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I'll Have What She's Having: How Nora Ephron's Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  952 ratings  ·  210 reviews
A backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron's revered trilogy--When Harry Met Sally, You've Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle--which brought romantic comedies back to the fore, and an intimate portrait of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of Hollywood women, from Mindy Kaling to Lena Dunham.

In I'll Have What She's Having entertainment journalist Erin
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ebook, 304 pages
Published August 29th 2017 by Hachette Books
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Average rating 3.66  · 
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Rachna R
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rachna by: Tegan
Honestly enjoyed the heck out of this. It obviously helped that the three movies that the bulk of this movie is about are some of my favourite movies of all time!, but I think it also helped how well the behind-the-scenes mechanics of them were described - the conception of the stories, the interplay that went behind the creation of some characters. I liked that Carlson threaded in the general trajectories of the instrumental actors and creators in between the movie bits; it contextualised a ...more
Alex Etheridge
A book about three of my favorite movies ("When Harry Met Sally", "Sleepless in Seattle", and "You've Got Mail"), yes please! The writing was often clunky and overly detailed, but, who cares? Meg and Billy, Meg and Tom, and Nora Ephron's epitomizing, New York-based movie settings carry the book. Reminiscent and romantically nostalgic. Who wants to come over for a Nora movie marathon?
Zoann
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was disappointed in this book. I had hoped for an analysis of Nora Ephron's films, but this reads more like a long People magazine article. I love Ephron's iconic films (Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally and You've Got Mail) so there was just enough inside info about the movie-making process to make me finish the book.
Elizabeth☮
I love the movie When Harry Met Sally. Love it. As a college student, my friend Annette and I watched this movie every time I visited with her: EVERY TIME. We have whole sections memorized.
Needless to say, when I ran across this title in the library, I knew I had to read it.

I enjoyed the look into Ephron's writing process and also her directing process. There is a lot to parse out when it comes to Hollywood and making a movie. There is a lot of insider information shared with the reader about
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Jaksen
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Light-hearted and witty, a little of this, a lot of that. The talent of Nora Ephron and her influence on the rom-com movies so many of us love. (Yeah, I love them, I'm just not into romantic novels.)

I found it an easy read, a lot of the information covered here was included in the television special about her, which I found terribly sad. The book is not so much sad, as revealing. What she loved, what she wanted, and how she worked her 'movie magic,' on three of my fav. films, and which are three
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Whitney
It's a really interesting look at the making of Nora Ephron's three most popular movies and I did thoroughly enjoy it. However, the subtitle absolutely doesn't apply - the movies are not discussed in relation to other romantic comedies or the genre in general (at least not in any detail) and there's no critique. I liked it, but I like behind the scenes books. If you're here for criticism or critique you're in the wrong place, this is basically a fan who got to talk to people about the movie. ...more
Jennifer Somers
Nov 01, 2017 rated it liked it
I read this while I was sick in bed and it was the perfect light, but interesting read for the occasion. Loved reminiscing about the 3 popular romantic comedies of Nora Ephron and hearing the behind the scenes stories of herself as well as the lead actors. The writing style is a little random, but it worked for the content. 3.5 stars.
Deb
4.5 stars.

I love the three movies (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, & You've Got Mail) that this book is focused on, romcoms, and movies in general. I am also an entertainment trivia junkie. It's not so much the gossip that I am interested in, it's more the behind-the-scenes glimpses of my favorite movies and television shows, such as who were the top contenders for the roles, how did lines end up in making it in, what scenes were cut and why, and who got along and who didn't.
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Vikki VanSickle
This is exactly what you think it is- a fascinating and very detailed look at how WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE & YOU'VE GOT MAIL came to be. An absolute must-read for Nora Ephron fans. I've read many of her essays, but reading various friends, coworkers and admirers' first-hand experiences with Nora enriched my perspective of who she was and what she did. Sobering insights about being a woman in the film industry aside, this is also an inspiring read. Love, love love.
Travel.with.a.book
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In I'll Have What She's Having entertainment journalist Erin Carlson tells the story of the real Nora Ephron and how she reinvented the romcom through her trio of instant classics.
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This is a really quick and entertaining read about 3 popular romantic comedies of Nora Ephron which I totally love them!
It really shows the experiences of a independent woman in the film industry, it really is an inspiring read!
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It really is a fun, gossipy and repetitive book from Nora which I really love her work!
I'm
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Cayla
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it


