We Remember Nora Ephron
Collection of Anecdotes and Essays
Review by Joan Kirschner 2011
We are saddened by the recent passing of Nora Ephron
whose contributions will live on forever.
Nora Ephron, the acclaimed screenwriter, producer and director of the recent movie Julie and Julia, as well as such blockbusters as Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally, has published a new collection of absorbing anecdotes and essays, I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections, that reaches back into her 40-plus years as a writing professional, into her childhood as the daughter of Hollywood screenwriters, and the sister of novelists and fellow screenwriters. This work is the follow-up to her previous collection of essays,
I Feel Bad About My Neck.
Much of Ephron’s work has concerned the roles of women in their professional and personal lives and this work covers her own: her career, her marriages and her friendships and how they have intermixed.
At age 69, Ephron says she “remembers nothing” but she clearly remembers a great deal about many of the movers and shakers she knew in American journalism, theater and film. She takes us back to her very early days as a new college graduate in the New York of 1962, a time when women didn’t get jobs as writers at magazines like Newsweek, but were hired to work only in clerical positions (as Ephron did). She describes her breakthrough into reporting at the New York Post and her subsequent work at Esquire.
One particularly fascinating story concerns her friendship with the dramatist Lillian Hellman, who was famous for her Broadway dramas, political activism and series of memoirs. The film Julia, starring Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave, was based on Hellman’s memoir Pentimento. Hellman was considerably older than Ephron, and after Ephron interviewed her for a magazine article, she became somewhat taken by Hellman and her stories about her extraordinary life. Hellman tended to exaggerate, and some say plagiarized, certain events, including the Julia story. Ephron describes the growth cycle of their friendship, how she became disenchanted by it, and how, from the perspective of an older woman, she sees it now.
Ephron writes about her mother, about her previous husbands and her divorces, and her kids. She talks about cooking and eating fabulous meals. She writes about her triumphs and some painful, and very public, failures. She is at different times, amazingly funny and at others, poignant.
Ephron is a fabulously talented storyteller, and she makes the most of it here. I chose to listen to the audio book version that Ephron herself reads, which I believe gives the material even more of a personal touch. Sitting alone in my car, I could imagine that Ephron was individually sharing these stories with me, making them all the more compelling.
Whether you choose the printed book, download it onto an electronic reader, or listen to the audio, you’ll be captivated by Nora Ephron’s latest work, I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections.
For more from Nora Ephron, read some of her blog entries at The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nora-ephron, her books, including
I Feel Bad About My Neck and Heartburn or take another look at some of her best films, Julie and Julia, with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, Sleepless in Seattle, with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, or on the serious side, Silkwood, with Meryl Streep and Cher, to name just a few. If you have the opportunity to go to New York, you can take in Ephron’s play Love, Loss, and What I Wore, a collaboration with her sister, Delia (based on the book by Ilene Beckerman).
In all cases, whatever you read or watch by Nora Ephron, you’ll be entertained, if not engrossed.
© Copyright 2011 by Joan Kirschner
Joan Kirschner is a locally based freelance copywriter and editor specializing in advertising communications, and has more than two decades of experience with leading national retailers and direct marketers. In addition, she is the book critique writer for:
The Women of Gloucester County online magazine’s The Book Corner.
Joan received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Penn State University and completed a professional certificate program in TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other Languages) at CUNY Brooklyn College. She considers education to be a lifelong process.
Contact Joan at: firstname.lastname@example.org and
856-459-1765 or 856-381-9348.