The Most of Nora Ephron
In the introduction Robert Gottlieb notes The Most of Nora Ephron started out as a collaboration between him and Ms. Ephron that, sadly, she never saw completed. Following her death Mr. Gottlieb was given the distinct honor of continuing with the project, which turned out exactly as he intended: a celebration of her amazing work.
Though not a complete collection, The Most maps the trajectory of an incredibly successful career, revealing the beautiful, witty, very human woman whose personality, writing, and movies captured the heart and respect of all who experienced them.
Separated into nine sections, this incredible tome brings Nora Ephron's life into focus. From her first job as a journalist; her advocacy of the women's movement; the witty and admonitory speech to the Class of 1996 at her alma mater, Wellesley College; up through her all-too-relatable views and musings on life, aging and death, including a very popular piece from her 2008 book I Feel Bad About My Neck.
Fresh out of Wellesley College, Ms. Ephron moved to New York City to become a journalist. She was convinced that this decision to go to New York would result in "living there forever and never meeting anyone and end up dying one of those New York deaths where no one even notices you're missing until the smell drifts into the hallway weeks later."—a sentiment that that would be repeated in other essays before becoming immortalized in her movie When Harry Met Sally.
During an interview at Newsweek she shared her hopes of becoming a writer for the magazine; however, that dream was promptly crushed when she was told women don't write at Newsweek and was instead offered a mailroom job at $55.00 per week.
When she was asked to give a commencement speech at Wellesley in 1996 Ms. Ephron reminisced about her own college years and how she had waited to have the secrets of writing bestowed upon her. Unfortunately, no such knowledge was gained, and she graduated feeling vulnerable and exposed.
Eventually Ms. Ephron did go on to become a journalist for a newspaper—and later another magazine—writing on women's issues, politics, and public figures. Though her essays and articles were often acerbic, unflattering, and sometimes downright mean, she wrote with confidence, flair, and unceasing wit.
Although the road from journalism to Hollywood wasn't a smooth one, she found great success—following a few false starts—after penning the movie Silkwood with her friend Alice Arlen, which led to other big hits: Sleepless in Seattle, Heartburn, Julie & Julia, and the memorable When Harry Met Sally.
Raised and educated during a time when women were meant to marry and become mothers, Ms. Ephron had an inextinguishable desire to be the best version of herself despite chauvinistic barriers, societal pressures, and personal setbacks—all of which helped her navigate through fairly large obstacles and blaze her own trail.
Nora Ephron’s incredible talent, perseverance, and dedication helped her reach amazing heights, entertaining millions along the way. Though she is no longer with us she has left an indelible mark that will live on in her work.