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Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Solo Narration - Female, 2014

Is it possible to write a sidesplitting novel about the breakup of the perfect marriage? If the writer is Nora Ephron, the answer is a resounding yes. For in this inspired confection of adultery, revenge, group therapy, and pot roast, the creator of Sleepless in Seattle reminds us that comedy depends on anguish as surely as a proper gravy depends on flour and butter.

Seven months into her pregnancy, Rachel Samstat discovers that her husband, Mark, is in love with another woman. The fact that the other woman has "a neck as long as an arm and a nose as long as a thumb and you should see her legs" is no consolation. Food sometimes is, though, since Rachel writes cookbooks for a living. And in between trying to win Mark back and loudly wishing him dead, Ephron's irrepressible heroine offers some of her favorite recipes. Heartburn is a sinfully delicious novel, as soul-satisfying as mashed potatoes and as airy as a perfect soufflé.

©2011 Nora Ephron (P)2012 Random House

Critic reviews

"Great fun. . . . Though Heartburn bristles ferociously with wit, it's not lacking in soul." ( The New York Times Book Review)
"Nora Ephron's first novel is warm, witty and wise." ( Harper's Bazaar)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

So great!! I don't want it to end!

Where does Heartburn rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is a great story - and the reading is just perfect.

What other book might you compare Heartburn to, and why?

Never read anything like it.

Which character – as performed by Meryl Streep – was your favourite?

Rachel.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

inspiring and funny

It can sound in certain moments like a babbling of a member of a new-yorkee intelectual micro-cosmos but actually there is much more to it. It's funny, true and it's worth every minute of listning thanks to Meryl Streep's outstanding performance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Hilary T.
  • Shoreham-by-sea, United Kingdom
  • 07-07-14

Unexpected pleasure

I knew nothing about Norah Ephron other than that she had been married to one of the Watergate journalists, Carl Bernstein, but I was attracted to this audiobook by the fact that it was narrated by the superlative actress, Meryl Streep. It did not disappoint. Meryl Streep really brings the story to life by putting persuasive emotion into the account of a woman who is cheated on by her husband when she is 8 months pregnant. It turns out that this is not the first time and the questions are - stay or go? forgive or not forgive? divorce or try and save the marriage? It could so easily have been a depressing and dire story, but it is not. It is whimsical on occasions, bitter on others, but never anything less than entertaining. I have since found out that Norah Ephron was a journalist, essayist, novelist, playwright, Oscar-nominated screenwriter and a movie director. So sad that such a multi- talented woman died at only 71. However, this beautifully performed audiobook is a great tribute to her memory. I recommend it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One of the funniest books I’ve listened to

You can’t fault Meryl Streep. Her delivery of this book had me on the floor laughing. It’s a truly wonderful tale of how even at the worst of times we can still find humour and lightness. I loved this book, and would highly recommend.

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Incredibly plain

Occasionally witty. Light and easy. But ignorant in its anti-feminism and has no literary flair.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Did not enjoy the narration

Oh dear. This did not work.
Good narration lets the story be the star, not the narrator. Meryl Streep's narration was so mannered and so actorly. Deeply irritating and it got in the way of Nora Ephron's fine writing and sharp observations.

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witty, poignant, honest and entertaining

Ephron is a great writer anyway, but this very personal story couldn't be more engaging. it is intelligent without being off-putting Streep knows the character perfectly and gives as good a performance as the writing deserves.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Comical but somewhat cynical.

A good book, well performed by Meryl Streep, but it has a very distinctive tone - very New York. A little too reminiscent of Woody Allen for me. It's funny, sharp and clever but doesn't always come across as heartfelt or sincere. Lots to like but doesn't tug on the heartstrings.

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Brilliant

Just listened to this again and I’m sure it won’t be the last time. I’ve discovered Nora Ephron late, but she is so funny and warm, my life is better for knowing her.

I will listen to this if I ever go through another break up.

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Meryl Streep is FAB!

Liked the recipes weaved in with the story - funny, sad and touching - listened while doing the housework and really enjoyed the story, narration excellent!

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  • David Shear
  • 10-07-13

Just a treasure

This book being released in audio format is a gift. Having it read by Meryl Streep makes it a priceless gift. The constant and specific 80's references are so much fun. The setting in DC and the political references give such an intimate peek into lives and moments, it feels like you are eavesdropping instead of simply listening to a book. These combine to make the book feel like a purposeful classic instead of feeling dated.

Streep's narration is beyond perfect. She takes the whole experience to the next level. Her occasional self-effacing lilt and her chuckle add to that personal feeling, like she's a little embarrassed that she got caught telling such a tale. Narrators are usually best when they can become invisible, not true in this case. Streep adds to the story in a way that only she could, that only a master could.

I'll listen to this again. I really enjoyed it and want to catch any little moments I might have missed the first time

51 of 54 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cynthia
  • 12-07-13

Be the Heroine , Not the Victim

Nora Ephron (1941 -2012) wrote the scripts for "When Harry Met Sally" (1989), "Sleepless in Seattle" (1993), and"You've Got Mail" (1998). I love these films, and I've seen them so many times I can say the lines along with the characters. Ephron's New York is a vibrant, colorful place full of native and transplanted New Yorkers who adore the city, from sidewalk trash pickup to astounding views from the tallest skyscrapers.

I've seen the movie version of "Heartburn" (1986). Meryl Streep is a true wonder - remember "Sophie's Choice" (1982)? And I truly forgot she wasn't really Julia Child in "Julie & Julia" (2009). I didn't like the movie version of "Heartburn," though - and I never read the 1982 book.

