Doidge’s book is warm, dutiful, and at times illuminating...It’s also, I’m sorry to say, often bland, and deeply in thrall to Ephron mythologies: the plucky gal Friday who worked her way from the Newsweek typing pool to a sprawling apartment in the Apthorp, the jilted wife who got her revenge in the pages of a soapy novel, the woman director holding her own with the big boys...'Why does Nora Ephron still matter?' Doidge writes in the introduction...'Because she gives us hope. The intelligent, self-described cynic was the one who helped us see that it’s never too late to go after your dreams'...This conflates Ephron with the genre—romance—that she interrogated...Ephron still matters, of course, but not because she embodied enthusiasm or perseverance...Dreams are useless, she might have clucked, if you can’t pick them apart on the page.
Doidge follows Ephron’s life and career through Wellesley College, and her rapid rise in New York journalism...In life and in art, Ephron was a control freak...She was obsessive about details on set, like finding the perfect coconut cupcake...She left elaborate instructions for her funeral and memorial...It cost an estimated $100,000 for 800 people and it had to be held at Lincoln Center...These are enjoyable details for Ephron’s fans, at whom this book is largely aimed...Still, when I look back, Ephron’s humorous advice to women holds up well...There’s a silver lining to mortality, she wrote in 2005: 'Not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death'...Nobody’s perfect, but I want to have what she was having.
Ephron was a comedic genius who truly found her milieu when she ventured into the world of filmmaking (three of her screenplays were Oscar-nominated)...Life was not all rosy; as with many comedic talents, there was a lingering sadness in Ephron, which Dodge ties to the early loss of her mother who taught her that 'everything is copy'...Doidge’s vivacious, enthusiastic biography has serious undertones, much like Ephron herself...It will appeal to Ephron’s broad swath of fans.