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Heartburn Paperback – May 28, 1996
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"Great fun. . . . Though Heartburn bristles ferociously with wit, it's not lacking in soul."
—The New York Times Book Review
"Nora Ephron's first novel is warm, witty and wise." —Harper's Bazaar
From the Back Cover
- ASIN : 0679767959
- Publisher : Vintage; Reissue edition (May 28, 1996)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 179 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780679767954
- ISBN-13 : 978-0679767954
- Item Weight : 6.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.15 x 0.52 x 7.99 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #25,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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This book is mildly funny. But it's also vindictive. It's a mixed bag. I'm glad I read it and it is a relatively short read. She is worth the study of her life. Even this down period.
More recently I found out that it is actually the story of Nora Ephron's divorce from Carl Bernstein (the Watergate journalist made famous by the movie 'All the President's Men'). Since I thought that was interesting, I gave the book another shot, but I only got 20% through it before the boring long rambling passages about completely uninteresting stuff got to me. Maybe this was fresh and interesting in 1983, but it isn't now, nearly 40 years later.
I don't recommend it. Although you can try the free sample on Kindle, and then download the whole thing if you like it. And then if 20% through it you can't bear to go any further, like me, you can request a refund from Amazon and they'll give it.
Would recommend this book to women or men.
Top reviews from other countries
A marriage breakdown is an inevitably sad thing and Ephron doesn't shy away from this at all. Rachel loves Mark very much, they have a small child together and Rachel is pregnant with their second when she finds out about Mark's affair; there is no sense in which the end of their marriage cannot be sad. And yet Heartburn is for the most part very funny. It's witty, perceptive, self-deprecating and honest and although I'm fairly sure every single character would drive me utterly insane if I met them in real life - literally everyone is a wealthy, incredibly neurotic, self-obsessed gossip - I did enjoy reading about them and there are plenty of observations that apply even to those of who don't treat therapy like going for a massage and have ongoing battles over multiple property renovations.
Moreover, Ephron, through Rachel, is fully aware of the ridiculous foibles and clichés of Washington DC's well-off middle-class social set and happily draws attention to these absurdities, including her own, which makes for highly entertaining reading.
Most appealing of all is Rachel's firm commitment to getting on with life: however devastated she is by Mark's betrayal with a woman with a "a neck as long as an arm and a nose as long as a thumb", she realises at the end of the book that she can't stand feeling sorry for herself and she can't stand other people feeling sorry for her. "If I tell the story," she says, "I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me."
Interspersed throughout the novel are simple recipes, including one for a vinaigrette Rachel not unreasonably can't believe Mark will be able to live without and a key lime pie that she eventually throws at him at a tedious dinner party when the penny finally drops that she can't make him love her again. I'm not entirely sure whether the recipes and the food references really sit well within the narrative, and I'm sure some people will find it jarring, but as someone who loves food and is particularly fascinated by middle-class dinner party food of the 70s and 80s, I personally greatly enjoyed them (quite tempted to make the key lime pie although I shan't be throwing mine at anyone).
There's not a single poorly-chosen or superfluous word in this book. It's a short read, and I don't think it would be anywhere near as good if it was a single page longer - just like a key ingredient in one of Rachel's meticulously proportioned recipes, if there was any more it would be too much.
The narrative darts back and forth through her growing up, her marriages and divorces, returning over and again to the pain of betrayal but giving us, too, delightful vignettes of harmony and real love and marital joy. When it's all so good, you can't help thinking, how can people be so stupid as to throw everything away for the excitement of novelty? For that's the big attraction: the new love doesn't have to be prettier or wittier, kinder or more fun. They just have to save us from the effort of making constancy interesting.