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Heartburn

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  6,673 ratings  ·  964 reviews
Is it possible to write a sidesplitting novel about the breakup of the perfect marriage? If the writer is Nora Ephron, the answer is a resounding yes. For in this inspired confection of adultery, revenge, group therapy, and pot roast, the creator of Sleepless in Seattle reminds us that comedy depends on anguish as surely as a proper gravy depends on flour and butter.Seven...more
ebook, 192 pages
Published August 17th 2011 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1983)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nancy
The week before Nora Ephron died, I happened to order this (used) book, which I've been meaning to read for quite some time since she referenced it often in her essays & interviews. Apparently I'm the only woman in America who thinks this is not particularly good.

Even the previous recipient had a note written to her on the first page that says as much: "...No woman's bookshelf should be without this!" Seriously? Well, maybe there's one other woman out there who didn't like it also, because...more
Melissa
Meh. I was inspired to read a little Ephron after reading a recent NY Times article about her written by her son. And naturally, I chose this one, not for the biting humor, but because I really wanted to know what went down between her and Carl Bernstein. Apparently this book was her "revenge dish best served cold" and was so close to the truth that there were lawyers and restraints and all kinds of nonsense as a result.

Nora Ephron was brilliant in her belief that if you take a bad situation (l...more
Bybee
I read this book when it first came out, and this is my first re-read in almost 30 years. As is usually the case, this was a very different book. I was really struck this time by how rich Mark and Rachel are. This time, I could really see the anger simmering below the surface. This time, fully aware of the novel as being a roman a clef, I was wondering who the real-life counterparts of some of the characters are. Still laugh-out-loud funny in places. There's never been a more withering, funny co...more
trina
perfectly in accordance with the peanut chorus on this one. book is funny, witty, clever, heartbreaking, and mouthwatering all at once. tackles the big questions like 'how do you make love stay?' and 'what is the best way to mash potatoes?' reads easily, lightly, but has a lot of emotional depth. of course i knew ahead of time that the book is mostly autobiographical, and that made it sad even as our main character cracked jokes and spun stories out of the truly shitty turn her life took when he...more
Maggi
Nora Ephron was so flippn' funny. This book was written almost 30 years ago but it wears damn well. Rachel, a thinly disguised Nora, is going through a marital breakdown, and though you feel for her, you can't stop laughing:
I had a list of what I wanted in a man. A long list. I wanted a registered Democrat, a bridge player, a linguist with a particular fluency in French, a subscriber to the New Republic, a tennis player. I wanted a man who wasn't bald, who wasn't fat, who wasn't covered with t...more
Bookkaholic Magazine
(See our full review over at Bookkaholic.) This is the funniest book you’ll ever read about heartbreak and betrayal. It’s full of wry observations about the compromises we make to marry – and then stay married to – people who are very different from us. And it's one of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson’s favorite books ever: for its mixture of recipes and rue, food and folly. It’s a quick read, but a substantial feast for the emotions.
Sarah
Just felt like laughing, so picked this book up to visit with again. Fave quote: " Show me a woman who cries when the trees lose their leaves in autumn, and I'll show you a real asshole."
Danielle
Loved this book. Contributed greatly to my delusion that I could be a writer because NE makes it look so easy to be brilliant and entertaining and wise all at once.
Auntjenny
I've always liked the movie based on this book. Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson and a soundtrack by Carly Simon... what could be better than that? The book is very similar, although I would not necessarily say the book is better. Occasionally that happens, i.e. I liked the movie Wonder Boys better than the book. Maybe simply because it is hard to relate to rich Jewish people living in New York, as I am not Jewish and definitely not rich and I've never even been to New York. The movie kind of whitew...more
Jen A.
Reading this book for school came along at just the right time -- I don't remember the dates, but I was either about to or just had ended a relationship that just wasn't working out. I was ending a relationship in which I'd played the role of Rachel Samstat -- hanging on for too long, waiting for a good "reason" and trying so hard NOT to be the reason that things just didn't work out. I remember that this book resonated with me then, and drove me to write this essay response in class (below). He...more
Jennifer
Heartburn tells the story of a woman while in her second marriage realizes that her husband has been having an affair while she is seven months pregnant. It is stated at the start of this book that this story is not entirely fiction and her now ex husband went to the extreme of having a court order put against Nora Ephron to ensure she could not write about him or their children again.
I can think of no better revenge then to tell the story to the world about how he betrayed her. But this book a...more
Barbara Rice
By now we all know this is about Ephron's divorce from Carl Bernstein (whom I met once at San Francisco State University: she does not mention that he has terrible skin, but it's the only thing she doesn't mention).

