Heartburn

By Nora Ephron,

Book cover of Heartburn

Book description

If I had to do it over again, I would have made a different kind of pie. The pie I threw at Mark made a terrific mess, but a blueberry pie would have been even better, since it would have permanently ruined his new blazer, the one he bought with…

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Why read it?

10 authors picked Heartburn as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Even though it came out more than 40 years ago, we had to include this one, the perfect chef’s kiss of a summer read, complete with recipes. The romcom master’s first novel is based on her breakup with her husband Carl Bernstein, the renowned Washington Post Watergate reporter, who had an affair when Ephron was several months pregnant. Instead of moping around, Ephron spun her tragedy into gold: a hilarious novel with a triumphant ending.

As the main character, Rachel tells her therapist (who has asked her why she always turns everything into an amusing story): “Because if I tell…

From Rachel and Lauren's list on summer books for a breezy day at the beach.

This book has the unique ability to make me laugh out loud. All the while, the heroine, seven months pregnant, learns her husband is cheating on her. Nora Ephron is a master of finding the humor in the darkest of life's messiest moments. And as she famously said, "Everything is copy,"

This book is made even more remarkable by its semi-autobiographical nature about Nora's marriage breakdown. It is a relatable story if anyone has gone through a breakup because it focuses on the moment when you realize that love for oneself is the most important thing. The dialogue is brilliant,…

From Christina's list on believing in the existence of love.

Cookbook author Rachel Samstat is seven months pregnant and finds out her husband is having an affair. Scorched to the gut, she suffers six weeks of intensive, understandable heartburn. 

It shouldn’t be funny, but it’s so snarky that I couldn’t help but laugh deeply and often. Therein lies the beauty of Nora Ephron’s writing—life is layered, and inside every aspect of woe and worry is also a kernel of hope, maybe even joy, where humor is given space to reside. 

I found myself cheering Rachel on, hoping she would wade through the emotional muck of her crumbling marriage on her…

Yes, this book is over forty years old, but it’s still a delight to read.

Rachel, the heroine, is a food writer who discovers her husband is cheating. She leaves him with her young children in tow and a baby on the way. And yet the book is classic Ephron: funny, acerbic, and touching all at once.

So why is it on this list? Because Rachel, the food writer, peppers her story with recipes and descriptions of restaurant meals that will have you licking your lips and grabbing a pen to write down the ingredients. At the same time you’re…

From Meg's list on when you’re feeling peckish.

Nora Ephron and I share the same birthday, although years apart. Heartburn is a novel by Ephron that explores the breakdown of her marriage through fictitious characters.

The novel is based on a six-week span of time in the life of Rachel Smstat, who is married to Mark Feldman. Heartburn is a fictitious narrative of events that mimic Ephron’s real life when she discovers her husband, Carl Bernstein, has fallen in love with her best friend, Margaret Jay, while she is expecting their second child.

Ephron uses the complexity of humor to camouflage or maybe expand life’s most painful moments…

Nora Ephron’s Heartburn is hilarious but also full of pain.

It is the account of the breakdown of her marriage. Totally raw and chatty, you feel as if you’re sitting with Nora as she pours her heart out to you.

I loved this book because it showed me how good it is to be real and personal in a book, as it evokes emotions you can identify with.

This semi-autobiographical novel follows the romantic misadventures of food writer Rachel, whose husband has fallen in love with another woman. Lost between wanting him dead and wanting him back, Rachel shares her favourite recipes to heal the heart along with hilarious one-liners. 

Be ready to crave mashed potatoes with this absolute classic in the genre. If you’re still unsure, the audiobook is read by Meryl Streep, who also starred in the movie aside Jack Nicholson.

From Margaux's list on to make you hungry.

First of all, Nora Ephron is a genius, so there’s that. In this story, based loosely on the writer’s own life, Rachel Samstat is grieving, but it’s not because someone died. It’s because sometimes she wishes someone would. In this seminal novel, the main character, a pregnant cookbook author, discovers her husband is in love with someone else and finds herself at once cursing him and wishing to have him back. Sometimes in life, we mourn though no one has perished—we mourn a part of ourselves, a time in our lives, a relationship that’s fractured or changed. I just find…

From Nora's list on to make you laugh and cry.

Nora Ephron’s book Heartburn is a funny, short, smart novel about food and relationships. The book explores adultery, revenge, group therapy, weaving in a number of recipes to highlight the emotions as the story charts a fictionalized version Ephron’s real-life marriage imploding when she discovers her husband, journalist Carl Bernstein, is having an affair. Ephron perfectly captures this, extolling the comforting virtues of buttery spuds: “Most people do not have nearly enough mashed potatoes in their lives, and when they do, it's almost always at the wrong time."

It took me a while to realise the thing that so many of my favourite novels have in common, and that thing is food. My first pick is a classic. While Nora Ephron’s Heartburn focuses on the breakup of a marriage, the protagonist’s relationship with food and with her most-loved recipes is a subplot about how the comforts of good cooking can help us through the toughest times in life. Not only does Heartburn contain wisdom about resilience and agency in the face of life crises, it also reveals the best way to roast almonds, mash potatoes, make key…

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