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I'll Have What She's Having: How Nora Ephron's Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy Hardcover – August 29, 2017
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"[Erin Carlson] offers a breezy, detailed rehearsal of three successful romantic comedies from the 1980s and '90s.... A large bag of buttery popcorn that goes down oh so pleasantly."―Kirkus Reviews
"Deeply reported and deeply felt, Carlson's account of Nora Ephron's unlikely rise to romantic comedy queen deftly exposes the messy, human reality lurking beneath those sparkling paeans to true love. Magically nostalgic, cynical, and smart all at once."―Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, author of Seinfeldia and Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted
"In her love letter to the rom-coms of Nora Ephron, Erin Carlson brings us on a nostalgic, insightful, and joyous ride through the legendary writer/director's most iconic works. Full of the whimsy, heartbreak, attention to detail, and romantic optimism that defined Ephron's films, I'll Have What She's Having is a must-read for anyone who is a fan of the filmmaker's genre-defining classics."―Danny Strong, co-creator and executive producer of Empire
"Erin Carlson would make Nora Ephron proud with this deeply reported valentine to her work. Written with warmth, humor, and surprises, Carlson provides plenty of dishy insider scoop on the making of the renowned writer's beloved films. This book is the perfect companion to your favorite movie. A delicious read that will have you laughing out loud."―Jo Piazza, New York Times bestselling co-author of The Knockoff
"When the subject is Nora Ephron, culinary metaphors prove irresistible: Erin Carlson has cooked up a dish full of delicious insight into an icon who was both warm and snobbish, full of juicy tidbits about a feminist who preferred to hang out with the guys, a trenchant trailblazer with an old-fashioned belief in love. I'll Have What She's Having offers a satisfying portrait of a lady who wasn't always 'nice' but who nevertheless created timeless moments to fill our hearts and give us hope―Faith Salie, author of Approval Junkie and contributor to CBS Sunday Morning
"Erin Carlson has served up a lively, inside look at the making of Nora Ephron's three famous rom-coms and how she broke into the male-dominated directing club. Anyone who loves Nora and her films will relish this book."―Lynn Povich, author of The Good Girls Revolt
"Read this book in an adorable bookshop and, who knows, maybe you'll meet-cute with a handsome stranger reading the same book. Of course, if he's reading a book about Nora Ephron rom-coms, he may be gay. Ugh, that is sooo your luck, Carol! Also, it's raining now and you're wearing suede."―Meredith Scardino, writer for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Colbert Report, this book blurb
"Perky and approachable . . . those who miss funny romantic comedies will enjoy this detailed behind-the-scenes look at three of the best."―Library Journal
"Carlson's first book pays affectionate and clear-eyed tribute to the three most popular movies associated with screenwriter and director Nora Ephron. Going behind the scenes to explore the making of When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You've Got Mail, she dispenses insider information that fans of the movies will find hard to resist ... her breezy, frisky tone makes reading the book like sharing a gossipy lunch with an old friend. Although she keeps the focus on the three films, she also allows herself to go off on fascinating tangents about the lives and other movies of the director and her stars. As sweet and bubbly a treat as the movies it covers, this book does what it does impeccably, and readers will love it."―Booklist
"I'll Have What She's Having: How Nora Ephron's Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy delivers a delight of buzzy Hollywood backstories unearthed by veteran entertainment journalist Erin Carlson. The book also serves as a tribute . . . Hanks, Ryan, Rob Reiner and a host of others provided fresh interviews about Ephron, with great results."―New York Daily News
"Fast-paced, humorous, yet impressively researched, Carlson's voice feels cut from the same cloth as Ephron's . . . Seamlessly woven into the narrative are bits of behind-the-scenes gossip that will surprise even the most die-hard fans. . . . The book's wide net of sources, along with Ephronisms and movie dialogue, proves to be a wonderful recipe, giving readers a sense of what it was like working on an Ephron project at every level."―Washington Post
"The rom-com is having a moment. But the case Erin Carlson makes in I'll Have What She's Having is solid: Nora Ephron reinvented and saved the genre with When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail. . . . ultimately, the book serves to show how the movies were made and the effect they had."―Los Angeles Times
"This smart and witty book is as much about the life and times of the brilliant Nora Ephron as it is her three great late-20th-century rom-coms: When Harry Met Sally (1989), Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and You've Got Mail (1998), with Meg Ryan standing in for Everywoman in all three. This is an excellent piece of Hollywood scholarship, thoughtful and entertaining. Make no mistake: It's not a love letter to Nora. Just like Ephron, writer Erin Carlson wields a sharp pen."―Toronto Star
"An enjoyable ride through the years Ephron spent behind the camera. . . . What Carlson effectively creates is a persuasive time capsule of a filmmaker who believed a connection of the heart was born of a soulful, searing, satisfying tête-à-tête between two equals."―USA Today
"Reading author Erin Carlson's book I'll Have What She's Having is as satisfying as finding out what goes into a favorite dessert--and then having another slice."―Associated Press
"She shows Ephron's evolution as a filmmaker and gets down to the details of how the rom-com sausage is made. . . . The book's wide net of sources, along with Ephronisms and movie dialogue, proves to be a wonderful recipe, giving readers a sense of what it was like working on an Ephron project at every level. Seamlessly woven into the narrative are bits of behind-the-scenes gossip that will surprise even the most die-hard fans. . . . Fast-paced, humorous, yet impressively researched, Carlson's voice feels cut from the same cloth as Ephron's."―San Antonio Express News
"Erin Carlson depicts the stubborn ferocity that equipped Nora Ephron to crack Hollywood in I'll Have What She's Having."―Toronto Star
About the Author
Erin Carlson has covered the entertainment industry for The Hollywood Reporter and AP. Her work has appeared in Glamour, Fortune, and the LA Times. She compiled and wrote an oral history of You've Got Mail for Vanity Fair. She holds a masters in magazine journalism from Northwestern, and has been profiled in the New York Times.
