Nora Ephron may be best known as the author of the screenplay for When Harry Met Sally. Most people know Rob Reiner directed the movie—and that famous scene in the restaurant—but Ms. Ephron wrote the original screenplay, which was nominated for an Oscar. Heartburn came first, and in it you can see Ephron’s same acerbic sense of humor. In fact, if you pay attention, you’ll notice that at least one line from Heartburn was recycled in When Harry Met Sally. It’s an excellent line, deserving of being used more than once.
Heartburn was not as lighthearted as I expected, but it was a very entertaining read, despite the fact that the story revolves around the demise of the main character’s marriage. It takes on a more interesting edge if you understand the context of the book, which was based on Ephron’s own divorce from her husband Carl Bernstein, one of the journalists who broke the Watergate scandal, and their life in Washington D.C.
Despite the heartbreaking subject matter, Ephron’s wit carries you through the book with her acidic humor, truly ludicrous situations, and well-placed recipes worthy of trying. According to Heartburn’s heroine, Rachel, she has the recipe for the perfect vinaigrette, which she offers up to the readers along with many others including crispy and mashed potatoes, peach pie, and bacon hash. Learning from Rachel’s experiences, I now know that if I ever decide to throw a pie at someone, I’ll make sure that it’s blueberry, not key lime. Meryl Streep, who starred in the movie, also narrates the story if you do books on tape or download the narrated version.
A perfect match for Heartburn is Sass in a Glass, by Crossroads winery. Far from acidic, it’s a smooth red blend with just the right amount of spice. You can find it here: http://umbrawinery.com/menu/.
Enjoy, and happy reading!