202 of 204 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2003
At the 7th month of her pregnancy, Nora Ephron learned that her husband had fallen in love with someone else. "The most unfair thing about this whole business," she writes, "is that I can't even date." That line sets the tone for this novel that Ephron based on her own marriage breakup. A court case resulted from the publication of this book, which tells you just how funny and potentially devastating it is. Her ex got a court order that she could never again write about him or their children. In the novel, instead of being a journalist, essayist, and humorist, the protagonist is a cookbook writer, so there are plenty of recipes sprinkled throughout. Published in 1983, Heartburn marked a turning point not only in Ephron's personal life but also in her writing career as she immediately gained entry into the film world as a writer, director, and producer. She wrote the screenplay for the movie based on this book - but don't see it. It's too angry; all the hilarity and subtle humor and caustic asides are missing.
I own a 1st edition of this book, and I'm NEVER selling it.
68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2005
If I had it to do over again, I would have made a different kind of pie. The pie I threw at Mark made a terrific mess, but a blueberry pie would have been even better, since it would have permanently ruined his new blazer.......so Rachel Samstat muses on her marriage to Mark Feldman.
Nora Ephron's thinly disguised account of her marriage to famed Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein is laugh-out-loud funny in parts, though if you're looking for advice on how to save your marriage, the aforementioned tidbit is typical of the advice you'll get.
Rachel is seven months pregnant with her second child when she learns her husband is not only having an affair with a mutual acquaintance, but has fallen in love with her. This indignity is compounded because, due to Rachel's advanced preganancy, she can't even date. She does manage one innocent flirtation on the subway which, in true slapstick fashion, leads to armed robbery. Ah, the perils of life flitting between New York and Washington.
Short and savvy, this contemporary 80's novel is peppered with recipes since Rachel is a cookbook editor and host of her own cooking show. A collapsing marriage doesn't seem suitable for high-level comedy, but Nora Ephron makes it work and will have you laughing all the way to the bitter end.
52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2005
I don't know about you, but sometimes I stumble upon a book that is a salve to my soul; I am not happy about one thing or another, and I need someone to talk to, talk at, or listen to--I need to look into someone else's life so that I can feel human again and not totally strange and alone.
Nora Ephron's HEARTBURN did that for me, and for that I will put it on my bookshelf, along with the many books that have served the same purpose.
On my second reading I could not remember if the story was based on the author's life. I was afraid that I might not enjoy it if it was pure fiction. I was wrong. The book is a very, very funny satire of the Washington scene, whch has not changed. It is also a tale of real angst and heartbreak.
What is basically a sad story has delicious veins of humor, wistfulness, sadness, prosaic pragmatism, and real recipes marbling through it, all of which magically meld into a satisfying whole: but that is what a work of art can do.
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2005
Every year or so I re-read "Heartburn," one of my favorite novels of all time. It is fall-on-the-floor-funny, and possibly the best and most memorable form of revenge that a spurned wife ever had.
Today's re-reading of "Heartburn" was inspired by the revelation that Mark Felt is the real name of Deep Throat, the former FBI mole who fed Watergate information to Ephron's former husband, Carl Bernstein. In this roman a clef, the chatacter based on cheating-husband Bernstein is called "Mark Feldman." Today I read Ephron's admission, in the Huffington Post blog, that living with the knowledge of Deep Throat's true identity was a "very heavy burden."
So, was her estranged husband's character name inspired consciously by Deep Throat's name, or subconsciously?
I don't really need an answer to that question. However, it does prove that the novels we love are gifts that keep on giving. Thanks, Nora. Thanks, Mr. Felt--for everything.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 1999
Nora Ephron's "Heartburn," is one of my all time favorite novels. I read it whenever I'm feeling blue, especially if I'm blue about relationships. Ephron writes funny, and does it better than just about anyone, with many dead-on observations about life. She is a true romantic disguised in cynic's clothing, and a food lover to boot. I've adopted several of the recipes that are sprinkled throughout the book, keeping my dogeared copy in the kitchen for years until it became too grease-stained and precious. It reminds me of Laurie Colwin's "Home Cooking," only with more bite. It is true that Ephron tends to recycle some of her best material: readers will find quips from this novel popping up in Ephron's screenplays. No matter; for fans of Ephron, they play just as well the second time around. The movie "Heartburn," didn't do this book justice.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2004
This book took a little getting used to (This was my first of reading books with recipes within the storylines) , but once I did... boy did I laugh! Great story along with recipes. Who couldn't beat a book that was funny, witty, and full of recipes!! A great read for anyone whom wants to curl up with a good book.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HEARTBURN is Nora Ephron at her finest. Through her pain, she manages to find the comedy. This thinly-disguised autobiography makes for compelling reading; it almost could be a primer on surviving a spouse's marital infidelity. As always with Ephron, her writing is facile and her insights are overwhelming. Through the darkest moments, her own acute sense of the absurd shows through, and this humor is her salvation.
Anyone who merely saw the film into which this book was turned can have no sense of how wonderful the printed text proves to be. And Ephron's recipes are fabulous, too. HEARTBURN probably was the first novel which had recipes integrated into it. After twenty years, I still use many of them.
HEARTBURN offers solid clues to the genius that Ephron is, as evidenced in her subsequent career as a screenwriter (WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, to name just one film) and as a director.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2008
Heartburn is the thinly disguised version of the break up of Ephron's second marriage. Part of the magic of Ephron's writing is her conversation-with-a-best-girlfriend style. The other part is her ability to find humor in an otherwise devastating situation. She shows us that indeed there are times when we just need to laugh at our own follies...or take a small measure of revenge on a man who deserves it!
To help keep the situation light, and to keep the narrative from becoming too heavy, Ephron adds just the right amount of quirkiness to keep you reading without feeling like you're reading someone's final paper in a creative writing class. She describes, for example, her first husband's ridiculously deep attachment to hamsters. She predates Seinfeld-style humor with comments like those about she and her husband "dating" another couple.
Much of what's in the book is both funny and honest, showing the human side of human nature. She makes you believe that truth is indeed often stranger--and so much more annoying!--than fiction. I also found myself admiring the underlying strength beneath the humor of her ability to leave a toxic relationship, seven months pregnant or not.
Heartburn is a quick and satisfying read. It makes great airplane or beach reading.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Hell hath no fury like Rachel scorned. Seven months pregnant, she discovers her husband Mark is "not sleeping with" the woman he "is in love" with. She endures the humiliation of being dumped, a robbery at her "group" and her slimy husband's attempt at reconciliation.
Rachel, a "bourgeois," a cookbook author, a mother, a daughter of nutty parents, rambles on about this and that - about the airline shuttle (this takes place mid-1980s), about her first husband and his hamsters, about her arch enemy who used to be her best friend, about the people in her group therapy session. She is NOT hard to follow; it's like listening to a conversation of your best girlfriends over lunch. Altogether funny! Brilliantly written in such a way that the reader stays interested and does not become confused or lost (despite the rambles) -- and throughout, she sticks in recipes as does, much later chronologically, author Diane Mott Davidson.
I read this book shortly after the US waged war on Iraq. I needed something to lighten my soul. "Heartburn," for a few hours, most certainly did the trick.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2000
this book would be worth the price of admission were it simply to contain the life-saving pototo recipes and their droll commentary. it would not be an exagerration to say I've read this book more often than I care to admit -- its wit, poignancy, and page-turning vivacity make it a modern classic, especially for women. I also enjoyed the film -- it's difficult to dislike anything that stars meryl streep and jack nicholson; and the music by carly simon was memorable. read the book, then rent the movie. you won;t be disappointed.....