When I read that Nora Ephron passed away, I literally gasped out loud. I surprised myself, because I wouldn’t say I was an avid fan of hers. All I really knew about her work was Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail. I spent that morning reading stories about her life and her writing, and when I came across this quote, I knew I had to learn more this woman.

Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.

That afternoon I downloaded I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing from the library. I breezed through them quickly, and was stunned that I had fallen in love with her style of writing more than her stories. Don’t get me wrong. Her stories are good, but how she tells them is even better. Her sharp wit and humor will make you laugh out loud.

I checked out Heartburn next and I can’t believe such a short book could be filled with so much emotion. How could someone tell the devastating story about discovering her husband’s affair while seven months pregnant with their second child and still make me laugh? She even manages to share some of her favorite recipes, like she’s chatting with you over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

The woman in Heartburn, Rachel, is a cookbook writer. Her love of cooking and how it relates to our emotions almost makes food itself a supporting character in the story. It’s a hint of Julie & Julia 25 years before the movie.

Nothing like mashed potatoes when you’re feeling blue. Nothing like getting into bed with a bowl of hot mashed potatoes already loaded with butter, and methodically adding a thin cold slice of butter to every forkful. The problem with mashed potatoes, though, is that they require almost as much hard work as crisp potatoes, and when you’re feeling blue the last thing you feel like is hard work. Of course, you can always get someone to make the mashed potatoes for you, but let’s face it: the reason you’re blue is that there isn’t anyone to make them for you. As a result, most people do not have nearly enough mashed potatoes in their lives, and when they do, it’s almost always at the wrong time.

Ephron doesn’t tell a story, she tells you a story. And she does it brilliantly. I’m looking forward to reading Scribble Scribble and learning even more about the woman who said, “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”

Nora Ephron’s speech at Wellesley College’s commencement in 1996 and her obituary in the New York Times.

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3 Responses to reading: nora ephron

  1. Anna says:

    Thank you for reminding me. I am such a forgetful girl! I remember that day too. My oldest daughter was still living at home and we decided to hae a movie marathon. I love her movies so I know I will love her books. I also enjoy Sue Monk Kidd, Jodi Piccult, Kristin Hannah to name a few.

  2. Cindy says:

    I’ve read a couple of her books (I remember Nothing, Heartburn)and I agree with you, they’re wonderful. You made an interesting observation when you said you liked how she told her stories better than the stories themselves. Now I want to read Scribble Scribble, and Heartburn again.

  3. Mom says:

    Muriel introduced Nora to me many years ago.
    She gifted me “I feel bad about my neck”!
    Lessons on how to laugh at ourselves.
    What a great legacy!