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When You Lie About Your Age, the Terrorists Win: Reflections on Looking in the Mirror [Hardcover]

Carol Leifer
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

March 10 2009
Stand-up comic and comedy writer Carol Leifer faced a critical dilemma and had only two options: either continue sharing her greatest childhood memory (seeing the Beatles at Shea Stadium in 1966) or lie about her age. But the choice soon became clear: “I see now that when you deny your age, you deny yourself, and when you lie about your age, you become your inauthentic twin. But most important, when you lie about your age, they win. (And of course by ‘they,’ I mean the terrorists).” Now, in this uproarious book, Leifer reveals all—her age, her outlook, her life philosophy—no holds barred.

• On technology: “I am overwhelmed by anything that involves a cord.”
• On motherhood: “Never put your baby’s length on a birth announcement. It’s a baby, not a marlin.”
• On collagen injections: “Your lips are not meant to be flotation devices for your face in case it capsizes.”
• On tattoos: “If you plan on having your lover’s name tattooed on your arm, always leave room before it for a possible ‘I Hate’ down the road.”
• On etiquette: “Never refer to a woman as ‘ma’am,’ even if she’s ninety years old. Nobody likes it.”

After years of stand-up and a wave of successful television shows, Carol Leifer finally (and hilariously) puts it all down on paper–the wise thoughts, witty stories, and wonderfully way-out observations guaranteed to have you nodding in agreement and laughing out loud in sheer delight.

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Review

“This book reflects the wise, knowing person Carol has become, and the hysterically funny one she always was. I recommend it highly - its strong enough for a man...but made for a woman. I couldn’t put it down.”—Bill Maher

“These essays have stirred in me a foreign, disgusting and heretofore dormant urge to hug someone, in this case the author. If I become human as a result of reading this, so help me God I will sue her for every dollar she makes from this profound, insightful, and hilarious book.”—Larry David

“I discovered Carol Leifer at an open mike night in the late 70's on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  It didn't take me two seconds to realize how special her talent is.  (Two seconds, that's how good I am, by the way).   But she really has one of the most uniquely hilarious minds of anyone I've ever met.  We have worked together on countless projects.  If you have never heard how she thinks, this book is the perfect introduction.”—Jerry Seinfeld

“Deeply honest, inspiring, and funny. This is a book about the unpredictability of life and finding yourself that is written by a very, very funny woman. Read this now before it's made into a movie, so you can join me in saying, "I liked the book better!"
Trust me: I'm generally as accurate as Seinfeld. It's really a winner.”—Garry Shandling

“Carol and I go way back. I'm not exactly sure what that means but we've known each other for a long time. Here's what I know about Carol. She's funny, she's smart, she's kind and she's a good writer. You will find out all of those things for yourself when you read this book. I laughed, I cried, (but that's because I leaned back laughing and hit my head on the wall). I think you'll enjoy this book as much as I did-except for the part when I hit my head.”—Ellen DeGeneres

“You'll love this. It's the best book ever.”—Chris Rock

“Carol Leifer is one of the most sane funny folks around—her book is full of love light and laughter. Her take on the world will make u smile and warm your heart. So buy it already.”—Rosie O'Donnell

“Carol Leifer's book is the perfect antidote to aging. If laughter is the best medicine, then her writing is an amazing beauty treatment. It's like a clay mask for the soul.”—Margaret Cho

About the Author

Carol Leifer is an accomplished stand-up comedian and an Emmy-nominated writer and producer for her work on such television shows as Seinfeld, The Larry Sanders Show, Saturday Night Live, and the Academy Awards. She has starred in several of her own comedy specials, which have aired on HBO, Showtime, and Comedy Central. Her “big break” came when David Letterman unexpectedly showed up one night at the Comic Strip in New York City and caught Carol’s show. His visit led to her making twenty-five guest appearances on Late Night with David Letterman. Carol has also been seen on The Tonight Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. She starred in and created the WB sitcom Alright Already. She lives in Santa Monica with her partner, their son, and their seven rescue dogs.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When You Lie About Your Age Aug. 20 2009
By Tami Brady HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
When You Lie about Your Age, the Terrorists Win is absolutely hilarious. In this book, comedian Carol Leifer, talks openly about her life. Like us all, life has thrown her a few curve balls. For instance she found her life partner by having a lesbian fling, she decided to become a parent in her late forties, and realized that she was an animal person (subsequently rescuing quite a pack of pets).

