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I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50
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I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50 [Format Kindle]

Annabelle Gurwitch

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Descriptions du produit


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 outfit­ ted 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 hire more women, but go to your local store, and you’ll notice that the majority of the Geniuses are male.

“Is it a creative spelling of the first man, Adam? Is it a Sanskrit chant—Auuuduuuum? A percussive sound?”

“No,” he replies. “It’s pronounced autumn, like the season.”

“Are you in a band?”

“No, my mother gave me that name.”

“You belong to a generation of great names,” I tell him. I am thinking of the kids whose instruments I check out every Friday afternoon in the music department at my son’s school. Each stu­dent’s name is more interesting than the next: Lilit, Anush, Rea­son, Butterfly, Summer and Summer Butterfly, which seems like both a name and a tone poem. I make sure to repeat their names before wishing them a good weekend, reasoning that in classes of forty-five students, this might be the only moment in their school day when they get individually recognized. Or maybe I’m doing it because it’s just fun to recite their names out loud. Coming as I do from a generation of Mandys and Mindys, Lisas and Leslies, Au­Dum’s name is an instant clue that my Genius and I are separated by decades in which progenitors have gifted their offspring with intriguing names.

AuDum begins talking about his mother and I hold my breath, wondering if he will say that she is my age. Thankfully, he says she’s a bit older, sixty-two. She’s a speech pathologist who lives in Albuquerque and he admires her work. I am charmed by his ob­vious affection for his mother. He has been well cared for, I think, as I notice that he has good teeth. Braces? Maybe not, but defi­nitely regular dental care. As he examines my computer, he tells me my hard drive is dying.

“But it’s so young—it’s only a few years old.”

He explains that computer years are like dog years times three, making my computer only slightly younger than I am.

“But there were no outward signs. It was doing just fine until recently.”

“Nobody knows exactly why computers fail,” he tells me. “It’s not like people, who have a steady decline—the end can come without warning. You’re catching it just in time,” he says, adding, “do you have an external hard drive?” I tell him I do, thinking that if my Apple Time Machine* weren’t the size of a wallet I would jump inside it and go back in time so I could be his age. While I was there, I would also correct a few of the numerous er­rors in judgment I’ve made in my almost fifty years on the planet.

To start with, I would change all my PIN numbers, secret pass­words, and security codes to the exact same thing.† I also went door-to-door to register voters for John Kerry in 2004, made phone calls for John Edwards in 2000, and took pottery classes after the maudlin melodrama Ghost, with Demi Moore and Pat­rick Swayze, came out in 1990. I’m not sure which was the biggest

*The Apple Time Capsule, or Time Machine, is the most technically advanced and popular external hard-drive gadget Apple has on the market. I bought it because I liked the name.

†I would try to come up with one memorable code but not: 123456, 12345678, or Password, Pussy, or Baseball. A successful hack of millions of Yahoo accounts on July 12, 2012, revealed that’s what the majority of people use as passwords.

misstep, but a trip back in time could, at the very least, keep half a dozen ill-formed ashtrays out of California landfills.

Judging from his appearance, it seems a distinct and sobering possibility that AuDum Genius might have been born the same year I was throwing clay.

“So, how old are you?”


He is closer in age to my son than me by a decade. As he checks out my computer, I pepper him with questions. “What qualifies one to be a Genius? Is there much training? An IQ test?”

Just as he’s about to answer, another of his tribe, Sean Genius, comes over and deferentially asks what even I know to be a sim­ple question. “What do you do if someone forgets her iTunes password?” AuDum helps him out and I compliment him by not­ing that some Geniuses seem more gifted than others. He tells me that he was certified at the thirty-two-acre Apple campus, lo­cated at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California. The hotels are owned by Apple, the blankets have an Apple stamp, and would-be Geniuses eat on plates stamped with the Apple logo in Apple-owned cafés and are regularly whisked past restricted areas where classified research takes place. In fact, he will return for further training soon.

“Ooh,” I tease him excitedly. “You could be a spy, pretending you’re there to train, but you’re really sneaking in to collect intel for Intel. The James Bond of computer tech.”

He looks at me blankly. Clearly the reference to Bond doesn’t hold the kind of cachet it did for generations of men before him.

Should have said Jason Bourne. That’s when he suggests a radi­cal move.

“Are you up for it?”

“I am.”

He wants to strip my computer down completely and then carefully, slowly and deliberately, he will reload my hard drive. In order to make this work, I will have to agree to do everything he says, even if it sounds a bit unusual.

“In order to give something, we have to take something away,” he tells me. Is he quoting the Bible or a sacred Steve Jobsian aph­orism? I have no idea, but he had me at “reload.”

