Thursday, September 6, 2012

Nora Ephron – A Writer Worth Remembering

Nora Ephron is one of those writers who I've known about for years and yet I’ve never got around to reading – until recently, that is, when I breezed through her final essay collection, entitled I Remember Nothing. When I say breeze, I mean breeze, as I finished the book in less than two hours and was left wanting more.

Ephron is known primarily as a screenwriter who wrote such popular films as When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, Julie and Julia, and others. She got her start in the writing business working as a journalist at Newsweek and the New York Post

In I Remember Nothing, Ephron recounts a series of anecdotes about her life and career. Her writing style is witty, intelligent and laugh-out-loud funny (her humour is quite self-deprecating). She is one of those writers who could, and did, transform the sad and tragic elements of her life into cinematic drama, often into comedy.

In this slim collection, Ephron has plenty to say about the aging process, and the deterioration of the mind and body once a person hits a certain age. At 69, she finds herself forgetting people’s names at parties, lamenting the breakdown of specific body parts, and fearing more of the same in the years ahead (sadly, Ephron passed away on June 26, 2012.)

In I Remember Nothing, Ephron takes on other subjects with humour and empathy, including computer games, being addicted to computer games, inheritance, professional failure, Christmas dinners, meat loaf, and going to the movies. I particularly enjoyed this observation about divorce:
"Of course, there are good divorces, where everything is civil, even friendly. Child support payments arrive. Visitations take place on schedule. Your ex-husband rings the doorbell and says on the other side of the threshold; he never walks in without knocking and helps himself to the coffee. In my next life I must get one of those divorces." 
My feeling at the end of I Remember Nothing is that I wish it contained more stories, more anecdotes, and more commentary on life. But there are other essay collections by Nora Ephron, and I will eagerly seek them out because she is worth reading, and worth remembering.

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