Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Review: I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections, by Nora Ephron (audiobook)

I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections
by Nora Ephron 
Random House Audio
2010
Unabridged 
3 hours, 8 minutes

I Remember Nothing is narrated by Nora Ephron herself - so given her recent passing, hearing her distinctive voice is kind of bittersweet at first. 

Jarring, even.

But the humor more than makes up for it, of course, and listening to this three CD recording is like listening to an old friend (or a new one who feels like an old friend). In this audiobook, Ephron peppers her personal essays with phrases such as "I have to tell you," and "I am not proud of this."

I Remember Nothing almost has the feeling of being two books in one. The first part is Nora recounting all the everyday as well as significant and historical happenings in her life that she can't remember or may only remember trivial details of.

And we're talking MAJOR events. Things like meeting Eleanor Roosevelt, being outside the White House on the evening Nixon resigned, and covering the Beatles as they performed on The Ed Sullivan Show.

"On some level, my life has been wasted on me. After all, if I can't remember it, who can?" she says.

These recollections (or, what Ephron can recall about them) are among the best part of I Remember Nothing. The rest is more along the lines of reflections and musings on various topics such as divorce, email (a section that feels a little dated), thinning hair, and other vestiges of growing older. The essay about having a meatloaf named after her in a restaurant is especially well-done, and there's a poignant story about her plans for a potential inheritance from an uncle that will resonate with every writer. (Ephron was struggling with a screenplay at the time and the windfall from the uncle would have made that go away. We would have also not have had one of our most classic movies.)

There is a passage about her being on her deathbed, which is just downright eerie now. And the ending of I Remember Nothing, two lists of "What I Won't Miss" and "What I Will Miss" (after she has gone) are bittersweet and prompt a bit of reflection on what one will miss (and not miss) of one's own life.

Still, at the risk of seeming to speaking ill of the dead, I Remember Nothing feels a little ... disjointed. If you're familiar with Ephron's movies and her writing, you won't find much new ground here. What you will find is Ephron's trademark snark and sardonic wit, some good entertainment and laughs if you're in a bit of a funk and need a quick hit of humor to relieve you ... and an ironic, bittersweet reminder that despite her feeling of growing old, Ephron really wasn't as old as she thought she was.





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3 comments:

Book Endings said...

I very much enjoyed this review. Nora Ephron was one of my favorite writers. I am going to check my local libraries as soon as possible to check out a copy of this audio book.

Savvy Working Gal said...

I just finished this one. I don't plan on blogging about it though - there just isn't much I need to say about it. “Disjointed” sums it up perfectly along with I thought it ended a bit abruptly. Also, melancholy it was as if she knew she was going to die soon.

Melissa said...

Savvy Working Gal ~ yes, melancholy ... that is definitely it. It did seem like she knew she was going to die soon, didn't it?

Book Endings ~ I think you'll like this one!