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Friday, March 1, 2013

Heartburn: A Novel

After the indefatigable Nora Ephron passed away early last year, her novel Heartburn was spoken about in such high regard. I had to wait over six months to get this from the library! It was worth the (patient) wait.

Seven months pregnant, Rachel discovers that her husband, Mark, is in love with another woman. What the...?!? As Rachel learns to cope with this new revelation, she must also decide what her next course will be. With one small child and another on the way, will she stay with Mark? Or will she leave behind the life they have put together in Washington, D.C. or will she return to her home in New York City? And can we all just beat Mark to a pulp for being a moron?

This book made me fall in love with it slowly and surely. It took a handful of pages to get into, but once I did, I became super protective of Rachel and I was full-fledged on her side. It is no secret that this roman a clef was written by Ephron after her marriage with Carl Bernstein fell apart, and as I read it I kept saying to myself, "Carl, you dirty dog!"

I really did grow to love the characters Ephron created in this piece with such pathos and care. I just think Ephron is a lovely, witty, heartfelt writer, and it all came out in this book. I felt that Rachel and I were genuinely friends because the sentences that would come out of her sounded like they came from my world:

"A man in a plaid shirt sitting next to me [on the subway] looked at me and winked. I immediately wondered whether he was single, and if so, whether he was a college graduate and strait" (p. 50). Yes, I too wonder these things in this same order, Rachel.

"I think of myself as a healthy person with a strong sex drive, but it's never occurred to me to forgo meals" (p. 63). Preach it, sister.

There are some recipes in here (toasted almonds, cheesecake), but the recipe for humor and care was the best thing I took away from this novel. Ephron is surely missed, but her candor and humor remain in her work for which I am so grateful for time spent with it.

Buy the book below; Kindle version on the left, hard copy on the right:

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