40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2013
If you're at all on the fence about buying this book. Don't hesitate a moment more. Buy it.
Delia Ephron has a voice of her own. It sounds a little like Nora's; and if you miss Nora from the planet, as I do - it will comfort you to know that someone else can conjure up ironic, quirky little twists to both the most banal and meaningful moments we trip across in life. There is someone else out there like you. And it is comforting. Validating.
But Delia's voice, while perhaps a little more knobby in its polish, is more honest in its gaze. More powerful. More personal. She's a truth teller in a way Nora never was.
Nora told you about her neck, but she didn't tell you about her real fears. Delia lays it all out - like ingredients of a granola she's about to bake. The chewy parts, the sweet - and, of course, all the nuts. In all their gnarly glory.
By fearlessly showing you things you might want to turn away from, she reveals so much more compassion, loyalty, and real love. And that's when an author is also a teacher. That courage of hers is imparted to us. There is so much more character than we get to see in most authors who delve into their own lives for content. I was touched and impressed -- and I wanted more. Turning to Amazon to find another memoir or a book of her essays, I found novels and children's books. And I promise to try them too. But - please Delia - more personal takes on life and love and family and work and dogs and parents and friends and baked goods - and anything else you want to share. Just - more Delia.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2013
It's not just the touching tribute to her sister Nora that makes this memoir so fascinating. Ephron also shows us the life of a writer: her heart-breaking and funny accounts of screenwriting show us behind-the-scenes what it takes to get a movie off the ground (and sometimes not off the ground), as she explains how frequently screenwriters are fired, even by those industry folk (like Rob Reiner) they have worked with in the past. Delia's very practical advice on writer's block is perfect (yep, you'll have to read the book to find out what it is!). The heavier moments of the book pack a punch. I thoroughly enjoyed this and will read it again.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2013
This book was graciously written. A very well balanced view of a sibling by a sibling. Full of love, but honest about the ragged edges in such a relationship, especially when the two sisters collaborated together. I look forward to more essays by Delia Ephron. She has the same DNA as Nora when it comes to wit and wisdom about the here and now.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2013
The essays were witty, well written , however, most were easy to forget. Her tribute and to,and loss of her sister, Nora was clearly heartfelt.
This is a quick read...beach, plane, train....
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2013
I loved this book! I listened to it on CD, Meg Ryan did a beautiful job, reading it. It has just the right mix of serious and fun. The chapters that were really interesting to me, were the parts about her parent's alcoholism. I love examples. I could read about the psychology of the children of alcoholics, but I really get it, when I read personal accounts. Delia really helped me to understand this. Of course, there are so many different kinds of addictions, so although, my parents were not alcoholics, I understand "the children of," better. It struck me as very honest writing.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2013
In this delightful book of glimpses into the twisted and brilliant mind of Delia Ephron, the author leads us into her world. In 15 beautifully written vignettes, we are taken for a wonderful ride through her childhood, her relationships with her family, her fascination with the film Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, her frustrations with her hair, her almost phobic attitude about having her picture taken without makeup, her puzzlement over remote controls and the world of technology, her strong bond to her famous sister, Nora, and, among many other things, the glory of pastries from the best bakeries.
Delia begins her book with a chapter about her late sister. Readers expecting something terribly morbid will be surprised, as she offers a string of stories about the times they shared, both good and bad. This is how she describes losing Nora: “It’s a whole new world in an awful and confusing way. A city in which the street signs are missing.”
Delia celebrates their relationship, their collaborations and the flow of unspoken thoughts between them: "Nora always said that we shared half a brain." Through the awfulness of Nora’s chemotherapy, the hospital visits and her eventual death, Delia looks back in celebration of this remarkable woman’s life. She talks about Nora’s generosity, power, talent and ruthlessness as a writer, humor and sharp insights. She says losing her was like losing an arm, and the need to write/talk about their relationship seems to drive her on. She compares her life now to that of her dog, Honey, saying that dogs just get on with things, and she must do the same. She has learned to be brave because Nora’s death was, in a strange way, a path for her to be brave: “…her last gift to me. Lopsided gift-giving if ever there was.”
The remaining chapters are filled with Delia’s marvelous wit and fun. There are thoughts on being “Jewish enough.” Should she join the JBC, “Jewish Book Council”? She is, after all, an author who “happens” to be Jewish. Her family celebrates Christmas with a tree, carols and gift exchanges, so she views all this with a philosophical attitude. She talks about the unexpected success of her debut book, THE ADVENTUROUS CROCHETER, as her first serious step into writing --- despite her first husband's admonishments that he did not want her to become a “successful writer.” With her career-oriented mother’s words echoing through her head, she pushes herself into the world of writing as did, apparently, all of her sisters. Her father’s great quote of “Write that line down!” spurs her on as she and Nora begin collaborating, achieving great success in such movies as You’ve Got Mail, Michael and This is My Life. Delia achieves much acclaim for her own writing, but working with her sister is one of her proudest achievements.
Reading Delia Ephron is like having a good friend sitting across from you as you drink wine and rattle on about your lives. Whether she is writing about her pet dog, her brilliant but troubled alcoholic parents, her struggles with her writing, her practical husband, her love of movies, or her memories of Nora, she is warm and real. The closing chapter is poignant, with a dream she shares about her sister, whose spirit will always be with her. This is one of those books you put down and then go back to time and again, and one you will want to give to friends and family.
Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2013
I disagree with the well written (placed??)five star reviews. This physically small, short book is unpleasantly self-centered and mean spirited in many anecdotes. The self promoting name dropping is to be expected. We each grieve in our own way, but the dismissive, rude attitude and personal purging is awful. Page 20 (hardcover): "Is this misplaced anger at the unfairness of her death? ....The anger feels great. Life-affirming. Far preferable to the pain it's masking." The bitter, unfocused anger comes through loud & clear. I agree with another reviewer, this book has to be tossed; I can't donate, gift or pass along.