Summary and book reviews of I See You Made an Effort by Annabelle Gurwitch

I See You Made an Effort

Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50

by Annabelle Gurwitch

I See You Made an Effort by Annabelle Gurwitch X
I See You Made an Effort by Annabelle Gurwitch
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2014, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2015, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Suzanne Reeder
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About this Book

Book Summary

Scorchingly honest, surreally and riotously funny, I See You Made an Effort is the ultimate coming-of-middle-age story and a must-read for women of all ages. Reading glasses not included.

Actress and humorist Annabelle Gurwitch returns with I See You Made an Effort, a book of essays so wickedly funny it may make you forget your last birthday. Not one to shy away from the grisly realities of middle age, the "slyly subversive" (O, The Oprah Magazine) Gurwitch confronts the various indignities faced by femmes d'un certain age with candor, wit, and a healthy dose of hilarious self-deprecation. 

Whether falling in lust at the Genius bar, navigating the extensive - and treacherously expensive - anti aging offerings at a department-store beauty counter, coping with the assisted suicide of her best friend, negotiating the ins and outs of acceptable behavior with her teenage kid, or the thudding financial reality of the "never-tirement" generation that leads her to petty theft, Gurwitch's essays prove her a remarkably astute writer in her prime (in so many ways). Is this the beginning of the Eileen Fisher years? Where does one conduct an affair with a younger man? Is 50 the new 40? Or is 50 still just 50?

Scorchingly honest, surreally and riotously funny, I See You Made an Effort is the ultimate coming-of-middle-age story and a must-read for women of all ages. Reading glasses not included.

Excerpt
I See You Made an Effort

My computer was moving sluggishly. A year ago, upon pressing the start button, my machine swiftly jumped to attention. Now the familiar sight of documents dotting the photograph of my thirteen-year-old son was replaced by a black bar inching across a dull gray expanse, like an octogenarian with a walker creeping through an intersection. Then the software failed to load altogether. It was going to take a stroke of genius to get it working again.

The Glendale Galleria Apple Store is staffed by a crew whose average age could be summed up as: if you have to ask, you're too old to want to hear the answer. After checking in, I am told my personal genius will meet me at the Bar.* Homo genius are outfitted uniformly in T-shirts announcing their membership in an elite tech-savvy species. Mine sports a headband, which artfully musses his hair. He is wearing a name tag that reads "AuDum." I ask him how he pronounces it.

*Word on the street is Apple wants to ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

No matter what your age, if you like your comedy subtle, even on the dry side, these essays may not be for you. But if you're searching for unsparing, often hysterical frankness, I See You Made an Effort just might reflect some of your own experiences or serve as reassurance that what's ahead may not be so bad, as long as you do what Gurwitch's gynecologist told her: Stay funny.   (Reviewed by Suzanne Reeder).

Full Review (799 words).

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Media Reviews

NPR
A seriously funny collection of essays about teetering over the edge of 50…Gurwitch is squarely in Nora Ephron territory.

New York Times
Annabelle Gurwitch is a funny woman….At the center of the book is a serious question: How are we supposed to age? She convincingly argues that there is no longer a template.

Publishers Weekly
These essays contain a devilish good dose of fun and more than a dash of agita for those approaching and beyond the half-century mark.

Library Journal
Cutting in a funny way.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

A Short Glossary for the 21st Century

Throughout Annabelle Gurwitch's book of essays about life for women on the edge of 50, I See You Made an Effort, she references several terms that are gradually or quickly catching on in contemporary conversation. Here are some examples.

Boomeritis refers to injuries in older athletes, especially Baby Boomers, born at the end of World War II when there was a marked increase in the birthrate. As this generation began turning 40 and 50, there was a significant rise of injuries and ailments. In 1999, Dr. Nicholas A DiNubile, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, coined a term for these events, Boomeritis. In an article in The New York Times, DiNubile said, "Baby boomers are falling apart—developing ...

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