We will need to download any applications I use and the pro­cess may take all night. During that time, I shouldn’t do anything to harm or disturb the computer, he warns, or we’ll have to start all over again and can I manage that kind of painstaking process? I’m forty-nine years old, I have all of my own teeth, most of my wedding china is still intact, and the baby who was cut out of my abdomen while I was awake has made it to puberty under my watch, so yes, I think I can do that. I nod my assent, swallowing hard. He tells me to take everything off.

I remove my data silently and swiftly. He begins his maneu­vers, and I want to hear more about his mother.

“Were you always close, or did you find your way back to her as an adult?”

“Oh, we were on the same team until maybe thirteen or fourteen and then it got tough. She was having a hard time, too. She got divorced, changed careers, we moved around, but then things turned around after I went to college. Now we’re close.”

I take out a pen and paper to write his words down—like I’m an anthropologist taking field notes on the maturation process of young men. His grandmother died last month and his mother is “freaked” about being the oldest person left in her family. He’s been calling a lot to help her make peace with that.

His hands are nice, I notice, nails filed, but a quick glance down the counter shows me that all Geniuses have clean hands and filed nails. Maybe it’s code, like the way Disney once required employees at the park to be clean-shaven.* I may be looking at the last of the Apple manicures, but I hope not. It’s nice to see good grooming on twenty-somethings. It’s kind of old-school, or rather, my school.

His hands glide confidently over my keyboard, but my laptop keeps stalling so I have to keep reentering my password. I try to punch in the digits breezily, but he’s standing so close, right next to my crooked pinky, the one with osteoarthritis. The process is laborious as I attempt to type with my pinky tucked under my palm, hoping he doesn’t notice the swollen middle joint. It’s pos­sible, even probable, for someone so young to assume it’s broken or disfigured from a sports injury—at least I hope so. My Genius sets the download in motion, hands me my computer, and with a brief good-bye, he promises that we’ll finish what we started in

*In January 2012, under pressure from Disneyland Paris park employees who in­sisted on keeping their goatees, Disney gave up its no-facial-hair policy.

the morning. I exit, cradling my computer through the mall, into my car, and back home.

I am an impatient person. I’ve never managed to carry out complicated recipes or blow-dry my hair all the way to the back of my head, but I am on a mission, and when I arrive home I leave the computer to complete the process. I instruct both my husband and son not to disturb it under any circumstances.

That night, everything I do seems supercharged with new purpose.

The next morning, after driving my son to school, I shower and stand in my closet, wondering...

Revue de presse

“[A] rollicking collection of essays detailing the hazards encountered when a woman approaches 50…..Gurwitch tackles all of it all with aplomb. Her witty writing allows for deft exploration of even the most sensitive and intimate subjects while still finding the humor in her situation…These essays contain a devilish good dose of fun.” –Publisher’s Weekly

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

“Annabelle Gurwitch takes us on a tour of the cruelest American punishment—female middle age—and along the way manages to highlight the existential questions that haunt every woman turning 50. Read, if you dare, I See You Made an Effort, and you will exit laughing at this rich display of Vintage Annabelle.”—Caitlin Flanagan, author of Girl Land and Goodbye to All

“I so relate to this brilliant and wildly hilarious latest work by Annabelle Gurwitch that, sadly, I think there is a middle-aged woman's body trying to break out of my own.”
 —Richard Lewis

“The stories in Annabelle Gurwitch's book are unexpected, imaginative and her observations just plain cracked me up. It's so great it should be required reading for everyone between the ages of 40 and death. Scratch that—even after death it's a must-read.”
—Bill Maher

“In this heartfelt and hilarious book, Annabelle Gurwitch infuses her razor-sharp wit with uncommon vulnerability and grace. Gurwitch bravely shines a light into the darkest corners of her soul and somehow you still come away laughing. You will feel like you are curled up on her couch, sharing a glass of wine and doing that rare and wonderful thing: connecting.”
—Jillian Lauren, author of the New York Times bestselling Some Girls
“Comedy! Tragedy! Laughter! Tears! To be clear—more laughter than tears! Be warned: I See You Made An Effort is a book about the worst thing a person can do in America: get older. Even worse: Annabelle is getting older in Hollywood of all places. A tragedy and a crime. But relax, the ego-wrenching tales in this book are funny because they happened to her, not you—yet.”
—Bob Odenkirk
I See You Made an Effort is so funny, humble, and nutty that you'll wish Annabelle Gurwitch lived next door. I laughed and commiserated with all the indignities of getting a wee bit older in a youth-obsessed world. I teared up at her on-going frustrations with her teenager, which mirror my own. I enjoyed her open hostility and deep love toward her husband, which also (don't tell anyone) mirrors my own. After reading this book, you won't feel alone in your secret thoughts anymore. And you'll laugh really hard—the frosting on the cake!”
—Julia Sweeney, author of If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother
“Smart, hilarious, and deeply moving, I See You Made an Effort captures the highs (few) and lows (more than a few) of not just turning fifty, but turning fifty in our time. From “having work done,” to mothering a mortified teenage son, to revealing the truth about married sex, Gurwitch lays bare the harsh reality of hitting the half-century mark in a way that keeps you simultaneously laughing and turning pages.”
—Cathi Hanauer, author of Gone and editor of The Bitch in the House

