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Heartburn | [Nora Ephron]

Heartburn

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.
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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Solo Narration - Female, 2014

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.

©2011 Nora Ephron (P)2012 Random House

What the Critics Say

"Great fun. . . . Though Heartburn bristles ferociously with wit, it's not lacking in soul." (The New York Times Book Review)

"Nora Ephron's first novel is warm, witty and wise." (Harper's Bazaar)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (453 )
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4.3 (404 )
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  •  
    Doggy Bird Glen Ridge, NJ USA 07-18-13
    Doggy Bird Glen Ridge, NJ USA 07-18-13 Member Since 2014

    Avid reader of classics and fiction, history and well-written genre novels. Music lover and huge audiobook fan.

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    "Delicious listening experience!"

    Combine Meryl Streep's talents with Nora Ephron's wit -->a recipe for delight.

    Having read the book AGES ago and seen the movie, I was not prepared for how VERY much I would enjoy this audio. I was afraid that maybe it would be 'dated'. I was so wrong.

    The story remais as witty, wry and wistful as it was thirty years ago. In fact I am more impressed now with its poise than I was the first time time I read it. I agree with the review of another reader: by the act of writing this book Nora Ephron transformed herself from victim to heroine of her own life.

    Meryl Streep's reading adds so much to this audio. She always inhabits a role, but there was so much love and affection in her portrayal of Rachel Samstat. I feel her performance as a tribute to a life well-lived - the life of Nora Ephron. She was the very best choice of narrator for this story.

    This audiobook was perfect, I can't think how it could have been better or I could have enjoyed it more.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marci portland, OR, United States 07-10-13
    Marci portland, OR, United States 07-10-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Just a treasure"

    This book being released in audio format is a gift. Having it read by Meryl Streep makes it a priceless gift. The constant and specific 80's references are so much fun. The setting in DC and the political references give such an intimate peek into lives and moments, it feels like you are eavesdropping instead of simply listening to a book. These combine to make the book feel like a purposeful classic instead of feeling dated.

    Streep's narration is beyond perfect. She takes the whole experience to the next level. Her occasional self-effacing lilt and her chuckle add to that personal feeling, like she's a little embarrassed that she got caught telling such a tale. Narrators are usually best when they can become invisible, not true in this case. Streep adds to the story in a way that only she could, that only a master could.

    I'll listen to this again. I really enjoyed it and want to catch any little moments I might have missed the first time

    25 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cammie 07-17-13
    Cammie 07-17-13
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    "Great narration! Delightful story!"
    What did you love best about Heartburn?

    Story was great!! And who would do a better job at narrating this book than Meryl Streep who played the role of Nora Ephron in the movie Heartburn? Her voice and intonation will take you there!
    The story was also great, didn’t see the movie yet and I am glad I didn’t. I also love food; all the recipes sprinkled throughout the book, spiced up the story. One day, while listening to Heartburn, when I felt blue, I used one of them and it was great!!
    I highly recommend it!!


    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 07-12-13
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 07-12-13 Member Since 2012

    Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!

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    "Be the Heroine , Not the Victim"

    Nora Ephron (1941 -2012) wrote the scripts for "When Harry Met Sally" (1989), "Sleepless in Seattle" (1993), and"You've Got Mail" (1998). I love these films, and I've seen them so many times I can say the lines along with the characters. Ephron's New York is a vibrant, colorful place full of native and transplanted New Yorkers who adore the city, from sidewalk trash pickup to astounding views from the tallest skyscrapers.

    I've seen the movie version of "Heartburn" (1986). Meryl Streep is a true wonder - remember "Sophie's Choice" (1982)? And I truly forgot she wasn't really Julia Child in "Julie & Julia" (2009). I didn't like the movie version of "Heartburn," though - and I never read the 1982 book.

    I did like the Audible of "Heartburn" very much. I remember that "Heartburn" was reviewed by a lot of critics as whiny and self absorbed when it was published 31 years ago, but today, it is snarkily amusing and a wry slice of the 80's. There's something sad and funny about a woman who renovates the couple's several homes, a cook book author with her own cooking show, who complains about being broke all the time - and is clueless that her feckless husband is carrying on an affair with the money going to expensive trips and gifts to his mistress. When Rachel Samstat finally looses it, she does it with memorable flare.

    Ephron wrote "Heartburn" after a bitter end to her marriage to the philandering Carl Bernstein. Yes, the Bernstein, who along with Bob Woodward and a whistleblower code named "Deep Throat" exposed the Watergate crimes and brought down Richard M. Nixon's presidency. Bernstein referred to the whistleblower as "MF", and Ephron called her fictional wandering spouse "Mark Feldman." In 2005, the FBI agent who leaked information to Bernstein went public - Mark Felt. Ephron knew who Bernstein's informant was. Listening to "Heartburn," I wondered if she was covertly pointing at Felt.

    Ephron turned what was a hushed scandal that had Washington DC society whispering its pity for her into a best selling book and a major motion picture. Now it's a wonderful Audible book, performed by Streep - who makes you forget she's not actually Rachel Samstat/Nora Ephron in the first five minutes.

