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
"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)
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
Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always."
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."
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Avid reader of classics and fiction, history and well-written genre novels. Music lover and huge audiobook fan.
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.
Australian, living in beautiful central Victoria. Audio book addict otherwise fairly well balanced.
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.
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!!
Say something about yourself!
The best I've heard.
I picture Nora telling the story, but have to say Meryl made it better.
Group therapy event. Can't make it up.
Of course, Rachel.
I have to watch the movie now.
I loved the narration of this book; I thought Streep did a brilliant job, although I have to admit that, overall, the book wasn't as great as i hoped it'd be so I was a little disappointed.
Her vast experience as an actor is much of what makes the listening to this book so very enjoyable. Though it does help that Ephron's writing is so terrific.
Avid listener on my daily commute!
Love the story, the laugh out loud humor, the revenge scene at the end. Laughter really is the best medicine! Would love to know how this book affected Bernstein; I certainly hope he was humiliated, and I hope The Giantess broke his heart. So glad Ephron went on to have a fabulous and fulfilling life.
Meryl Streep is the best narrator/reader in the world!! Easily the best book I've listened to on Audible so far.
Audible is a really great way to escape into different worlds. I love "reading" and discovering new authors and stories.
The book gave me heartburn. The story was really flat - another divorce story - no solutions, no depth of characters.
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.
I love Meryl Streep - but her performance was just ok.
No reaction, other than it was a credited wasted.
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.
"So great!! I don't want it to end!"
This is a great story - and the reading is just perfect.
Never read anything like it.
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.
"Like comfort food"
A simple sorry is elevated by Ephron's deft use of humour and Meryl Streep's funny, sympathetic and engaging reading.
The recipes - which are normally things I dislike in fiction those moments that haul you out of the story. Here they serve a double purpose of relaying a feeling or need to be comforted by food, or a particular memory that is entwined with the main chatacter's relationship with eating and food.
There's a bit in Steel Magnolias where Dolly Parton says 'laughter through tears is my favorite emotion'. If you agree this is your book. Let's all give thanks for Nora Ephron. And Meryl Streep. Enjoy.
"lots of fun!"
Really easy to listen to loved the recipes and Meryl was outstanding. would definitely recommend
"enjoyable and excellently narrated"
I enjoyed this book - the story was good; as witty as it was poignant. Meryl Streep is, as expected, an excellent narrator. The whole thing just seemed to end rather abruptly. I'll definitely be trying more Nora Ephron, though.
"Meryl Streep enhances story."
I was actually looking for something with Meryl & had heard the title before. It's light, easy listening but made 100 times better through the performance.
I gave up after chapter four this book was wasted on the narrater. Too much bad. Language. I shall return this book.
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