Review of What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin–Learning to Make Grand Gestures–Funny!

Title: What Nora Knew
Author: Linda Yellin
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Published By: Gallery Books (January 21, 2014)
Pages: 320
“A roller-coaster romp about a writer careening through love and work in Manhattan as she nears 40…Ephron’s influence is felt everywhere in this novel, from Sleepless in Seattle references to the emphasis on the need to make grand gestures…Any woman in the heroine’s age range who’s lived in New York will both laugh and wince at the accuracy of Yellin’s details. Those who want to live in New York can hang on for a fun ride.”(Publishers Weekly on What Nora Knew)

Excerpt from Linda Yellin’s Website an interview by her to her.

L: Your newest novel, What Nora Knew, is an homage to Nora Ephron and romantic movies. Did you have to do research for the story?
L: Yes. I reread Heartburn for the eleven millionth time. I love Heartburn. If you don’t believe me, you should see all the coffee rings and jelly stains on my copy. And, of course, I re-watched all of Nora’s movies. Except Silkwood. I’ve never seen Silkwood. I don’t want to watch Meryl Streep end up in a car crash.

L: The novel is filled with references to Nora Ephron’s movies. Or what some people might call stealing. Tell us a couple of those references.
L: Well, the description of our hero is a description of Tom Hanks, and Molly, the heroine, is blond like Meg Ryan. The scene with the two of them sitting back to back in a café takes place in the same setting as the scene between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in “You’ve Got Mail.” Molly sees a boy with a teddy bear at the Empire State Building; that’s a shout-out to Jonah and his teddy bear in “Sleepless in Seattle.” There are many other references, but some are so subtle even I don’t remember them.

L: Everyone always wants to know about a writer’s process. Do you have a process?
L: I don’t even have a processor. Twice I’ve purchased Cuisinarts and both times gave the damn thing away. It takes a lot less time to chop a silly carrot than clean all those blades and that plastic whirly-ma-gig holder on a Cuisinart.

L: I meant how do you go about your writing day?
L: I start by taking a break. I’ll go to the gym. Or read a book. Or watch TV. Then I spend an hour or so going through my emails, and take another break. After that it’s time for lunch. And maybe some more emails. Randy comes home from work. We have dinner and watch TV and go to bed. I keep a pad of paper and a pen on the nightstand next to my bed. Most of my writing is done in the middle of the night. Fortunately, I have insomnia.

About The Author: Linda Yellin has written two novels. The first titled SUCH A LOVELY COUPLE was issued by Simon & Schuster in 2011 and her memoir THE LAST BLIND DATE was also released in 2011. Publishers Weekly remarked that it was “not only a delight to read but an inspiring example of the good that can come from taking risks, even when it’s uncomfortable and scary.”

She was in the advertising industry in her previous career and is now a frequent contributor to More magazine.  She has written many short stories published in Redbook and Family Circle magazinesYellin has been a regular guest on SiriusXM radio’s Broadminded.

About The Story: Molly Hallberg, an extremely cynical journalist, works at a magazine called EyeSpy.  Her job is to take on all the weird articles like how it feels parachuting, what’s it like tapping in a chorus line, how it feels wearing certain women’s lingerie (I dare not comment on this—and you won’t believe me if I did!) Her big chance is to write an article on how do you know when you have found your soul mate, Nora Ephron style.  Of course, she is the worst possible person to write this article since she’s jaded from her divorce from Evan Naboshek, a lawyer, whom everyone said was such a catch and she found otherwise.

Molly had to ask people how they found their soul mate.  Here is one answer that had me laughing.  I’ve been married for 44 years.

“Mr. Messick, is there a Mrs. Messick?”
“Yes,” he said.
“How did you know she was the one?”
He shrugged. “You marry someone. Wait thirty years. If she’s still there—she’s the one.

Through all this she meets Cameron Duncan, a 40 year old, never married novelist, that is not particularly good looking, but when you put all the pieces together, he makes the women who read his books ooh and aww over him.  She regards him as cynically as she does life.  But he gets under her skin.  Can she let go of her constant bantering and see the real Cameron?

My Thoughts:  I hadn’t read any of Linda Yellin.  It was interesting to see that Nora Ephron’s films were brought up over and over and discussed between the characters.  So if you are a follower of the late Nora Ephron’s films then you are sure to enjoy this book.  Molly banters between herself and herself and the other characters of the story which keeps you chuckling throughout the story.  I sometimes just rolled my eyes!  The middle of the story bogs down a bit, perhaps Linda Yellin was creating more bantering dialog for Molly to give us a true idea of her character.  The story ended in a very wonderful way and gave me hope that even a cynical woman can find her soul mate, even when she is avoiding the very idea!

About eileendandashi

I am a lover of books, both reading and writing. 2018 marks the beginning of my own journey from writer to published author. This blog will showcase various authors' thoughts on the elements of novel crafting, and my attempts to find my voice in writing. While journaling this journey, I hope to encourage others to follow their dreams. Book reviews continue as I have the last four years, only making time for my new pursuits.
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7 Responses to Review of What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin–Learning to Make Grand Gestures–Funny!

  1. ivydtruitt says:

    Just finished WHAT NORA KNEW.


  2. How did you like it?


  3. ivydtruitt says:

    Funny, enjoyed it. Liked the banter & Molly’s denial. Configilating on my review. 🙂


  4. Amanda Dick says:

    Great review Eileen – sounds like the sort of thing I’d really enjoy, so I’ve added it to my TBR on Goodreads 🙂


  5. With all the references to films and the late Nora Ephron, it added more dimension to the story. I’m sure that you’ll like it Amanda. And thanks for stopping by. May I friend you on GoodReads?


  6. Pingback: What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin (Review) | My Life. One Story at a Time.

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