Heartburn by Nora Ephron

I haven’t read anything by Nora Ephron but came across Heartburn as an audiobook read by Meryl Streep and it is excellent, both the book and Streep’s reading/acting of it. I understand that the story is a fictionalised account of Ephron’s marriage and break-up with the journalist Carl Bernstein and this is probably why it seems so realistic .

Rachel Comstat is a writer about cooking and reviewing restaurants but is shunned by chefs and the like because she isn’t formally trained but how trained do you have to be to go to a restaurant and write about the food and place? Her husband -to-be, Mark, asked her almost daily to marry him and she always said no, based on her experiences with her first husband. Eventually, persuaded by the fact that he will never ask her again on a picnic in that particular location she says yes and they have their first child. The book tells of the fun they have on holidays with friends but during her second pregnancy, Rachel realises that Mark is having an affair and he leaves for a short while but then comes back. This is the part I didn’t really understand – why go back if all the time you are back you spend looking for houses together and then you realise that he is preparing to leave only better. This time he is buying expensive jewellry presumably so that the money is not there for the divorce settlement and then he can cash it in later on when he needs it.

I found the story quite funny, Ephrom writes with humour, I loved the recipes dotted throughout the book – only mashed potatoes will do when it is the end of a relationship – and I loved Meryl Streep’s reading of the book. She is Rachel and she has the right nuances and emphasis in all the right places. It is a wonderful reading. I will definitely try more of Ephron’s work.

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