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Publisher's Summary

Actress and humorist Annabelle Gurwitch returns with I See You Made an Effort, a collection 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 âge 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 listen for women of all ages.

©2014 Annabelle Gurwitch (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved. Recorded by arrangement with Blue Rider Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable memoir by a comedienne, not a comedy

This is a great "coming of age" memoir, but just a different age than we are used to. Covers the full spectrum of life from the competing demands from kids and parents, career and family, financial security versus artistic satisfaction. While she is often funny, this is not a comedy so some people may be put off by that. But comediennes are people and they have real lives that includes more than telling jokes.
She goes into brutal detail about the indignities of aging. Not only the physical shortcomings of failing eyesight, sleep creases that don't go away for hours, vaginal dryness to the diminishing respect when aging in a youth obsessed industry. I am 45 so I am just starting this god forsaken chapter, don't know if I would appreciate it as much if I were too much younger.
The only thing I didn't like was the coverage of her time in a cult. It was ancient history but somehow she put it in, perhaps feeling like she had to cover it to be honest about her past but I didn't think it added anything. Also, I wanted to know who her rich successful friend was!!! I thought maybe Bill Maher because they are close, but then she mentioned wife. Didn't think it was Seinfeld, but maybe. Anyway rich and famous friend- your secret is safe with Annabelle!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun read

Though the facts of my life could not be further from Gurwitch's, her observations about life as a woman at 50 are spot on, funny, and touching. Well worth the listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I laughed a lot...for a 53 year old woman

Where does I See You Made an Effort rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best performed, funniest memoirs I've listened to. Right up there with David Sedaris, Kristen Johnson (Guts) and that wonderful British woman (How to Be a Woman, I think).

What did you like best about this story?

This is a book for late female boomers -- I was born in 1960 and I think Gurwitch was born in 1961 or '62.

What does Annabelle Gurwitch bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her cadence, pacing, wry tone.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

One Pathetic Effort

Really good comics find the unique gems of human behavior and show them to us in new ways or with unique language. This book is far from that and probably has been conceived to pay the rent. There are no unique observations, twists on old stories or insights that touch human understanding. The author seems to be drifting through life with little direction and demonstrates no ability or interest in grabbing hold to shape her future. On the plus side she seems to be a good friend, average mom and lacks resentment of the success others have achieved. If not for a book club I would have dropped this in the middle of chapter 1. I would offer the book to people thinking about the entertainment industry as a career as this example is fairly typical of those who hold on too long to a world that will only ever serve crumbs to them.

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Such a Pleasant Surprise

I loved everything about this book. It was like having a best friend with me on all my travels, except that best friend is hilariously hysterical with her internal dialogue shared externally. I actually found myself delaying reading it, because I didn’t want it to end. Annabelle gave me such insight on turning 50, that I’m now walking around at age 32 thinking of the ways the skincare industry will be pouncing on me, their innocent, naive victim, at any time. Seriously, this book is a gem. It was on a weekly email list of “Books we’re reading this week” which I rarely have time to read. But I’m so glad I did. Now I just need her to write another one so our one sided friendship can continue.

AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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I see you made...

Love this stream of consciousness writing style. Lots of great observations on aging as a woman in America, in addition to insights into trying to work as an aging actress in Hollywood. The lack of parts for actresses is awful, but Ms. Gurwitch has so much skill as a writer, she should create scripts. She is also an excellent audiobook reader.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Shoot soda out your nose one minute, cry the next.

Would you listen to I See You Made an Effort again? Why?

Yes, it was genuinely both funny and touching. I'd like to revisit this book in about 10 years, when I'm well into my 60s, to see if what I think about my 50s has changed.

What was one of the most memorable moments of I See You Made an Effort?

Listening to Gurwitch talk about watching her dear friend dying of cancer was a tearful counterpoint to the overall hilarity of the book, but you can't talk about turning 50 without discussing death.

Which scene was your favorite?

I think the whole dating consultant chapter had me in stitches from start to finish. A custom-made perfume that was "a Proustian blend of bubble gum and vagina"--sheer genius.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

In a world where everyone is a beautiful 20 something, hidden away by media and those who can jump on trampolines without peeing their pants, is an entire society of *gasp* people in middle age.

Any additional comments?

I really loved this book, and I was so glad to hear Gurwitch herself reading it. If I were as funny and as insightful as the author, I could have written this book. Arthritis, raising teens, middle aged sex, dating over 40, aging parents, career stereotypes, and the threat of not having enough money for retirement--she covered it all. Most of it was laugh-out-loud hysterical, and a few sections will have you weeping. As funny as "Fired" with the pathos that only being 50 can bring. Recommend.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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The truth sbout turning 50

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

My impression was that it was a stand up comedy routine stretched out to fill the pages of a book. Not great literature but a few funny spots.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I read it as a book club member and was glad I had gotten through it.

Have you listened to any of Annabelle Gurwitch’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

nope

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not all that funny

Would you try another book from Annabelle Gurwitch and/or Annabelle Gurwitch?

Probably not.

Would you be willing to try another one of Annabelle Gurwitch’s performances?

No

Was I See You Made an Effort worth the listening time?

Nope....stoped being funny after a very short time.

Any additional comments?

Audio quality was not great. Did not sound professional.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Kind of off-putting

It had its moments, but all in all, it left me cold. The author has had a long career in Hollywood, and I would have been interested to hear more about that, but the focus of the book- how awful it is to be almost 50, and what it means for her nether regions, pretty much dominated the book. Why do those in Hollywood think its suddenly really funny to say the word 'vagina' casually? I don't get it. I thought the idea that women have causal and funny conversations with each other about their most intimate body parts was an invention of Judd Apatow and his crew. I would say her ubiquitous use of the phrase 'my vagina' was a generational thing but she is only 3 years younger than me. Its just not funny. I don't accept the misogynistic view that women are not as funny as men- but I also know that women who try to be as funny as men by trying to out-gross them are just not very interesting.

2 of 6 people found this review helpful