I don't know. It's like there isn't enough story here so she has to fill it out with the kreplatch story and charcters that never go anywhere (the lover who took huge bites out of raw onions; her maid who gave up men for Jesus) and the recipes. The recipes don't seem to have much to...more
Christine
Rachel Samstat is seven months pregnant with their second child when she learns that her husband, Mark Feldman has been having an affair. As she says herself, “The first day I did not think it was funny. I didn’t think it was funny the third day either, but I managed to make a little joke about it. ‘The most unfair thing about this whole business’ I said, ‘is that I can’t even date.’” That pretty much sets the tone for the whole book. Through her reminiscences we meet Rachel’s family, friends, f...more
Leigh
I love Nora Ephron. She just talks and talks (because that it what her writing sounds like, someone just talking to you) and her sentences sound a lot like the thoughts that run through your own head, but you dare not let out of your mouth. She is so incredibly funny and I imagine she would have made an excellent friend.

It doesn't bother me that her sentences run long and that her thoughts ramble all over the place. (Mine do too!) It doesn't bother me that she goes off on tangents that have noth...more
Caroline
Surprised to see a character in the book is a dog names Pepito, because my dog is also named Pepito. How funny.

Love this quote:

That's the catch about betrayal, of course: that it feels good, that there's something immensely pleasurable about moving from a complicated relationship which involves minor atrocities on both sides to a nice, neat, simple one where one person has done something so horrible and unforgivable that the other person is immediately absolved of all the low-grade sins of slo...more
Molly
Nora Ephron's new movie, 'Julie and Julia,' rode into its nationwide opening last weekend on a such a wave of publicity I'm almost too tired of all the Ephronmania to mention anything about her here. But I just read 'Heartburn' and I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. I liked it so much that I lay in bed after finishing it and thought, "Three stars? Four stars? Three stars? Four stars?" I decided on three, but it's really a three-and-a-half. And it's almost a four.

It's a sassy, funny re...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jul 12, 2013 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: Eric Rabkin
This is Nora Ephron's first novel, and I imagine her death reinvigorated interest in her oeuvre. I had not read any of her books, but of course You've Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle rank in my top ten movies of all time, and I never ever get tired of them. Ever. (So now you know my guilty pleasure!) This book also became a movie starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson, which I will be watching this weekend.

When I saw that Random House Audio was releasing this on audio with Meryl Streep as th...more
Eileen
I like this just fine for an afternoon of conking out on the couch, feeling awful, needing something undemanding yet decently written and funny. I've had a copy of Crazy Salad for years; that is much more dense, considering the pervasive Issues Of The 1970s inherent in the heavy journalistic subject matter. So, because that sort of exploration is not generally what I'm looking for while lying around feeling awful, it hadn't occurred to me to seek this one out. It was a total coincidence that it...more
Linda
Because of this book I fell in love with Nora Ephron's writing. Wonderful how she could turn something as a painful divorce into something so funny.
Debbie Hall
This is the 3rd Nora Ephron book I have read with my book club. I am going to miss her. She is such a wit. This books tells the disastrous story of her marriage to Carl Bernstein. Would love to hear his side, but I think he is a cad, alas. Nothing he could write could possibly move me from this conclusion.

Another fabulous thing which I neglected to mention when I first posted this review is the recipes from Heartburn. I have made the spaghetti recipe and this summer plan on trying the peach pie...more
Kris
5 STARS

"Out of analysis and seven months pregnant, cookbook writer Rachel Samstat discovers that her husband is into analysis and an affair and suffers six weeks of intense heartburn." (From Amazon)

Loved it!!!! I recommend it to anyone who has never had a broken heart or have had a broken heart and never seen the humor in it - this book will make your break-ups look not so crazy. I found this to be a heart mending novel rather than a tear jerker. Ephron is hilarious so you may want to read this...more
Pamela
I'm not sure if I would have liked this book as much as a hardback...but I LOVED the audio book version with Meryl Streep narrating!!! That voice! It gives me the comforting impression of sitting down to an intimate lunch with my best friend, and having her tell me in the most humorous way possible, all about what is wrong with her marriage, for the sole purpose of making me feel better about mine. The voice inflections feel so intimate and perfect! I can't remember when I've enjoyed the narrati...more
valpal
Picked this up at the library after I heard of Nora Ephron's death and everyone was talking about this book. It was funny and a quick read.
Three things I learned:
1. Nora Ephron was very funny.
2. Carl Bernstein is a dick.
3. Smart women sometimes marry horrible men, even when they KNOW better.


