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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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

63 of 67 people found this review helpful

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  • Cynthia
  • Monrovia, California, United States
  • 07-12-13

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!]

158 of 172 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

31 of 34 people found this review helpful

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  • Sherri
  • Guildford, Australia
  • 10-10-13

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.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Love the narration

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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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!!

14 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Even better as Audiobook, thanks to Streep

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.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Meryl Streep is magnificent

This Book is very good for someone going through the troubles of a relationship crisis. It helped me focus on something other than my own worries.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant

Where does Heartburn rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The best I've heard.

What did you like best about this story?

I picture Nora telling the story, but have to say Meryl made it better.

Which scene was your favorite?

Group therapy event. Can't make it up.

If you could take any character from Heartburn out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Of course, Rachel.

Any additional comments?

I have to watch the movie now.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Meryl Streep can do anything. Nora, not so much.

As above. Meryl Streep is one of the very best actors of my lifetime. I had no idea that she had narrated audiobooks, but of course she does this just as well as she has done anything else in her career. Just hearing her voice evokes some of the best movies of my lifetime, particularly Sophie's Choice, the French Lieutenant's Woman and others. She can be very funny, as in The Devil Wears Prada, and she can be very serious, and everything in between. The book has some good things about it, but if it weren't for the narrator I probably wouldn't even have bought it. The book seems to be heavily autobiographical, and my thinking about that is that Nora Ephron has led a particularly uneventful life. She, too, can be funny, and the idea of writing a cookbook by inserting it into a novel is clever. However, most of the book is pure gossip. And I mean pure gossip. It is difficult to elevate gossip to the level of a novel, particularly when the gossip is autobiographical, and the people in it are really quite ordinary. So her husband Mark is having an affair with Thelma Rice, the wife of Jonathan, who is something in the State Department. And their couple-best friends, Arthur and Julie, are so normal that they are squeaky-clean. When Arthur is seen kissing a big-titted blonde on a park bench, this is supposed to be absolutely the wildest thing. Really? And the fact that Nora is working on her second marriage, and that her Dad is in a loony bin, etc etc etc. Gossip. Virtually plotless, and with precious little character development as well. Now that I think about it, I'm not at all sure why I gave the thing an overall 4 rating. My bad. Shoulda been a 3. If I were you, I would pass, unless you feel that the opportunity to hear Meryl Streep narrate an audiobook is just too rare to pass up. I will now search Audible to see whether Meryl has read other, perhaps better, books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Heather
  • 09-05-13

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-05-18

Incredibly plain

Occasionally witty. Light and easy. But ignorant in its anti-feminism and has no literary flair.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Czarniecka
  • 04-22-18

inspiring and funny

It can sound in certain moments like a babbling of a member of a new-yorkee intelectual micro-cosmos but actually there is much more to it. It's funny, true and it's worth every minute of listning thanks to Meryl Streep's outstanding performance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Hilary T.
  • 07-07-14

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Lin Becker
  • 10-04-18

In 1983, he cheated and she waited for him

Nora Ephron wrote this book in 1983. Meryl Streep who is absolutely amazing (at everything!) narrated this book in 2013. As such, there was such a jarring difference between a woman in 1983 just passively taking it while her husband cheated on her and how this would have been dealt with in 2013 or now in 2018. I just got so angry and was so full of rage that Rachel just pretty much sat there, pregnant, crying and cooking while Mark sneaked off to be with Thelma, buying her jewelry and going on vacations with her. Rachel watched power being taken away from her relationship and settled for being the victim, while justifying that she would never respond in a feminist manner. This was 1983. What a pathetic time to be a woman. Fortunately, Meryl Streep is the narrator and in the last 10 minutes of the book, one finally hears the strength, utter contempt and anger coming, served with key lime pie. I cannot believe that I stuck around listening for 5 hrs and 30 mins, and please enough already with the recipes! I needed the last 10 minutes of Meryl Streep to save this book.

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  • Riikka de Wit
  • 09-25-18

Very funny and sad

A great audiobook but you have to like Meryl Streep. I really enjoyed this as I thought she was also great in the film, turns out she has also a great voice for audio books. the story is brilliant of course, I enjoyed this audio version even more than I did reading the book.

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  • helen
  • 09-20-18

meryl streep's narration is incredible

An autobiographical account of the end of a mariage. It feels like how you might remember something in the distant past with the raw emotion wrung out of it. Meryl Streep should read many more audiobooks...

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-31-18

Meryl made this

I liked the story. But I loved the narration.

at four hours it’s short, but good for on a flight etc as you get the entire thing finished in one go.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-30-18

Streep is great

Meryl Streep was excellent. Easy to listen to, funny and poignant. Only complaint is that it was too short!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-20-18

One of the funniest books I’ve listened to

You can’t fault Meryl Streep. Her delivery of this book had me on the floor laughing. It’s a truly wonderful tale of how even at the worst of times we can still find humour and lightness. I loved this book, and would highly recommend.

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  • Charlotte
  • 05-12-16

a funny, soothing story. Beautifully narrated.

not a cliff hanger by any means but a funny, witty and honest story. Streep portrayed the various characters convincingly and added to the humour. The plot was realistic and although it was slow moving the writer showed depth and frank emotion.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Fiona Thurn
  • 03-27-15

Very entertaining

A very straight story - I'm not - but also had me laughing out loud on a regular basis. Meryl Streep's delivery was perfect, of course, and just made it funnier. A good choice if you need a laugh.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful