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3.57  ·  Rating details ·  14,449 Ratings  ·  1,869 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.

Paperback, 179 pages
Published May 28th 1996 by Vintage (first published 1983)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Tanya Burr
Jan 26, 2016 rated it liked it
I gave this book 3 stars, because although I enjoyed it, it's not a book I finished and instantly began recommending to everyone I know. It was a very quick read and I liked how unique it was with the comfort food recipes set within the novel. I thought it was clever and funny how Nora made light of a very sad situation...heartbreak.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: comic-novels
3.5 stars
“I married him against all evidence. I married him believing that marriage doesn’t work, that love dies, that passion fades, and in so doing I became the kind of romantic only a cynic is truly capable of being.”
The history and origins of this novel and the subsequent film are a matter of record. It charts the end of Ephron’s marriage to the journalist Carl Bernstein. The focus is Bernstein’s affair with Margaret Jay. The characters are very thinly disguised. In the book Ephron’s charact
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

I grew up with Nora Ephron. Her movies taught me everything I would ever need to know about having unrealistic expectations when it comes to matters of the heart . . .

Commercial Photography

They made me laugh . . .

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And sometimes they even made me cry . . .

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That's why it's so hard for me to give this book such a low rating. But it's a low rating I must give because Heartburn just wasn't very good. I'll let Nora's own words do most of the talking here so I
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

‘I think I was so entranced with being a couple that I didn’t even notice that the person I though I was a couple with thought he was a couple with someone else.’

Heartburn is Nora Ephron’s first and only novel, and this breaks my heart because I adored this story. Never did I think it so thoroughly possible to take a story about heartbreak and turn it into something so full of life and jest. Heartbreak is a devastating thing that we humans are forced to suffer through,
Sep 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
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."
Nov 24, 2012 rated it liked it
This is one of those books that shows you how much a writer can get away with when they possess a strong voice. Heartburn is a fun novel about marital infidelity but it only hits one note. There's no depth or complexity to the story. Instead, it reads like a comedic monologue albeit a very enjoyable one, but still... I wanted more, no matter how many times I laughed or smiled to myself.
"My mother taught me many things when I was growing up, but the main thing I learned from her is that everything is copy. She said it again and again, and I have quoted her saying it again and again. As a result, I knew the moment my marriage ended that someday it might make a book – if I could just stop crying. One of the things I’m proudest of is that I managed to convert an event that seemed to me hideously tragic at the time to a comedy – and if that’s not fiction, I don’t know what is."
Jul 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Wince, wince. Ouch. How can I give my hero a 3? But oh, I must. I fell in love with Nora Ephron when I read her book of essays called I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman. The love affair continued when I read another collection of essays called I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections. She is a brilliant comedian, and her timing and delivery are perfect. She also wrote a great article about death and dying, which I continue to pass around to friends every chance I get. ...more
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, 2016
I love Nora Ephron. I really do. This is not a perfect book, but it was perfect for me right now. I laughed, was touched, jotted down quotes and was generally reminded why Nora is my go-to when I need something to cheer me up. I read a part of this before realizing Meryl Streep narrated the audiobook, so I downloaded it, and lay in bed most of today, reading my physical copy along with Meryl.

This is a semi-autobiographical novel about Nora's time being married to her second husband, whom she fo
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A light fluffy easy read if you can call the topic of divorce "fluffy" I simply loved this story of a New York couple who are facing the effects of infidelity and are verging on a divorce. So many witty moments had me chuckling hard throughout, I'm actually sad that the book was so short. Ephron had an uncanny ability to turn ordinary thoughts and situations into comedy gold. I felt like reading this is better than therapy! There is something so warm and inviting in her writing style. Really enj ...more
Alissa Patrick
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
A funny premise but it fell slightly short for me. It almost felt like she spoke on a tape recorder and then just jotted down what she had said verbatim, instead of compiling it into concise thoughts. It was extremely jumbled and all over the place.

Stars are for the audio being read by my spirit animal, Meryl Streep.
Rachel Smalter Hall
Meryl Streep reading Heartburn on audio was EVERYTHING. I've been wanting to listen to this for ages, and I'm sooo so glad I finally did.

Nora Ephron caught her husband cheating on her when she was seven months pregnant with their second child, and writing Heartburn is what she did about it. What is better than a jilted woman out for revenge on her cheating husband? A FAMOUS jilted woman with a publishing contract and razor-sharp pen.

In Heartburn, the Rom-Com Box Office Ephron of Sleepless in Sea
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this story.
Essentially the bitter pill of a failing marriage coated with sweet sour sarcasm and humor. Lots of food references and a few recipes thrown in.
The protagonist is Rachel, a Jewish lady (she harps a lot about Jewish way of life, hence I too am mentioning it) with a toddler son, who at the beginning is 7 months pregnant with her second child and who has just got proof of her husband Mark's infidelity with Thelma, a not well loved family friend. Thelma has a ve
Carolyn F.

First off, Meryl Streep's narration was fantastic. She also starred in the movie but I don't know if this was before or after narrating the book. The movie almost exactly mirrored the book except for the Key Lime Pie scene which was all internal dialogue in the book and was spoken in the movie (I liked that she said it all out loud so I'm siding with the movie on this). Some parts had me tearing up on the train - it's so hard when you love someone and they don't love you anymore no matt
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
Susan Bybee
Jun 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jessica Woodbury
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
I think a good 60% of the Book Riot contributors have read this audiobook and raved about it so it was only a matter of time until I got to it. Streep reads it incredibly well (and gets a lot more to work with in the novel than in the only so-so movie version). And it's funny and enjoyable to spend time with Rachel. This isn't a terribly serious book about divorce, not one that will help you work through your own relationship problems, but it's a nice way to spend some time.
Aug 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Jan 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Heartburn - Nora Ephron  The hilarious comedy of a really bad break up, based on a true story.
And proving that writing well is the best revenge.
Library copy
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was hilarious! On the face of it, it's sad and emotionally draining. And in the hands of anyone other than Nora Ephron, that's all that it would be. I mean, a story about a woman, who at seven months of pregnancy, finds out that her husband is cheating on her and her marriage is pretty much kaput, shouldn't be funny at all! But trust me, you will laugh out loud at some parts.

I didn't realize until I reached the end of the fourth chapter that this was a novel. But in my defence, I recently r
Aug 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
I think I was about a third into the book when the narrator's name was first mentioned in a conversation with the husband. Rachel. What?! I thought it was Nora!! Only then did I realise that this is not actually Nora Ephron's memoir but a novel dealing with someone's fictional marriage(s). It was great, though, and had it been a real memoir that would have been the icing on the cake and worth five stars.

It's hard to explain how a book about infidelity, narcissistic husbands, political animals i
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
Bookkaholic Magazine
Sep 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
(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.
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-fun
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.
Jen A.
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-read, 2012
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
Indrani Sen
May 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa
A humorous, if dark, look at a crumbling marriage. The pain is palpable. The recipes okayish. A good read.
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2015 Reading Chal...: Heartburn by Nora Ephron (1983) 2 15 Aug 12, 2015 08:18PM  
The Smart Chicks ...: Heartburn 3 18 May 14, 2013 06:57AM  
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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...

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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.” 204 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.” 166 likes
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