I did like the Audible of "Heartburn" very much. I remember that "Heartburn" was reviewed by a lot of critics as whiny and self absorbed when it was published 31 years ago, but today, it is snarkily amusing and a wry slice of the 80's. There's something sad and funny about a woman who renovates the couple's several homes, a cook book author with her own cooking show, who complains about being broke all the time - and is clueless that her feckless husband is carrying on an affair with the money going to expensive trips and gifts to his mistress. When Rachel Samstat finally looses it, she does it with memorable flare.

Ephron wrote "Heartburn" after a bitter end to her marriage to the philandering Carl Bernstein. Yes, the Bernstein, who along with Bob Woodward and a whistleblower code named "Deep Throat" exposed the Watergate crimes and brought down Richard M. Nixon's presidency. Bernstein referred to the whistleblower as "MF", and Ephron called her fictional wandering spouse "Mark Feldman." In 2005, the FBI agent who leaked information to Bernstein went public - Mark Felt. Ephron knew who Bernstein's informant was. Listening to "Heartburn," I wondered if she was covertly pointing at Felt.

Ephron turned what was a hushed scandal that had Washington DC society whispering its pity for her into a best selling book and a major motion picture. Now it's a wonderful Audible book, performed by Streep - who makes you forget she's not actually Rachel Samstat/Nora Ephron in the first five minutes.

The title of this review is an edited quote from a commencement speech Ephron gave at Wellesley in 1996. She said, "Above all else, be the heroine of your life , not the victim." That's what Ephron did with "Heartburn."

[If you found this review helpful, please let me know by clicking the helpful button. Thanks!]

119 of 132 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Doggy Bird
  • 18-07-13

Delicious listening experience!

Combine Meryl Streep's talents with Nora Ephron's wit -->a recipe for delight.

Having read the book AGES ago and seen the movie, I was not prepared for how VERY much I would enjoy this audio. I was afraid that maybe it would be 'dated'. I was so wrong.

The story remais as witty, wry and wistful as it was thirty years ago. In fact I am more impressed now with its poise than I was the first time time I read it. I agree with the review of another reader: by the act of writing this book Nora Ephron transformed herself from victim to heroine of her own life.

Meryl Streep's reading adds so much to this audio. She always inhabits a role, but there was so much love and affection in her portrayal of Rachel Samstat. I feel her performance as a tribute to a life well-lived - the life of Nora Ephron. She was the very best choice of narrator for this story.

This audiobook was perfect, I can't think how it could have been better or I could have enjoyed it more.

30 of 33 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sherri
  • 10-10-13

Nora Ephron and Meryl Streep. What could go wrong?

Oh I love this book. I loved it when I first read it many years ago and I love it more now I've listened to Meryl Streep run down the steps so beautifully placed there by the writer, Nora Ephron. Even though it's fictionalised, it's pretty much a memoir from the time she was married to Watergate journalist, Carl Bernstein and even though it's gaspingly hurtful (for her) it's also hilarious (for us). Meryl is of course magnificent. I remember thinking what a wonderful character the mother was before realising - yep, still Meryl. Brilliant narrator, great writer and a very successful book. Do yourself a favour and head to the cart.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cami O.
  • 17-07-13

Great narration! Delightful story!

What did you love best about Heartburn?

Story was great!! And who would do a better job at narrating this book than Meryl Streep who played the role of Nora Ephron in the movie Heartburn? Her voice and intonation will take you there!
The story was also great, didn’t see the movie yet and I am glad I didn’t. I also love food; all the recipes sprinkled throughout the book, spiced up the story. One day, while listening to Heartburn, when I felt blue, I used one of them and it was great!!
I highly recommend it!!

13 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Peg
  • 15-12-15

Brilliant

Where does Heartburn rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The best I've heard.

What did you like best about this story?

I picture Nora telling the story, but have to say Meryl made it better.

Which scene was your favorite?

Group therapy event. Can't make it up.

If you could take any character from Heartburn out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Of course, Rachel.

Any additional comments?

I have to watch the movie now.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-10-15

Love the narration

I loved the narration of this book; I thought Streep did a brilliant job, although I have to admit that, overall, the book wasn't as great as i hoped it'd be so I was a little disappointed.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gretchen SLP
  • 07-08-15

Even better as Audiobook, thanks to Streep

Love the story, the laugh out loud humor, the revenge scene at the end. Laughter really is the best medicine! Would love to know how this book affected Bernstein; I certainly hope he was humiliated, and I hope The Giantess broke his heart. So glad Ephron went on to have a fabulous and fulfilling life.

Meryl Streep is the best narrator/reader in the world!! Easily the best book I've listened to on Audible so far.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • joey
  • 17-11-15

Meryl Streep is magnificent

This Book is very good for someone going through the troubles of a relationship crisis. It helped me focus on something other than my own worries.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Marie
  • 22-09-13

You will need Mylanta after this!

If you could sum up Heartburn in three words, what would they be?

The book gave me heartburn. The story was really flat - another divorce story - no solutions, no depth of characters.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The only thing Ms. Ephron nailed were the description of the emotions of the characters. Yet there was no spice to the story and some aspects were unbelievable. The only spice given were the cusswords.

Have you listened to any of Meryl Streep’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I love Meryl Streep - but her performance was just ok.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No reaction, other than it was a credited wasted.

Any additional comments?

This book had great reviews, so I thought I give it a try. I have read better books about divorces, as tragic as that is, but this one was just mere average. Get the book on sale, don't waist a credit.

10 of 15 people found this review helpful