Cienne Olaes
I know it is just a heartburn but I am consistent about associating the pain to something fatal. Every time I brave getting checked, the doctor will tell me it is just stress or too much iced tea. It is so funny I keep forgetting it stings. Truth is, I couldn't pull my ideas together after reading this. This, I am sure, is another one of those books that will always have a special place in my heart.

This book is indeed another one of my 'heartburn' experiences. Nora Ephron perfectly wrapped it up...more
christa
In the late 1970s Nora Ephron was Gawker fodder, married to Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein and pressing the flesh with all sorts of DC biggies. They had one son and another in the oven when she discovered that (insert too easy Deep Throat reference to indicate he was having an affair).

So she did exactly what you would expect one of the characters in her rom-coms to do: She threw a key lime pie in the philanderer’s face. Then she turned what was probably a cesspool of suckitude into the com...more
Wayne
I picked this up second-hand a few days ago.
Something smart, witty and short is just what I needed!!
And on one of the most painful of subjects!!!
Betrayal and Unrequited Love!!!

Nora pulls no punches - all the suffering and disbelief, anger and feelings of betrayal, revengeful thoughts and outrageous behaviour - its exactly spot on and most of us have been there.
But Nora is armed with guts and humour.
"He/She who laughs, lasts."
I had complete faith in her journey to the other side of Reclaimed San...more
Kelly Hager
This is shelved as fiction but is pretty much the account of how her second marriage (to Carl Bernstein) ended in pretty spectacular fashion. He cheated on her when she was pregnant with their second child.

There's a lot to love in this book but my favorite part is at the very end when she talks about how her therapist says, "Why do you have to turn everything into a story?"

And she says (and I'm paraphrasing) that when she does that, she can control the story. And, what's even more important, is...more
Jennifer
There is kind of a funny story about this book. I was in a book club briefly for a few months when I lived in Florida. The book club met once a month and was attended by about 4 - 5 women. Each month, we discussed the book for about 6 minutes and then the conversation transitioned into home improvement projects and travel plans, which dominated the discussion for the rest of the hour. Now, none of us had children at the time, but we all had recently purchased our first homes so maybe that was co...more
Everyday eBook
Jul 19, 2012 Everyday eBook rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Everyday by: Amanda Aleksey
When I heard the recent news of Nora Ephron's passing, I was not only heartbroken, but in shock. I didn't know my heroine had been sick, but I think Sally Quinn put it nicely in The New York Times, saying: "She [Ephron] had this thing about not wanting to whine … She didn't like self-pity. It was always, you know, 'Suck it up.' " I am sure that I was not alone in immediately thinking, "Why have I waited this long to read all of her books?" So I picked up Heartburn and it captured the whole "suck...more
Priyamvada Kowshik
I was making a mental note of everything around me. Page 64. My toes against the tubelight. The book lying open, face down and my eight-year-old sitting on it because he could not find a bookmark. Checking the potatoes after the sudden desire to eat warm buttery mashed potatoes gripped me. The unconscious getting-into-Nora mode and thinking like the author. But I cannot, for the life of me, remember what happened in my life on those couple of days that could make 'copy'. The way Nora can make ou...more
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Nora Ephron was an American film director, producer, screenwriter, novelist, and blogger.

She was best known for her romantic comedies and is a triple nominee for the Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay; for Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally... and Sleepless in Seattle. She sometimes wrote with her sister, Delia Ephron.
More about Nora Ephron...
I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections When Harry Met Sally Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women (Modern Library Humor and Wit) Wallflower at the Orgy

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“And then the dreams break into a million tiny pieces. The dream dies. Which leaves you with a choice: you can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.” 158 likes
“I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world's greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.” 123 likes
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