Books: Wallflower at the Orgy

HEARTBURN by Nora Ephron; Knopf; 179 pages; $11.95

In 1961 Take Her, She's Mine opened on Broadway. The autobiographical comedy by Phoebe and Henry Ephron concerned a middle-aged couple and their recalcitrant daughter Mollie. Onstage the teen-ager was impersonated by an actress named Elizabeth Ashley. At home she was played by a girl called Nora.

In her first novel, Nora Ephron, 41, has carried on the family tradition, going public with her personal tribulations. Anyone familiar with the author's bright, acerbic articles (Crazy Salad, Scribble Scribble) knows the tropes. As before, there is the Johnny Carson Comparative: She "was so stingy she once...

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