Life is full of surprises. At the time, some may seem tragic or utterly confusing. Yet, Carol shows that everything has a humorous side. We can cry or we can choose to laugh.

I highly recommend When You Lie about Your Age, the Terrorists Win. This book will make you laugh. Like me, you'll leave this book feeling just a bit better about life and the inevitability of getting older.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  75 reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genuinely funny, smart and warm --- I'm in crush April 30 2009
By Jesse Kornbluth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
There are people who think Nora Ephron is funny. I am not among them, but taste is subjective --- my idea of a thigh slapper may be your idea of a bummer. Doesn't matter. What counts is only that we laugh.

Carol Leifer, I contend, is really funny. Funny in a way that Ms. Ephron isn't, for Ephron is an insider and an elitist, whereas Leifer has the common touch. That is, she comes from Long Island, her father was an optometrist, she grew up drinking frozen orange juice ("a quarter of the price and it's the same thing," her father insisted). She became the comic that her dad always wanted to be. Wrote for "Seinfeld", where she was known as "the real Elaine" (the character played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus). David Letterman adores her. (Odd fact: She bought, at auction, the handwritten notes that Michael Vick used in court when he apologized for his role in dogfighting.)

Carol Leifer, in a word, is funny like someone you know would be funny. Smart funny. Clever funny. But even more, funny in the heart --- funny like a really nice person is funny.

You see this right off, in a memorial piece about her father, who died, at age 86, watching "Sixty Minutes". On his birthday, she tells us in the first paragraph, she used to give him Godiva chocolate-covered nuts. "Big emphasis on the nuts," she explains. "Because, as he was not shy of saying as he unwrapped the cellophane to grab the first piece, `Creams? They're a waste of time.'" And with that, I felt: I know this man.

The nominal subject of her book is aging --- she was 50 when she wrote most of these pieces, and her father's death is no small event. She carries out her obligation to her nominal subject and, for example, does a good job of listing "40 Things I Know at 50". Like: "When a waiter asks you to taste the wine and you're clueless, sip it and then say, "Yeah, that should get me hammered.'" And: "Never buy Sweet `N Low, Equal or Splenda at the supermarket. That's what restaurants are for."

But the centerpiece of the book is something else --- a mid-life crisis with an unexpected twist. The piece is called "Surprise!" and it starts like this:

"If I don't sleep with a woman soon, I think I'll kill myself."
That's what I remember saying to my buddy Ed on the golf course right before this all happened.
I was eager. I was pumped. "I'm ready for my lesbian fling, Mr. DeMille!" Turning 40 does that to you. You feel like Father Time has gotten a second wind and is catching up. Suddenly everything you wanted to try or experiment with has to be done in this short period called "midlife" --- before you reach that next stage in life, the one where you don't care if you go to the supermarket in your pajamas.
"I want to learn how to operate a potter's wheel!"
"I want to enroll in salsa boot camp!"
"Me? I just want to get it on with a lady?"
Forget that I'd already been married and had only dated men my entire life. It didn't matter, because when you feel that Sapphic siren call, there is no backing down. And before I knew it, as if in a dream, this vision appeared right before my very eyes. It was a Saturday night and I was at a Project Angel Food charity dinner with some gay male friends. There she sat, right across from my $200 plate.

They talk. Carol likes Lori. But Lori is in a relationship. Later, she isn't. They have a golf date. And they talk:

"So what's your story, Carol? Why aren't you in a relationship?"
"I don't know. I'm going through some stuff right now."
"Oh, really? Well, we can turn that around in no time flat."
Gulp! "How's that?" I stuttered.
"Well, there are a million guys at my office I could set you up with, no problem!"

Ah, love. Or crush. Or whatever --- the road's not smooth. But it's funny. And, trust me on this, you want to travel that road with Carol Leifer. I'll go further: This one piece is worth the price of admission. Not just because it makes you laugh. Because of the good heart.

Later in the book, describing her sadness at selling the home of her dead parents, Leifer writes: "The other thing I've learned about life --- you get over it. You do. And not because you want to but because you have to. You just have to."

