Losing Nora

Click on top title to open and scroll  Ephron.jpg“That’s a great line, write it down!” That’s what Delia Ephron says her father used to shout at the dinner table whenever she or her sisters said anything clever. Still, it is a bit unusual that all four Ephron sisters grew up to be writers, just like their successful parents.

Delia Ephron’s memoir, Sister Mother Father Dog, begins with a poignant essay about losing her sister and writing partner, Nora Ephron, to cancer. Delia spares us none of the emotional details of watching her sister die. The essay is pure, unvarnished Ephron as Delia regales us with tales of going to Nora’s apartment hungry, as she always had in the past, expecting to find food while her sister was undergoing chemo. She recounts writing and pitching a TV pilot with Nora from the hospital.

Delia also shares what it was like to live with her larger than life and more famous sibling.

Her anecdotes are wry, funny, sad and above all honest. At times some her humour seems forced. The Ephron family was, we learn from Delia, deeply troubled, with such problems as alcoholism and competiveness. Delia says she found it easier to write about people if they were funny because it made them sound less harsh. She then tells us that her mother was not funny.

There are 14 other essays in the book and most are about Ephron’s eccentric and talented family. Her final chapter is about her mother. Sister Mother Father Dog is at times disjointed and rambling, but it is always interesting and intimate. Fans of the Ephron clan will devour it.