by Nora Ephron
“I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me.” So writes Ephron at the end of Heartburn, her 1983 autobiographical novel about the breakup of her marriage to journalist Carl Bernstein. Funny, clever, and ever self-deprecating, Ephron’s humor does indeed cover up any traces of self-pity. She has the humorist’s gift for seeing ordinary incidents in extraordinary ways, and then putting that vision on paper. This is Ephron describing an embrace with her housekeeper: “Juanita gave me a big hug, which was awkward since she was only about four feet six inches tall, and a hug from her felt like the Heimlich maneuver.” Good stuff, that, but the book is also more than a bit sad.
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