Crazy Salad by Nora Ephron
Oh, Nora Ephron. What is this ridiculous world going to do without you?
Here’s the strange thing: I’d already prescribed some Nora Ephron
essays for myself, and this book was sitting on my shelf, just waiting for me
to pick it up, when I heard her name at the beginning of a news update on NPR (never a good sign: the name being mentioned first), and I thought, “Please don’t let her have died.” And damn it
I’m feeling dreadfully cross that she’s gone, because I think this world needs more of her humor and more of her humanity.
Y’all, we’re just gonna have to step up and try our
darndest to disburse humor and humanity, because this world needs it. And we can kickstart our systems by reading Ephron’s wry, funny, occasionally scathing, always smart writing.
This collection of short essays, which begins with one about bras,
is freaking hilarious. The woman had a way with words, and it was unusual for 10 pages to go by without my laughing out loud.
The book was published in the ’70s, and lots of the essays have that First Wave Feminism thing going on—and it’s the positive kind of feminism that needn’t be scaring the menfolk.
Seriously. In that essay about bras, she wasn’t wanting to burn hers—she was writing about her agony in wanting to actually need one as a teenager.
She also writes about some notable Watergate personalities: Rose Mary Woods (subject of my most favorite political cartoon ever
) in an essay called “Rose Mary Woods—The Lady or the Tiger?” and Martha Mitchell (“Crazy Ladies: II”). And there’s a remarkable little thing about Julie Nixon Eisenhower being the perfect political daughter. (See: scathing, mentioned above.)
But truly, the most delightful thing in her writing is Ephron’s own voice. That lady was funny. And smart. And funny.