"[Erin Carlson] offers a breezy,
detailed rehearsal of three successful romantic comedies from the 1980s and
'90s.... A large bag of buttery popcorn that goes down oh so pleasantly." Kirkus Reviews
"Deeply reported and deeply felt, Carlson's account of Nora Ephron's unlikely rise to romantic comedy queen deftly exposes the messy, human reality lurking beneath those sparkling paeans to true love. Magically nostalgic, cynical, and smart all at once." Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, author of Seinfeldia and Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted
"In her love letter to the rom-coms of Nora Ephron, Erin Carlson brings us on a nostalgic, insightful, and joyous ride through the legendary writer/director's most iconic works. Full of the whimsy, heartbreak, attention to detail, and romantic optimism that defined Ephron's films, I'll Have What She's Having is a must-read for anyone who is a fan of the filmmaker's genre-defining classics." Danny Strong, co-creator and executive producer of Empire
Carlson would make Nora Ephron proud with this deeply reported valentine to her work. Written with warmth, humor, and surprises, Carlson provides plenty of dishy insider scoop on the making of the renowned writer's beloved films. This book is the perfect companion to your favorite movie. A delicious read that will have you laughing out loud." Jo Piazza, New York Times bestselling co-author of The Knockoff
"When the subject is
Nora Ephron, culinary metaphors prove irresistible: Erin Carlson has cooked up a dish full of delicious insight into an icon who was both warm and snobbish,
full of juicy tidbits about a feminist who preferred to hang out with the guys, a trenchant trailblazer with an old-fashioned belief in love. I'll Have What She's Having offers a satisfying portrait of a lady who wasn't always 'nice' but who nevertheless created timeless moments to fill our hearts and give us hope Faith Salie, author of Approval Junkie and contributor to CBS Sunday Morning
"Erin Carlson has served up a lively, inside look at the making of Nora Ephron's three famous rom-coms and how she broke into the male-dominated directing club. Anyone who loves Nora and her films will relish this book." Lynn Povich, author of The Good Girls Revolt
"Read this book in an adorable bookshop and, who knows, maybe you'll meet-cute with a handsome stranger reading the same book. Of course, if he's reading a book about Nora Ephron rom-coms, he may be gay. Ugh, that is sooo your luck, Carol! Also, it's raining now and you're wearing suede." Meredith Scardino, writer for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Colbert Report, this book blurb
"Perky and approachable . . . those who miss funny romantic comedies will enjoy this detailed behind-the-scenes look at three of the best." Library Journal
"Carlson's first book pays affectionate and clear-eyed tribute to the three most popular movies associated with screenwriter and director Nora Ephron. Going behind the scenes to explore the making of When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You've Got Mail, she dispenses insider information that fans of the movies will find hard to resist ... her breezy, frisky tone makes reading the book like sharing a gossipy lunch with an old friend.
Although she keeps the focus on the three films, she also allows herself to go off on fascinating tangents about the lives and other movies of the director and her stars. As sweet and bubbly a treat as the movies it covers, this book does what it does impeccably, and readers will love it." Booklist
" I'll Have What She's Having: How Nora
Ephron's Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy delivers a delight of buzzy Hollywood backstories unearthed by veteran entertainment journalist Erin
Carlson. The book also serves as a tribute . . . Hanks, Ryan, Rob Reiner and a host of others provided fresh interviews about Ephron, with great results." New York Daily News
humorous, yet impressively researched, Carlson's voice feels cut from the same cloth as Ephron's . . . Seamlessly woven into the narrative are bits of behind-the-scenes gossip that will surprise even the most die-hard fans. . . .
The book's wide net of sources, along with Ephronisms and movie dialogue,
proves to be a wonderful recipe, giving readers a sense of what it was like working on an Ephron project at every level." Washington Post
"The rom-com is having a moment. But the case Erin Carlson makes in I'll Have What She's
Having is solid: Nora Ephron reinvented and saved the genre with When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail. .
. . ultimately, the book serves to show how the movies were made and the effect they had." Los Angeles Times
"This smart and witty book is as much about the life and times of the brilliant Nora Ephron as it is her three great late-20th-century rom-coms: When Harry Met Sally (1989), Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and You've Got Mail (1998), with Meg Ryan standing in for Everywoman in all three.
