Literary Heartburn

7 Jun

My mother likens my relationships to books to that of a junkie. And she’s right. Once I have finished a book that I swear is my favourite, that it was THE BEST, SO good that I managed to miss my stop on the subway – twice! – I am in search for the next to replace it.

I had book love strike twice in the past two weeks. First with Gillian Flynn’s brilliant Gone Girl (which was the YYZ Gourmand June book club pick). And then Nora Ephron’s Heartburn. I thought I loved Gone Girl, but then I read Heartburn. I loved Heartburn so much that kept wanting to highlight all of my favourite passages… but I read it on a Kobo! So I tweeted them instead. Here are a few of my favourites:

“Show me a woman who cries when trees lose their leaves in autumn and I’ll show you a real asshole.” – p.40

“It seemed quite unsurprising that Charlie would betray me – he, after all, was a man, and men had been betraying me since the first grade.” – p.104

“Sometimes I believe that love dies but hope springs eternal. Sometimes I believe hope dies but love springs eternal.” – p.120

So many more I forgot to tweet or to take note of, merely because I was so caught up in the rhythm of the book. The trick with Heartburn is the tone of the narrator. It allowed me to imagine myself in an impossibly beautiful living room sharing drinks with the narrator as she was telling me her story. I got so into the experience of reading the book that I thought I really was Rachel’s confidante. The tone is confessional and intimate but it sidesteps the trap of sentimentality. When I finished the book I felt Ephron had tricked me. How did she write so simply and yet to beautifully? How did she get me so involved and worried about Rachel’s life in under 150 pages? Why was I still worried about Rachel even after I put down the book? And, how close did the book reflect her own second divorce?

The last question doesn’t matter now, in 2013. I’m sure it was a sensationally smutty when it was published in 1983.

And how I could even consider writing about Heartburn without including a recipe? I won’t write one for I am not Rachel, but I will include one. Here’s what I imagine myself making Rachel when she is telling me about her story:a Gin Rickey. Because Rachel deserves a cocktail with a proper recipe, not just a glass of wine. I am sure those of you who have read it will agree.


One Response to “Literary Heartburn”


  1. adultery, hermès hats, & crippling debt – JULY BOOKCLUB | YYZ gourmand - June 14, 2013

    […] We’re big readers at YYZ and we’ll be posting some of thoughts on literature more frequently here! Let us know what you think or give us some suggestions for August! Have you checked out Cherry’s book + booze pairings? […]

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