Thursday, July 19, 2012

Women (Book Review: I Hate Everyone by Joan Rivers and I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron)

While on holiday the past two weeks, I found myself reading two books by two women, and I swear it was purely coincidental, or was it? Maybe some kind of energy was pulling me towards their books. 

The first one, which I read on the plane, was Joan Rivers' "I Hate Everyone...Starting With Me."  I am prefacing by declaring myself a  "Joan Ranger,"  which is what she calls her fans. I have been a fan of hers since way back, and have more or less followed most things she has done. I don't really like what she has been doing of late (never liked her Celebrity Apprentice gigs and most stuff after) but I think she deserves to do whatever she wants to do at this point. This book is a collection of things she hates, and it goes on and on and on. While I am sure the material works well with her stand-up routine, I found that on paper, it read very bitter and angry. Without her wink-wink delivery, it just did not engage me in a positive manner. The book was full of fillers, and I felt like she was trying to extend a very flimsy idea for a whole book. I still love her - I love survivors, and she is definitely one - and I hope she releases a more personal book soon. I remember being floored by her autobiography a while back. 

The recent passing of Nora Ephron made me want to finally read her last book, " I Remember Nothing, And Other Reflections." I read Lena Dunham's touching essay  recently and thought it was thoughtful and made me realize that Ms. Ephron touched a lot of people's lives. (I remember Steve Martin tweeted that he could not post jokes because he was still thinking of her)  This book is more a collection essays and it offers offers a glimpse of what is inside Ms. Ephron's mind, and while I may not agree with some of her thoughts, I appreciate her wry and funny tone.  She talks about failed marriages, rough childhood, missing chandeliers all in the same breathe and they are always interesting. Her kind of writing almost seems old-fashioned nowadays. In this age of blogging, her detailed essays seem too detailed, broadly thought out. It ends in a bittersweet manner - wherein she lists all the things she will and will not miss when she leaves the world. I wonder if she was already sick when she was writing this book, as it had a slight tone of foreboding in the end. This is personal writing at its very best, and it made me want to check out her other books. It made me lament the world losing her.


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