THE BLOG
09/17/2013 10:49 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2013

Delia Ephron's Candid, Amazing and Oddly Heartening Memoir about her Sister Nora, their Family and a Dog

"At Nora's memorial service, Martin Short quoted Nora: 'Hazelnuts are what's wrong with Europe.' It got a big laugh. It was my line.

"Tom Hanks quoted this dialogue about falling in love from 'Sleepless in Seattle' - 'It was like coming home, but not to any home I'd ever known.' Also mine - from my wedding. I'd popped it into the script. It turns out, even though you never wear a wedding dress twice, you can recycle your vows.

"Some weeks later, Frank Rich in New York magazine quoted another line of Nora's: 'Never marry a man you wouldn't want to be divorced from.' 'That's mine,' I said to my husband. 'I looked in one of her collections. There it was. I tried to recall if she'd asked permission to use it. I don't remember. I've probably used hers. Our words and thoughts are muddied together in life and in the movies we collaborated on. We borrowed lines from each other the way other sisters borrow dresses."

• THE ABOVE IS verbatim from Delia Ephron's book out today, titled "Sister Mother Husband Dog." From Penquin's Blue Rider Press. " I wrote back on June 19th about how much I adored Delia's love letter to Nora Ephron and her sickness at her sister's death and her complaints and her inside story - as only Delia could tell it.

But I didn't say then that Nora Ephron had become all but canonized in people's memories since she left us. Everyone claims her, but Delia probably knew Nora best. She certainly suffered, long before any of the rest of us even knew that Nora was sick.

• I HAVE already written that Delia's book is amazing, candid, and borders on hysterical insanity. It deals with the loss of Nora, how they worked and fought together, their successes, failures, romances, divorces, their sisters Amy and Hallie, their well-known screenwriting and impossibly alcoholic mother and father.

And, this book of Delia's is the thing that has heartened and cheered me up. If I miss Nora--and I do -- I go and re-read Delia. I couldn't quote from the book back in June as it was embargoed. But Nora would be so proud of Delia - maybe a little envious that Delia had her down so pat.

As for Nora stealing Delia's lines. Nora would have just laughed -- "Serves you right, Delia!"

I close this book everytime thinking about how it deals with one-upsmanship. I recall a fellow Nora admirer who asked me at a table in a discussion of Nora's death, "But why did Jacob Bernstein call YOU to tell you Nora was dying that very day? Why did he call you?"

I could tell she thought, at the very least, she should have had the "honor." I answered that I didn't know but I expected it was because I'd known Jacob from before the day he was born. Anybody else who wants to claim Nora is welcome to do so. But Delia has written a wonderful memoir of truth and loss and observation -- and what she, Delia, tells about her mother, husband and dog is great as well.

Nora Ephron, the Mark Twain of our times! Immortalized by her sister Delia. (And I stole that Mark Twain line from writer Joan Juliet Buck.)

• "THE PHONE call scene" in Sunday night's "Breaking Bad" goes down as one of the series' best, most revealing moments. It showed that for all his terrible deeds Walt does not want his family to go down with him. (Some people mis-interpreted Walt's vicious rant to Skyler. But he knew the cops were listening. He was getting her off the hook.) He also didn't want his brother-in-law, Hank, to be killed. He does have limits.

Again, I have to give high marks to Anna Gunn as Skyler. What an actress!

• When I ran into my friend Linda Stasi recently, she said she was stopping working night and day on her NYC Post column covering all the thousands of things going on now in TV world. She said she'd go back to writing books and "having a life."

That sly puss - Linda. There she was Sunday in the rival tabloid, the New York Daily News, with the Linda byline. Even though she didn't give us the scoop, we wish her all the best and are thrilled she is still writing for a real newspaper.

Meantime, rumor has it that the tabloid New York Post will bring back Richard Johnson from L.A. to do a celebrity column in his old stomping ground!

• "I was an adult when I was supposed to be a kid. So now I'm an adult acting like a kid," says Miley Cyrus to Harper's Bazaar. Well, she's 20, which in show biz terms means she's a slightly precocious 14-year-old, mentally. I think that the media "shock" over Miley's MTV performance was hypocritical. Not that it was in any way appealing. She's been on this road to "free" herself from her Disney image for a number of years. Of course she was going to take advantage of an audience of millions.

So now she's established herself as...not Hannah Montana. She's happy about that. Now let's see if she has any real talent. This reality has escaped me, so far.

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