    The title of this review is an edited quote from a commencement speech Ephron gave at Wellesley in 1996. She said, "Above all else, be the heroine of your life , not the victim." That's what Ephron did with "Heartburn."

    [If you found this review helpful, please let me know by clicking the helpful button. Thanks!]

    66 of 74 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherri Guildford, Australia 10-10-13
    Sherri Guildford, Australia 10-10-13 Member Since 2009

    Australian, living in beautiful central Victoria. Audio book addict otherwise fairly well balanced.

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    "Nora Ephron and Meryl Streep. What could go wrong?"

    Oh I love this book. I loved it when I first read it many years ago and I love it more now I've listened to Meryl Streep run down the steps so beautifully placed there by the writer, Nora Ephron. Even though it's fictionalised, it's pretty much a memoir from the time she was married to Watergate journalist, Carl Bernstein and even though it's gaspingly hurtful (for her) it's also hilarious (for us). Meryl is of course magnificent. I remember thinking what a wonderful character the mother was before realising - yep, still Meryl. Brilliant narrator, great writer and a very successful book. Do yourself a favour and head to the cart.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marie Arlington, TN, United States 09-22-13
    Marie Arlington, TN, United States 09-22-13 Member Since 2013

    Glad to be part of the audible community and I hope that my reviews help to choose the right book and share my love of reading.

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    "You will need Mylanta after this!"
    If you could sum up Heartburn in three words, what would they be?

    The book gave me heartburn. The story was really flat - another divorce story - no solutions, no depth of characters.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The only thing Ms. Ephron nailed were the description of the emotions of the characters. Yet there was no spice to the story and some aspects were unbelievable. The only spice given were the cusswords.


    Have you listened to any of Meryl Streep’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I love Meryl Streep - but her performance was just ok.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No reaction, other than it was a credited wasted.


    Any additional comments?

    This book had great reviews, so I thought I give it a try. I have read better books about divorces, as tragic as that is, but this one was just mere average. Get the book on sale, don't waist a credit.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexander Chicago, IL, United States 09-26-13
    Alexander Chicago, IL, United States 09-26-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Ephron's come to life with Streep's Narration"
    Would you listen to Heartburn again? Why?

    Meryl Streep is a wonderful narrator. You can get lost in her delivery of Ephron's witty and timeless story of divorce. Ephron writes an autobiographical account of her real-life divorce to Carl Bernstein. The events leading up to the split are heartbreaking and gut wrenchingly hilarious.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Ephron spins a domestic dissolution into a timeless comedy.


    Which character – as performed by Meryl Streep – was your favorite?

    Streep's portrayal of Richard and Juanita the maid were laugh out loud moments. Her performance of Rachel transforms Rachel into a real person and not just a witty woman reminiscing on her bygone divorce at a cocktail party.


    If you could rename Heartburn, what would you call it?

    It's a perfect title.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Los Angeles, CA United States 02-02-15
    Amazon Customer Los Angeles, CA United States 02-02-15 Member Since 2014

    ilsapeels

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    "Spoiler alert - it ends"

    I only wanted it to go on forever but Meryl stopped at some point and I am pretty upset about that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RueRue 12-09-14
    RueRue 12-09-14

    RueRue

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    "Funny and Observant"

    Meryl Streep + Nora Ephron = a funny and observant look at a marriage break-up. How could this be so laugh-out-loud funny ? Trust me, it is. Nora Ephron has a very distinctive. writing voice and sense of humor, and Meryl Streep gives a perfect performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela 10-18-14
    Pamela 10-18-14
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    "Meryl delivers !"

    I'm not sure if I would have liked this book as much as a hardback...but I LOVED this 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 narration of an audio book more!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Hilary T.
    Shoreham-by-sea, United Kingdom
    7/7/14
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    "Unexpected pleasure"

    I knew nothing about Norah Ephron other than that she had been married to one of the Watergate journalists, Carl Bernstein, but I was attracted to this audiobook by the fact that it was narrated by the superlative actress, Meryl Streep. It did not disappoint. Meryl Streep really brings the story to life by putting persuasive emotion into the account of a woman who is cheated on by her husband when she is 8 months pregnant. It turns out that this is not the first time and the questions are - stay or go? forgive or not forgive? divorce or try and save the marriage? It could so easily have been a depressing and dire story, but it is not. It is whimsical on occasions, bitter on others, but never anything less than entertaining. I have since found out that Norah Ephron was a journalist, essayist, novelist, playwright, Oscar-nominated screenwriter and a movie director. So sad that such a multi- talented woman died at only 71. However, this beautifully performed audiobook is a great tribute to her memory. I recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Heather
    Ireland
    9/5/13
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    "So great!! I don't want it to end!"
    Where does Heartburn rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is a great story - and the reading is just perfect.


    What other book might you compare Heartburn to, and why?

    Never read anything like it.


    Which character – as performed by Meryl Streep – was your favourite?

    Rachel.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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