Heartburn

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

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I was somewhat disappointed in this book, and I think that’s mostly because it’s a bit dated. It’s a comedy about divorce. The most profound passages are about how learning of a serious, long-standing infidelity means realizing that your vision of your own life was distorted, and having to rewrite your own history. I also liked the musings about how it’s unfair that therapists always say people bring abuse and unfaithfulness upon themselves through choosing to be with the wrong person. For anyone seriously considering divorce, the book might provide some perspective and a good gut check.

The characters are all ridiculously privileged, jetting between New York and Washington and having fancy dinner parties and vacations and multiple houses. I don’t think there’s a single healthy marriage depicted, or even mentioned, in the entire book; it gives you the impression that cheating is inevitable. That message would bother me more if I had bought into the book as a whole, especially since I am situated similarly to the protagonist: pregnant mother of a toddler. But as it was, I found it more emblematic of the generation (my parents’, or slightly older), time period (early 80’s), and the entitlement and privilege of the characters and their setting. The biggest turn-off for me were some jokes I found racist or homophobic, which may be due to the fact that the book was published before I was born, and it was socially acceptable to say such things then.

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