This is an excellent piece of Hollywood scholarship, thoughtful and entertaining. Make no mistake: It's not a love letter to Nora. Just like
Ephron, writer Erin Carlson wields a sharp pen." Toronto Star
"An enjoyable ride through the years Ephron spent behind the camera. . . . What Carlson effectively creates is a persuasive time capsule of a filmmaker who believed a connection of the heart was born of a soulful, searing, satisfying tête-à-tête between two equals." USA Today
"Reading author Erin Carlson's book I'll Have
What She's Having is as satisfying as finding out what goes into a favorite dessertand then having another slice." Associated Press
"She shows Ephron's evolution as a filmmaker and gets down to the details of how the rom-com sausage is made. . . . The book's wide net of sources, along with Ephronisms and movie dialogue, proves to be a wonderful recipe, giving readers a sense of what it was like working on an Ephron project at every level. Seamlessly woven into the narrative are bits of behind-the-scenes gossip that will surprise even the most die-hard fans. . . . Fast-paced, humorous, yet impressively researched, Carlson's voice feels cut from the same cloth as Ephron's." San Antonio Express News
"Erin Carlson depicts the stubborn ferocity that equipped Nora Ephron to crack Hollywood in I'll Have What She's Having." Toronto Star
"Ms. Carlson tells a full,
gossipy "behind the scenes" tale of Ephron's stylish and witty world of film." The Wall Street Journal
" When Harry
Met Sally and other Nora Ephron films finally get the star treatment they deserve in I'll Have What She's Having. Erin
Carlson interviews dozens of people involved in the filmmaking for an intimate,
insightful look at some great romantic comedies." Campus Circle
Journalist Carlson doesn’t definitively prove her thesis—that Nora Ephron’s efforts as a screenwriter and film director saved the rom-com genre from history’s proverbial dustbin—but her debut book is nonetheless an enjoyable and informative romp that will please industry insiders and movie fans alike. Carlson details Ephron’s beginnings as a journalist who used her “fierce wit and nimble social maneuvering” to thrive in the male-dominated film industry. The author then walks the reader through the conception, filming, and release of Ephron’s three major hits: When Harry Met Sally (which Ephron scripted but didn’t direct), Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail. While the book offers little in the way of a larger social context, it includes plenty of power lunches and fan-pleasing trivia about not only Ephron but also two stars she often worked with: Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, who was “forever struggling to earn the respect Tom came by effortlessly.” Descriptions of the on-again-off-again negotiations to use the Empire State Building as a location in Sleepless add to the fun. Carlson’s breezy Hollywood chronicle also has a serious point to make: that the gender-based barriers Ephron overcame throughout her career remain very much in place in the film industry. (Aug.)
Ephron, who died in 2012, was an unlikely inventor of the iconic romantic comedies When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You've Got Mail. Though insecure about her looks, Nora grew up tough as nails, and her early unhappy romantic life (second husband Carl Bernstein broke her heart) was hardly fodder for the sweet and sentimental beloved rom-coms that would follow. Carlson paints a warts-and-all portrait of Ephron but focuses mostly on how these three films came to be. For example, Carlson reveals that actress Meg Ryan was not the first choice for Sleepless's Sally, that nice guy Tom Hanks and Ephron butted heads on the set, and who uttered that famous line "I'll have what she's having." She also weaves in portraits of Ryan, Hanks, director Rob Reiner, and others. Carlson's prose style is perky and approachable, but her use of words such as waspy, lefty, and voice-y as well as liberal parenthetical asides, sometimes distract. VERDICT Movie fans, film students, and those who miss funny romantic comedies will enjoy this detailed behind-the-scenes look at three of the best.—Rosellen Brewer, Sno-Isle Libs., Marysville, WA
A veteran entertainment journalist offers a breezy, detailed rehearsal of three successful romantic comedies from the 1980s and '90s.Carlson—who has written for the Hollywood Reporter and the Associated Press—dug deeply and interviewed widely to inform this guilty-pleasure romp through the histories of When Harry Met Sally (1989), Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and You've Got Mail (1998). For each film, the author discusses the writing, actors, crew, shooting, editing and post-production, release, and response. As the subtitle reveals, Nora Ephron, who died in 2012, is the focus, and although Carlson is generally admiring, she doesn't hesitate to zing her occasionally about her troubles with cast and crew—including a child she cut from Sleepless and a disagreement with a celebrated cinematographer. Still, the author's approach remains steadfastly pro-Ephron. Carlson weaves other stories throughout—e.g., the careers of actors Meg Ryan (who emerged as a star in these films), Tom Hanks, and Ephron's sister and co-writer, Delia. We also learn that the woman who spoke the title words in When Harry Met Sally was Ephron's mother, and we find out details about the man who actually said, "You've got mail" (and other things) on AOL. The author informs us about the personal lives of her principals, noting sadly, for example, how Ryan, America's sweetheart, became involved in an extramarital affair with Russell Crowe and became "Hester Prynne overnight." The text is suffused with dialogue—some from the films themselves—a technique that helps readers consume all the more quickly this long buffet line of snack food. On a more serious note, Carlson continually reminds readers of the difficulties women face in Hollywood as both directors and as performers whose aging often slows and then terminates their careers. A large bag of buttery popcorn that goes down oh so pleasantly.