These movies are like a warm hug. As someone who is a big fan of these three rom-coms + behind the scenes dirt, this book was so enjoyable for me. It was fun to read about the origins of these movies and the obstacles they had to overcome in order to cement them in the rom-com hall of fame, so to speak. Carlson's writing can be choppy at times - she bounces around a lot from person to person, movie to movie, story to story, without transitioning, so it's easy to get lost, but it didn't detract
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Diana
Mar 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, set-in-nyc
I've seen all these movies but Sleepless in Seattle is the only one I am super familiar with. It was an interesting look behind the scenes of those movies even if the writing was a little scattered at times.
Cait
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in2018
I love Nora Ephron and I love these movies and I love this book.
Maria
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was an enjoyable insider look at not only three great rom coms; it was also a reflection of the life of Nora Ephron and a celebration of badass women in Hollywood.
Ana
This is basically a delightful mix between an extended essay and a biography. It could've been shorter, but still the pacing allowed me to fly through the book and gain some insights.
Elle
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you love her movies and have seen them so many times you can recite the lines by heart, definitely read!
Jo
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Docking a star because I'm petty and I think even passing mentions of Woody Allen/Annie Hall as one of the RomCom Greats — and presenting this as objective fact — is trash. I also liked Carlson's inclusion of biographical bits for the major players in the chronology of the three movies, but I think the afterword should have hewed more closely to analysis and the end of Ephron's career and life (the parts exhaustively recounting the dissolution of Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid's marriage felt ...more
Barbara
Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked the three movies this book is centered on but the author never zeroed in on how these three saved romantic comedy. In addition there is an unwieldy list of people who worked in various movies doing various jobs and I couldn't keep them straight. The best parts were focused on how Nora demanded perfection-the correct cream soda or avocado-and set up to make these great films. Nora would have been a far better author for this book.
Laurel-Rain
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In I'll Have What She's Having entertainment journalist Erin Carlson tells the story of the real Nora Ephron and how she reinvented the rom-com through her trio of instant classics. With a cast of famous faces including Rob Reiner, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, and Billy Crystal, Carlson takes readers on a rollicking, revelatory trip to Ephron's New York City, where reality took a backseat to romance and Ephron--who always knew what she wanted and how she wanted it--ruled the set with an attention to ...more
Meg
2.5 stars - The title is a misnomer. What it should be called is "How Nora Ephron - and EVERY SINGLE PERSON EVER CONNECTED WITH HER OR ONE OF HER FILMS - gets interviewed and every detail is put into this book in one ginormous filmish-type-memoir book." Now, if you are a die-hard Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan/You've Got Mail/Sleepless in Seattle fan (like I am), you will probably still be fine with wading through all of the tidbits and snippets in this book (because, basically, it's like reading the ...more
Rosemary Rey
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I'm a huge Nora Ephron fan. I love her work. I have her Scribble Scribble/Crazy Salad book on my nightstand like it's a Bible. I've watched her films. I watched her documentary. I sobbed when she died. So when this book came up on Netgalley, I prayed to her spirit that I'd get to read it. And I wasn't disappointed.
As an avid Masterclass subscriber, I wish she would have had an opportunity to teach Filmmaking, Screenwriting, or Writing because she had so much to teach. Unfortunately, those of us
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Becky
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, nonfiction
If you love When Harry Met Sally , Sleepless in Seattle , You've Got Mail , or all three, then this book is a must-read! I'll Have What She's Having takes you behind the scenes at all three movies, sharing how they each came to be, including the origins of some of our favorite lines and scenes. (When Harry Met Sally originally was supposed to have a different ending. Can you imagine the injustice?)

Light and fun, gossipy and occasionally a bit rambly and slightly repetitive (the addition of a
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Kari
Sep 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, 2017, for-review
I am a huge fan of When Harry met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle. Both are fun and really romantic movies. So, I was really interested in reading this book. I'll Have What She's Having is a look at the iconic writer behind the screenplays of both movies, Nora Ephron. She was a great writer during her life and produced a trilogy of classic movies that will stand the test of time. Unfortunately ,this is one fan who didn't completely love the book.

The book is filled with interesting information
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Maine Colonial
I so enjoyed the insider stories about the making of these movies and about the development of Nora Ephron’s filmmaking career that I was willing to overlook some elements that grated. In particular, I was often taken aback by Erin Carlson’s seeming assumption that the book’s readers are all millennials who need to have everybody born before about 1960 explained to them and in their terms. Nora Ephron is like Taylor Swift, really?

Much as I admire Nora Ephron, I seriously question Carlson’s
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Kellee
I heard about this book on a podcast, The Rewatchables, where the hosts talk about the film You’ve Got Mail. It seemed like a fun read; however the book reminds me more of a magazine article about all the people involved in the three films. Even the title seems like a magazine article title. Anyway, Erin Carlson purports to explain how Nora Ephron saved the romantic comedy, but I’d argue she never really answers that question. Instead the book seems to love talking about background information - ...more
Niamh
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'll admit this now: though I've read a lot of Nora Ephron's written work, I have not seen ANY of her movies. None of those seminal romantic comedies that this entire book goes into massive depth about, giving you an unseen look at the making of these classic films. For a film student, this is probably a cardinal sin. I know, I know, it's terrible. But now I have more motivation than ever to watch these movies, purely by how amazing this book was.
Examining 'When Harry Met Sally', 'You've Got
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Lauren
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
A smart and thorough look at Ephron's three classics: When Harry Met Sally (a favorite of mine), Sleepless in Seattle (I saw this once but I don't really remember it/care about it so this section wasn't as interesting to me), and You've Got Mail (which I had never seen and watched before I hit this section because based on the first two I know I'd enjoy it much more that way. It was great!). I don't think I realized how deep Carlson would go in the production details of each. I was expecting ...more
Kate
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”

I really enjoyed this book. As any true Nora Ephron fan, I knew much of this already (her son did an awesome documentary for HBO called “Everything is Copy”), but I did get a lot of new information, as well. Her iconic trio of romantic comedies hold a special place in my heart, as do her two books of essays- all of which I’ve read and watched and listened to enough times to have them memorized. I think I ought to cue one up right now.
Rose
Apr 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Nora Ephron’s trinity of rom coms - When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail - are some of my favorite movies I never tire of watching. This book takes you on the journey of those movies and how Nora set the stage for the future of rom coms. As someone who can quote every line of these movies, this book was so fascinating as I learned all sorts of backstage trivia none of which dampened my love of those movies. A must read for Nora Ephron fans.
Oleva Berard
Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Unfortunately this was a case of the book not doing what I was expecting going in. I was hoping for more of an examination of what Ephron did for the romantic comedy genre as a whole but that didn’t really tie in until the conclusion. This is almost an oral history of the background behind her 3 big rom coms which was done well at some points and then dragged in others.
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