I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections, By Nora Ephron
Tips and tales from a wise old meat loaf
Sunday 27 February 2011
You don't have to be old to appreciate this collection of memories, aphorisms and stern good advice from America's favourite naughty aunt, the 69-year-old writer Nora Ephron.
In fact, if fearing new technology, having Google moments (it's like a Senior Moment, but you just Google it), and being really annoyed by the "Would you like another bottle of Pellegrino?" question in restaurants make one a senior citizen, then pass me the Lactaid and wake me up at teatime. Many of Ephron's observations will be snigger-out-loud familiar to men and women readers of more tender years; those that aren't already are worth close attention, because they probably will be, all too soon.
As the prolific author of bestselling books such as this one's predecessor, I Feel Bad About My Neck, the writer of films including Sleepless in Seattle and Heartburn, and the daughter of Hollywood semi-royalty, Ephron has had an action-packed life and known plenty of names to drop – if only she could remember them. Two brief chapters about tellers of tall tales make one wonder whether Ephron's own anecdotes are entirely true. But it doesn't matter; they contain truths of a much more important kind.
Reading this book is a little like being sat down by an older, wiser friend, who hands you a large gin and tonic and says: "Now listen carefully, because I haven't got much time." There are chapters called "Flops" (about her movies), "The Six Stages of Email" (v funny, lol) and "My Life as a Meat Loaf", about the time when Graydon Carter set up a restaurant and named the dish after her. "I'd hoped for a dance step, or a pair of pants," she reflects. "But I was older now, and I was willing to settle for a meat loaf." There are several short chapters each beginning "I Just Want To Say ...", about the egg-white omelette, Teflon, chicken soup, and "No, I do not want another bottle of Pellegrino". These are not meant to be confused with "something actually important, like the war in Afghanistan", but they also really must be stopped.
Chapters about her mother's alcoholism, sexism in her early journalism career, and her nearly inheriting a huge sum from her late uncle (a sum that would have prevented her finishing her career-defining screenplay for When Harry Met Sally) could have made memoirs in themselves, but like she says, Ephron is in a hurry.
She concludes with two lists: "What I Won't Miss" (dry skin; bad dinners; washing my hair; bras; funerals ...) and "What I Will Miss" (her kids; spring; fall; waffles; the concept of waffles ...).
"The realization that I may have only a few good years remaining has hit me with real force ..." concludes this lively, mischievous guide to life. "I try to say to myself, 'If this is one of the last days of my life, am I doing exactly what I want to be doing?' I aim low. My idea of a perfect day is a frozen custard at Shake Shack and a walk in the park. (Followed by a Lactaid [which prevents the bloating caused by digesting dairy, apparently].)"
Good advice indeed.
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'