Top customer reviews
We lost a treasure when she died.
The book is out of touch and seemingly a re-hashing of countless (old) interviews and press bits.
I wanted to like this book but I just couldn't.
Ephron's three iconic movies, "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless In Seattle," and "You've Got Mail," shouldn't be classified as rom-coms. Instead, they are a genre unto themselves. While many romantic comedies that preceded these films painted women as rabid, single-minded love zombies, and men as the clueless apes who eventually figure out that the girl with glasses is actually THE ONE, Ephron's films gave depth and dimension to their characters. Her heroines--and you better believe the women are the heroes of her films--were smart, career-focused, adults who dared to not ask, "Can I have it all?" but instead proved that proved that women can be passionate about their careers, invest in their friendships, and embrace their quirky, big personalities and still find love.
In "I'll Have What She's Having," Carlson shows the grit that led to Ephron's success--from celebrity wrangling (Tom Hanks does, indeed, have his not-the-nicest-guy-in-the-world moments), to stone-faced resolve in the face of Hollywood's discriminatory bro-culture (if you think sexism in the biz is bad today, jump back 20 years), to obsessing over every nuanced detail of a critical scene (Carlson's deep-dive into the "When Harry Met Sally" orgasm scene will leave you with a greater appreciation of the hard work that goes into filmmaking).
Carlson, a former Hollywood Reporter and Associated Press gumshoe, reported the hell out of this book. It's chock full of behind-the-scenes details on each of these iconic Ephron films--and her career and sometimes-scandalous personal life that preceded them--and packed to the gills with interviews from major players in the large orbit that surrounded Ephron, including Rob Reiner, Tom Hanks, and Delia Ephron. In hands less polished, all this information would make for a dense read. But Carlson's voice is smart and witty, sly and cheeky, breezy where it needs to be, and at times even goes in for a walloping tug of the heartstrings. She's a lot like a character in a Norah Ephron movie.
Sleepless in Seattle.
You've Got Mail.
Three iconic romantic comedies that may not have been such a huge hit when they were first released in theaters noting the competition among movies released at the same time, but these three movies are the ones that most women will often tell you they love. They are the ones they can watch over and over again. We have our favorite lines or moments from each film that makes them unforgettable. At the time they were in the works, female directors were almost as extinct as dinosaurs and when someone like Nora Ephron comes along, she will face not only harsh criticism from her fellow male directors, but also writers too! Romantic comedies are one of the hardest things to direct and write a screen play for. There has to be the perfect mix of comedy and chemistry between the lead actors.
In the book, "I'll Have What She's Having," by Erin Carlson, we get a sneak peek not only into the making of these fabulous movies but also into what it took to breath life into them and make them the legacy movies women still love even today. This book takes you into the lines made famous by each movie including the title of the book from When Harry Met Sally. In fact if you are a fan of any or all of these movies, you will absolutely adore this book. Readers will learn what actors were going to play the parts but at the last minute gave them up. How very different these movies would have been had they not been played by the originals. You'll learn how hard it was to find a houseboat to shot Sam's house in Sleepless in Seattle. Did you know that the roof top scene on top of the Empire State Building wasn't even shot on location?
In You've Got Mail, you will learn that Fox Books was filmed at an iconic Barnes and Noble, and that the construction scenes are from those very days of building the store, even though the close up shots were filmed on a studio backlot. You learn that The Shop Around the Corner was just another storefront on 106 West 69th Street for Maya Shaper Cheese and Antiques that they were about to use and repaint while filming all the outdoor shots of the bookstore. You'll learn that AOL did not originally coin the phrase "You've Got Mail" until the movie went into production and someone else did it for them so that they could have it. There is just so much wonderful information gleaned from this book that fans will want to pick it up. Be warned, however, it might just be followed up with watching all three movies back to back like I did!
I received I'll Have What She's Having by Erin Carlson compliments of Hachette Book Groups. This is such a must have book for fans of any or all three iconic romantic comedies. There are the famous lines we all love to quote and perhaps my all time favorite was from You've Got Mail, "Don't you just love fall in New York? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address." While there were many great moments, the book does end with the tragic death of Nora Ephron who passed away June 26, 2012 but she left behind a world full of strong women characters, hope and a whole lot of love. I easily give this book a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
Reading I'll Have What She's Having was just as satisfying as watching one of the three movies featured in the book (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You've Got Mail). I loved falling into the real world behind the movies. All the sass and wit and complexity that made the films timeless were infused in the book.
Erin Carlson's respect for Nora Ephron was clear in the meticulous research and thorough notes. Her love for the subject matter was reflected in the warmth of her tone.
I read I'll Have What She's Having in one day - It was that engaging. This book is perfect for anyone who believes in the power of love in film, in writing, and in life.