“Hooray for Annabelle Gurwitch, whose funny and clear-eyed book proves that the best way to face aging is with copious amounts of laughter. Peals not peels!”
—Henry Alford, author of Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?
“Annabelle Gurwitch proves that fifty is the new funny! I See You Made an Effort is a hilarious romp through mid-life's ups and downs, sags and droops, younger men and rompers and the voices of our mothers.”
—Lisa Bloom, author of Think and Swagger
“Annabelle Gurwitch was always one of my favorite actresses, and now she's become one of my favorite writers. Her riff on living at “the intersection of feminism and Feministing” stayed with me. With as much heart as social commentary, I See You Made an Effort is ultimately not about aging out of anything—it's about aging into a bigger and better version of yourself than your younger self ever imagined.”
—Jill Soloway, director, producer of Grey’s Anatomy and Six Feet Under, and author of Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants

“Annabelle Gurwitch is the child prodigy of the literature on aging. At the youthful age of fifty, when most of us are stealthily burning our AARP magazines so the neighbors don't find them in the recycling, she has figured out how to make the humiliations of aging hilarious. The only downside of this book is that it is bound to deepen your laugh lines.”
—Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed

“Annabelle Gurwitch’s I See You Made An Effort is a little like going to get a mammogram with Lucille Ball.”
—Jeanne Darst, author of Fiction Ruined My Family
“Annabelle Gurwitch stares into the maw of middle age and makes you laugh, cringe, hoot and holler. She turns fifty into a battle cry and a hallelujah.”
—Felicity Huffman
“Whip smart and Ephron-funny, I See You Made an Effort is beautifully written and tender-hearted. It's a love letter in your pocket for the inevitable journey that lies ahead.”
—Jane Kaczmarek


Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 991 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 244 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0399166181
  • Editeur : Blue Rider Press (6 mars 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°179.638 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.0 étoiles sur 5  110 commentaires
24 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 THANK YOU 6 mars 2014
Par Dani Klein Modisett - Publié sur
Someone is telling the truth about what it means to be a 50 year old woman in our increasingly youth obsessed culture. And not just any someone, but someone really funny and courageous. Annabelle Gurwitch's keen eye for detail (and humiliation) made me laugh out loud many times. It also did what my favorite books do which is help me feel a little less alone. Anyone within a stone's throw of middle age will want this on their bedside table, like a great friend whispering, "Yes, you may, in fact, be considered old now in most places other than your mother's Alzheimer's support group, but it's okay, you can still laugh."
13 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Hits the "G" spot; Glib, Generous and Good 6 mars 2014
Par Pop Bop - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
There are a number of just-turned-30,or 40,or 50 humor books out there, and almost all of them have their engaging aspects. They do display a considerable range of styles, from the purely jokey to the angsty and way too self-involved. This book is a nice antidote to those two extremes because it is at times both funny and insightful in a rueful and self-deprecating way. By that I mean Ms. Gurwitch knows her way around a one-liner and around an extended goof of a story, (see "AuDum at the Apple Genius Bar"), but she also has a handle on wry commentary on the state of the recently 50. The emphasis is on wry commentary - there's no over the top hysteria, no relentless kvetching, no excess. We all get older, and some of the stuff associated with that is funny, or at least can be given a good-humored spin. That's what's going on here, and it is all done with honesty, a keen eye for the absurd, and a grown up appreciation of people and their foibles and preoccupations. So, if you'd like a gentle, humorous reminder that you aren't alone as you hit 50, this could be a very nice choice.
Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Ouch! and Ouch Ouch! 29 avril 2014
Par Karen K. Little - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Annabelle really nailed what it is like to grow older in the workforce and how prejudice (even our own against ourselves) plays a part. I was sorry that she had some facial work done (justified because she is an actor/comedian) and wish she had read her own book before paying.

I'm looking forward to reading other books by Annabelle and seeing her perform on YouTube.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 disappointed 24 mai 2014
Par L S Jenkins - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I saw the author on TV and thought she was bright and funny. While her book is funny in parts, it also contains a lot of complaining and whining. She never has enough money; is afraid of getting older (problems with parents, son, doctor, face, husband (etc.) Her sense of humor got lost in all the complaining and regrets. Sorry, I was prepared to like this book more, but it started to become onerous to read.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 fun reading for 50. 30 avril 2014
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Laughed out loud. As a 50 something myself, I could totally relate. Will put a smile on your face. Thanks for making 50 funny
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