Wisdom like that, in a so-called humor book? Right there, I fell in love with her. I bet you will too.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and Universal March 30 2009
By Memellow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I bought this book after reading the title, and I couldn't stop laughing.

I'm 24, and even though the book is about getting older, I find Carol Leifer's observations to be timeless and useful to people of all ages. It sums up a common experience many women are going through, but it also offers a heads up for those of us who aren't there yet. Ms. Leifer is doing younger generations a favor by letting us know what to expect. The book is also a guidebook for guys who want to understand women better.

Ms. Leifer addresses several topics in the book including relationships, parenthood, pets, aging, and the loss of a parent. She is both honest and comical in her observations and she reminds us that there is no point in being anyone other than who we are.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of the letters LOL! March 19 2009
By Julie Klam - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have always been a huge fan of Carol Leifer's stand-up and tv writing so I am not surprised I LOVED this book. And let me just say, I don't usually like funny books, because sadly, they're often not funny. When You Lie About Your Age.... is brilliant. I only wish I had more stars to tack on.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun Take on Growing Older & Life in General July 26 2009
By Julie Peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
WHEN YOU LIE ABOUT YOUR AGE, THE TERRORISTS WIN by Carol Leifer is not a book that I would normally read; but when I read all the praise surrounding this book, I thought I'd give it a try. Ellen Degeneres, Jerry Seinfeld, Garry Shandling, Chris Rock, Larry David, and Bill Maher all have blurbs on the back cover of this book. At the very least, I figured this book would have to be somewhat funny, right?

I have to admit that I didn't absolutely love this book -- it was just alright for me. The book was made up of more than 25 short essays on a variety of topics including plastic surgery, finding love, becoming a mother, and adopting pets. I was expecting to find a lot of humor in these essays (you know more like entertaining insights into regular life), but I found this book to mainly be Ms. Leifer's opinions (and strong ones at that) about her life.

Prior to this novel, I wasn't that familiar with Ms. Leifer as a stand-up comic or as a television show writer; and I'm thinking that might have been one of the reasons I didn't appreciate this book as much as some readers will. Of course, I am a fan of some of the shows she has worked on including Seinfeld and Saturday Night Live (and I won't swear that I haven't seen her do a little stand-up on some show), but I think not really "knowing" her might have made a difference in my ability to really care about her opinions.

I don't want to make it sound like I didn't find anything of value in this book because that's definitely not true. There were some really funny things in this book. And even though I have almost nothing in common with Ms. Leifer, I did find myself agreeing with her on some issues. We might not have arrived at these opinions the same way, so I found it interesting to learn the reasons why she has her beliefs. And even on those topics where we disagree, I still thought I could learn something by getting another point of view.

Probably the stories that I enjoyed the most were at the beginning of the book. I thought the sections where Ms. Leifer talked about her father were extremely touching because it was obvious she loved him deeply. She also managed to tell a few stories about him that were quite funny. Another section I enjoyed was when Ms. Leifer discussed aging and plastic surgery. I thought she made a lot of valid points for just accepting who we are and what we have!

I recommend WHEN YOU LIE ABOUT YOUR AGE, THE TERRORISTS WIN if you enjoy memoirs that also include some humor. In addition, I think readers who enjoy short essays about life would find this book to be entertaining.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FUNNY, TOUCHING AND INSIGHTFUL May 1 2009
By NYC Music Lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I've been a big fan of Carol Leifer's ever since she first made her name as a standup comic. Having lived in New York City for over 30 years, I saw her many times at the Comic Strip and the Improv in the early days. Of course she made a bigger name for herself on TV, with several appearances on David Letterman as well as her own specials on Cable TV, and a very successful writing gig on the sitcom to end all sitcoms, "Seinfeld". But there is much more to her than punchlines. This wonderful book is part "How To" on aging gracefully, part coming-out story, and part memoir. It's all very engaging and REAL. Leifer truly seems like someone you'd like to hang out with on a Saturday afternoon. Her musings on coming out as a lesbian are surprisingly universal and will probably connect with anyone who's been "searching" for something missing in their life, even if they didn't know what it was they were missing. I found the stories about her late father particularly moving (as well as being truly funny) and enjoyed her very positive outlook on life. Face it, growing older is not easy, but it beats the alternative! If you have an open mind, an open heart and a sense of humor you will appreciate this breezy yet substantial book. Well done, Carol!
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