I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron


I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron is a very funny book of the author’s reflections on life. Nora Ephron was best known for writing the screenplays including Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally and Julie and Julia.

The title chapter, I Remember Nothing, is hilarious. I expected this to be a chapter about denying knowing something to avoid being implicated in a criminal matter, but it is actually about genuinely forgetting stuff. The names of movies. Her sister’s face. Meeting Eleanor Roosevelt. Nora Ephron writes that she didn’t attend Woodstock, “but I might has well have been because I wouldn’t remember it anyway.” As someone who forgets stuff, I loved this chapter.

The story about a family legend is great too. All families have stories that have become legendary, but Nora Ephron’s family legend is about her mother kicking Lillian Ross, a famous writer out of a party held at their home. Nora doubted the truth of the story as her had mother became an alcoholic later in life and less believable, but Nora had the opportunity to meet Lillian Ross many years later and was able to verify the story.

The chapter about Nora and her two sisters preparing to inherit from their Uncle Hal, My Life as an Heiress, had me in stitches and reminded me of a similar story about a bloke I knew who won Tattslotto back when you didn’t find out how much you had won until the Monday after the draw. He checked his numbers Saturday night, realised he had won and promptly rang up his boss to tell him what he really thought of him and where he could shove his job. Monday came, and this bloke learned there had been a record number of winners and he had only won $16,000. He rang his boss up again to ask for his job back, but was told to get lost. The lesson from both stories is don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Addicted to L-U-V is a story about the author’s addiction to an online Scrabble game called Scrabble Blitz. This story could have been written for me. I once forgot to pick up my daughter from school because I was playing Sega. I’ve given Sega up now, but I also have problems with Tetris, to the point where I get what is called The Tetris Effect, where I see the blocks dropping in front of my eyes for days after I play. Don’t even get me started on Candy Crush.

The last chapters are lists, titled What I Won’t Miss and What I Will Miss. The author says she won’t miss technology and emails and the sound of the vacuum cleaner and bills, amongst other things. The list of things she says she will miss include her kids, walking in the park, reading, butter and Pride and Prejudice. I Googled Nora Ephron after reading this book and learned that this chapter was a hint that she was dying of cancer at the time of writing this book. She has since died. All of the things she listed as things she would miss were simple pleasures which are often taken for granted.

I enjoyed this book very much and it made me happy to think that I was already familiar with Nora Ephron’s films.