Friday, April 8, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Heartburn by Nora Ephron



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ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):

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 months into her pregnancy, Rachel Samstat discovers that her husband, Mark, is in love with another woman. The fact that the other woman has "a neck as long as an arm and a nose as long as a thumb and you should see her legs" is no consolation. Food sometimes is, though, since Rachel writes cookbooks for a living. And in between trying to win Mark back and loudly wishing him dead, Ephron's irrepressible heroine offers some of her favorite recipes. Heartburn is a sinfully delicious novel, as soul-satisfying as mashed potatoes and as airy as a perfect soufflé.

MY REVIEW:

This book made me laugh out loud. In fact, it made me laugh out loud so many times that I would have lost count if I'd tried to keep track. And the strangest part about laughing while reading this book was that the things that made me laugh were often related to sadness or chaos in the main character's life following the failure of her marriage.  But those thoughts and scenes were presented in such a way that there was nothing I could do but laugh.

Rachel Samstat is 7 months pregnant with another small child at home when she discovers that her husband is having an affair.  But he's not just having an affair, he's in love with another woman. So what does she do?  She goes to her father's house to get away for a little while.  Her father happens to be in the "loony bin" which is a whole other chaotic side story in her life. She then goes to visit her old therapy group, where she and the whole group end up getting mugged.  When she returns to her father's house, her husband Mark is waiting for her and asks her to come back home although he has no plans of breaking things off with the other woman.

Somehow through all of this madness I found myself laughing time and again over Rachel's take on life and love and marriage.  It wasn't until after I read the book that I learned it was written as a somewhat autobiographical story of the author's own break up with her second husband. That little bit of information brings even more meaning to one of my favorite quotes in the book:

“Vera said: “Why do you feel you have to turn everything into a story?” 
So I told her why. 
Because if I tell the story, I control the version. 
Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me. 
Because if I tell the story, it doesn't hurt as much. 
Because if I tell the story, I can get on with it.”

Heartburn is a quick, easy read. It is light-hearted and funny, despite the premise. It's a perfect "weekend getaway" kind of book!