17 heart-throbbing lines from Nora Ephron's Heartburn.

Written by Cole Schafer

I measure my feelings towards a novel in the number of “sittings” it takes me to read it.

Generally, when I get through a manuscript in 2-3 sittings, it means it swept me off my feet.

City of Thieves by David Benioff was this way, as was Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. I picked each of them up and it felt like I was dancing with a beautiful woman whose hand I could not let go of.

So, I held on and before I knew it, the party was over.

I read Nora Ephron’s Heartburn in 1-2 sittings and I felt sad when it was over. Below, you will find my favorite memories.

17 lines from Nora Ephron’s Heartburn I will never forget.

Like any novel, you must read Heartburn cover to cover to experience its magic to the fullest. However, if you simply don’t have the time, down below I’ve curated a dozen or so of my favorite lines from the manuscript.

  1. “I am not the sort of person who puts little faces on things, but there are times when nothing else will do.”
  2. “(Apparently he thought I could handle the fact that he was in love with her but not the fact that he was having sex with her.)”
  3. “One thing I have never understood is how to work it so that when you’re married, things keep happening to you. Things happen to you when you’re single. You meet new men, you travel alone, you learn new tricks, you read Trollope, you try sushi, you buy nightgowns, you shave your legs. Then you get married, and the hair grows in. I love the everydayness of marriage, I love figuring out what’s for dinner and where to hang the pictures and do we owe the Richardsons, but life does tend to slow to a crawl.”
  4. “Had I been able to talk to her at this moment of crisis, she would probably have said something fabulously brittle like “Take notes.” Then she would have gone into the kitchen and toasted almonds. You melt some butter in a frying pan, add whole blanched almonds, and saute until they’re golden brown with a few little burned parts. Drain lightly and salt and eat with a nice stiff drink. “Men are little boys,” she would have said as she lifted her glass. “Don’t stir or you’ll bruise the ice cubes.
  5. “I had really graduated from therapy by then, but I liked to stop in for an oil check from time to time.”
  6. “Just thinking about the flowers made me want to die, just thinking about the flowers he’d sent her while occasionally bringing me home a bunch of wilted zinnias.”
  7. “If pregnancy were a book, they would cut the last two chapters. The beginning is glorious, especially if you’re lucky enough not to have morning sickness and if, like me, you’ve had small breasts all your life. Suddenly they begin to grow, and you’ve got them, you’ve really got them, breasts, darling breasts, and when you walk down the street they bounce, truly they do, they bounce bounce bounce.”
  8. “It’s like a beautiful thing that suddenly turns out to be broken into hundreds of pieces, and even when you glue it back together it’s always going to have been horribly broken.”
  9. “You fall in love with someone, and part of what you love about him are the differences between you; and then you get married and the differences start to drive you crazy. You fall in love with someone and you say to yourself, oh, well, I never really cared about politics, bridge, French and tennis; and then you get married and it starts to drive you crazy that you get married to someone who doesn’t even know who’s running for president.”
  10. “Unfortunately, the lesson he learned wasn’t the one I had in mind: what he learned is that he could do anything, and in the end there was a chance I’d take him back.”
  11. “Lucy Mae Hopkins had given up men for Jesus forty years earlier, and she couldn’t understand why anyone else wouldn’t, given the choice.”
  12. “I think you often have that sense when you write –– that if you can spot something in yourself and set it down on paper, you’re free of it.”
  13. “We’re making a big mistake,” and what you mean by that is not that you’re getting in over your head but that you’re just killing time.”
  14. “That’s the catch about betrayal, of course: that it feels good, that there’s something immensely pleasurable about moving from a complicated relationship which involves minor atrocities on both sides to a nice, neat, simple one where one person has done something so horrible and unforgivable that the other person is immediately absolved of all the low-grade sins of sloth, envy, gluttony, avarice and I forget the other three.”
  15. “Maybe he’s dead, I thought. That wouldn’t solve everything, but it would solve a few things. he wasn’t, of course. They never are. When you want them to die, they never do.”
  16. “So. Nathanial was early. I could hardly blame him. Something was dying inside me, and he had to get out.”
  17. “Maybe we just ran out of things to renovate.”

By Cole Schafer (but mostly, entirely, Nora Ephron).