Review: Heartburn

Nora Ephron (1983)

It’s to a point now where I avoid any movie written by Nora Ephron. While I liked the movies Silkwood and When Harry Met Sally (a guilty pleasure), her screenplays since Sleepless in Seattle (including Michael and Hanging Up) make me cringe. I was pretty sure I was going to dislike this book before I’d even opened the cover, but I was curious. I’d seen the film adaptation directed by Mike Nichols (starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson) about a million years ago and didn’t recall hating it. And I was curious to read something penned by Ephron before she became entrenched in irksome Hollywood chick-flicks.

Surprise, surprise, I didn’t care for Heartburn much. Rachel Samstat is a successful cookbook author who’s pregnant with her second child by her second husband when she discovers he’s having an affair. I disliked just about every character and couldn’t sympathize with Rachel; she was just too annoying. The conversational style, the cookbook shtick (including recipes peppered throughout), and the snarky Washington insider setting missed me by a mile. Like a bad ‘80s movie, this book felt very dated.

I’ll say this for Heartburn—when I’d finished the book I was reading and needed something to help kill time during a certain wee someone’s two-hour nap, it did do the trick.


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