Sister Mother Husband Dog: (Etc.)

by Delia Ephron

Paperback, 2014

Status

Available

Publication

Plume (2014), Edition: Reprint, 240 pages

Description

"A collection of nonfiction essays featuring a story about the author's sister, Nora Ephron"--

Rating

½ (47 ratings; 3.7)

User reviews

LibraryThing member ennie
I received this from Penguin First to Read program, but didn't finish in time and the ebook magically disappeared from my iPad. However, all was not lost as I obtained a paper copy of the uncorrected manuscript. Delia Ephron does not try to avoid the shadow of her recently deceased older sister,
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Nora. Nora appears throughout the book, including the very first essay, "Losing Nora." Sigh, she was gone too soon. The sisters were close and also collaborated professionally, on movies and theater ("Love, Loss, and What I Wore" had a long journey to the stage, where I saw it a few years ago). Though they had a privileged Beverly Hills upbringing with screenwriter parents, alcoholism was an issue ("Why I Can't Write About my Mother"). Other than the piece about dogs (I am not an animal lover, and indeed the author recommends non-dog owners skip to the next essay), I enjoyed this trip through a more upscale, celebrity-filled New York than I live in.
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LibraryThing member Y2Ash
Sister Mother Husband Dog: Etc is my first outing into reading Delia Ephron's non fiction. I was a fan of her last book, The Lion is In. Sister... is series of short essays. In "Losing Nora," Ephron discusses the events leading to her older sister's death and how she wanted to keep her illness
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secret. I enjoyed this essay because Ephron described the disorientation that occurs when someone close dies.

I also like "Why I Don't Write About my Mother." I had no idea how Ephron grew up and that her parents were raging alcoholics. I didn't even know that her parents were successful screenwriters. In the aforementioned essay, she discusses that she couldn't write about her mother because she wasn't funny. Her mother was emotionally distant and she couldn't bridge that disconnect.

In Ephron's lighter fare, I liked both "Bakeries" and "Am I Jewish Enough?." They were light and frothy. They provide counterbalance with the more emotional works. Sister...made me sad. I felt the loss of Nora and Ephron's parents. This book felt ethereal but I really liked it.
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LibraryThing member Y2Ash
Sister Mother Husband Dog: Etc is my first outing into reading Delia Ephron's non fiction. I was a fan of her last book, The Lion is In. Sister... is series of short essays. In "Losing Nora," Ephron discusses the events leading to her older sister's death and how she wanted to keep her illness
Show More
secret. I enjoyed this essay because Ephron described the disorientation that occurs when someone close dies.

I also like "Why I Don't Write About my Mother." I had no idea how Ephron grew up and that her parents were raging alcoholics. I didn't even know that her parents were successful screenwriters. In the aforementioned essay, she discusses that she couldn't write about her mother because she wasn't funny. Her mother was emotionally distant and she couldn't bridge that disconnect.

In Ephron's lighter fare, I liked both "Bakeries" and "Am I Jewish Enough?." They were light and frothy. They provide counterbalance with the more emotional works. Sister...made me sad. I felt the loss of Nora and Ephron's parents. This book felt ethereal but I really liked it.
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LibraryThing member jrsearcher
Liked the part about Nora. And...that was all.
LibraryThing member raizel
Interesting essays written in an interesting style. Some of it is funny. What I remember most is that when her older sister, Nora, was dying in the hospital, she sent Delia flowers. Delia suggests that one reason was that this gave Nora a sense of control---she was doing something---at a time when
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she had little control over what was happening to her.
There is also an essay entitled "Am I Jewish Enough?" with an explanation of what being Jewish means to a secular Jew like Ms. Ephron.
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LibraryThing member Gingermama
I particularly enjoyed her essays about her sister and parents. Ephron perfectly captures the love and frustration, the pleasures and guilt that go along with childhood memories, particularly for sisters.
LibraryThing member TimBazzett
Yes, I've seen and enjoyed both SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE and YOU'VE GOT MAIL, and both films were collaborations by the Ephron sisters, Nora and Delia. But up to now I'd only read a couple of Ephron books, one was sister Amy's novella, A CUP OF TEA (very good), and the other was Nora's essay
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collection, I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK (which I loved). There is also a fourth Ephron sister who writes, Hallie, but I've read nothing of hers.

And now there's this, Delia's essay collection, SISTER MOTHER HUSBAND DOG (ETC.). And I find Delia to be every bit as talented and funny as her older sister Nora, who died of leukemia in 2012. The truth is Delia writes a lot like Nora, displaying the same quirky sense of humor, probably the result not just of being sisters, but all those years of collaborating. The introductory essay, "Losing Nora," is equal parts funny and sad, remembering the good times as well as the sorrow of losing her big sister and co-conspirator in writing. The other pieces here are mostly very funny, although the ones in which she talks about her husband, Jerry, were, for this reader, tinged with the sadness of knowing that he died just a year after this collection was published.

For me, however, the centerpiece was "Why I Can't Write About My Mother." In it Delia tells us how her mother, always unconventional and career-minded (both the parents were very successful screenwriters and playwrights, who often collaborated), descended into alcoholism from when Delia was about eleven. In fact, both parents drank to excess, but Delia always felt at least some closeness to her father, while there was always a distance between her and her mother. This piece is NOT funny. It is not even remotely amusing. In fact it nearly broke my heart. It is that disturbing and that sad. But it is unmistakably in Delia's own voice. Here are a couple samples -

"I believe having an alcoholic parent is not only something to write about, but that there is an obligation to do it. Growing up as that child is lonely, isolating, confusing and damaging. There are lots of us ... Besides, I don't believe in protecting parents who drink ... Tell everyone. You might never get past it otherwise. The obligation of a child is not to protect their parents. Obviously. Obviously. A mom is supposed to protect her kids. Which doesn't happen when she drinks."

and -

"With me, she was never cozy or intimate. I never remember her hugging or kissing me ... One of her rules - your homework is your own problem. I will never get involved."

Enough said. Despite the heartbreaking, sad parts - or perhaps BECAUSE of them - I loved this book, for its humor, for its candor, for its honesty. Delia Ephron is a fine writer. Very highly recommended.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER
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LibraryThing member etxgardener
Delia Ephrom ruminates about the death of her sister, her dog's infirmaties, screenwriting, and her family. She's at her best when talking about her sister, Nora, and dealing with the loss of her death. When she inserts a humorous essay, it seems like she's trying too hard. She is never going to be
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Nora Ephron.
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LibraryThing member amandanan
Absolutely loved this book. I finished it and definitely wanted to reread it as soon as I finished it.

Language

Original language

English

Physical description

240 p.; 5.3 x 0.5 inches

ISBN

0142181099 / 9780142181096
Page: 0.3934 seconds