Find: Two Books for Grown-ups’ Big Birthdays (Nora Ephron)


The following post is being republished in memory of Nora Ephron, who brought us some of our favorite movies (“When Harry Met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” etc.) but whose books are just as delightful. Her last book, I Remember Nothing, is another great read that you should share with your mom.

Like it or not, every 10 years we get an “odometer rollover” and move into a new age bracket. Sure, forty is the new thirty, or sixty is the new fifty, but these platitudes aren’t much comfort when you’re the one with the flaming candles.There are two great books for big birthdays, whether you want laugh with (at?) your aging friend or need something to pull you out of your own self absorption.

You’re Only Old Once, a Book for Obsolete Children by Dr. Seuss is perfect for a senior relative or a good-humored friend who can appreciate the exagerration. This book was actually released on the author’s 82nd birthday and inspired by his experience enduring a series of medical tests. If you’ve got a friend who’s complaining about an upcoming routine mammogram or your husband fears the colorectal screening (and what man doesn’t skip annual physicals for fear of The Glove), let Dr. Seuss offer a humorous look at the indignities of medical procedures. This book should be in every proctologist’s waiting room.

(I’ve ordered it as a 70th birthday gift for a favorite uncle and I’ve read it gleefully with the kids. It’s hard to say who enjoys it most, the kids or the grandparents who really relate to the tale.)

For your mom or a girlfriend who is horrified to be buying potions that claim to visibly reduce fine lines, Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck is a classic. I’d say it’s perfect for any woman facing the big 4-0 and pretty much any year after that. You know screenwriter Ephron from the Meg Ryan movies When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail.  Her most recent movie was last year’s Julie and Julia.

Believe me when I say the book is a treat for any woman who has ever tired of her purse and is especially funny for moms. It’s a short read and has been a best seller so long you can find it used with no trouble.

Note: Nora Ephron relates my favorite ever “Aha! Moment” in Oprah. The lesson she shares is so true of us moms who feel like everybody’s problem is somehow ours to solve.