of Nora Ephron's funny, sisterly collection of essays I Feel Bad About My Neck and Thomas Ricks's Fiasco, a book that explores the mendacity, incompetence, and corruption of the war effort in Iraq, or, this week, Bob Woodward's State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III on the same subject, implies something encouraging about our national character—our realism and appetite for self-criticism. At least the success of these books reflects, beyond their intrinsic merit, our hunger for candor. Oscar Wilde said something about England being the capital of hypocrisy, but the US, outdoing England in many of the qualities we inherited from it, may have now surpassed it there, so that the rare appearance of truthfulness is gratefully rewarded wherever it should be found. Ephron addresses many commonplace hypocrisies, among them:

Why do people write books that say it's better to be older than to be younger? It's not better. Even if you have all your marbles, you're constantly reaching for the name of the person you met the day before yesterday. Even if you're in great shape, you can't chop an onion the way you used to....

I have to say, after reading Ephron's book and definitely feeling like I would have a marvelous time having tea with her, a real laugh riot actually, it was fun to see her personal dismay about age put into context of the larger public dismay over the Iraq war. And somehow, makes me feel less guilty about thoroughly enjoying her book and deciding to stick with reading the reviews of the others.

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