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Friday, November 18, 2016

Book Review: Heartburn by Nora Ephron

I have seen this book bandied about for decades as one of the funniest books every written, so when I was down and saw it at the used bookstore, I snatched it up. Well, that isn't exactly correct, at all. Turns out it's a very depressing topic: it's the lightly novelized story of the breakdown of Nora Ephron's marriage to Carl Bernstein who she found out was cheating on her when she was seven months' pregnant (and he was quite unapologetic about it.) It is treated lightly with a great deal of humor, but that can't ever completely obscure the essentially painful nature of the storyline.

The main character is Rachel, a famous cookbook author and TV personality. Her husband Mark is a famous columnist and they split their time between DC and NYC. The book essentially is her thoughts for the first few weeks after she figures out about the affair, and tries to decide what to do. There's a very odd interlude in the middle when her group therapy is robbed at gunpoint. And two lines absolutely jumped out at me because she repurposed them later in When Harry Met Sally. It was humorous, but not exactly a funny book to read when you're feeling down. It's more of a laughing-instead-of-crying book. But I am glad I read this modern classic--it was a distraction to be sure, and it read very fast and easily. But it is never comfortable to be a bystander to the crash and burn of a marriage.

I bought this book at Montclair Book Center.

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