Book Buzz: Sister Mother Husband Dog

I see the name Ephron, and poof! I’m happy.

Because I am pretty sure that no matter what it is — a book or play or essay or movie — I am going to be caught up in something humorous, heartfelt and genuine.

If you called me an Ephron groupie, you wouldn’t be far off the mark.

It’s true. I’m a devoted fan of all four talented Ephron sisters (Nora, Delia, Hallie and Amy) whose writing consistently makes me swoon.

Was I predisposed to fall in love with Delia Ephron’s new book of essays, “Sister Mother Husband Dog?” Perhaps.

But love it I did.

Sister Mother Husband Dog

Delia stole my heart years ago when I read her delightful essay in The New York Times magazine, “How to Eat Like a Child” which would later become a book. Every so often I would catch a piece of hers somewhere, like this in the Times last year: A Christmas Manners Quiz, which made me LOL, so I tweeted her to thank her.

Sister Mother Husband Dog

Sister Mother Husband Dog

You will laugh. You will cry. At least, I did.

Delia’s first essay is about the loss of her sister, Nora; the fragility of those last months, the heartbreak of watching a loved one suffer and then slip away, the confusion, the not knowing how to set life back on a normal course.

Nora and Delia were more than sisters; they were collaborators, working together on Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. And a terrific play that ran on Broadway, called Love, Loss and What I Wore, which I saw twice: first with five girlfriends, and then with my mother and two daughters.

The play was funny, warm, poignant.

This is how I would describe the essays in “Sister Mother Husband Dog.”

This is how I imagine Delia to be in real life.

She talks about the collaborations, the upsides and the downs, the adrenaline rush of success as well as the disappointments. She writes honestly about her loving but complex relationship with Nora.

Dogs and bakeries

She is a dog lover and so am I, so her ruminations about life with a dog made me smile. I am in awe of her vast knowledge of pastries present and past in more New York bakeries than you can imagine. She jokes about modern day banking and whether she is Jewish enough and how falling in love with a movie led to her first marriage, which turned out to be a bad idea.

But most eloquent is the essay entitled “Why I Can’t Write About My Mother,” her memory of a brilliant but difficult woman who couldn’t find a way to embrace her daughter, and whose life ended much too soon due to alcoholism, leaving a tragic legacy.

If heartstrings made a sound when they were pulled, mine would have been audible.

Like chatting with your girlfriends.

I love Delia’s writing style. It is much like a typical conversation, in which you start with one thought and happily veer off into something else because there is so much to talk about, but eventually get back on track. Or not.

When I turned the last page, I sat for a moment with the book on my lap, a tear in my eye, a smile on my face.

As it should be.


I am delighted to be able to give away a copy of “Sister Mother Husband Dog” to one of my readers. Please leave a comment below and a winner will be selected randomly. Only USA addresses are eligible.


I received a copy of “Sister Mother Husband Dog” from Penguin Random House for an honest review. No other compensation was received.

 photo Helenesig2.png
If you like my blog post, please share it!
Facebook Twitter Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Delicious Reddit Tumblr Plusone Digg

80 Thoughts on “Book Buzz: Sister Mother Husband Dog

  1. This sounds like a great read. I have never heard of this author before, but she sounds awesome.

  2. Thanks! Sounds like a wonderful book!

  3. Just reading your post brought a warm glow to my heart… and a sadness, too, considering once again the loss of Nora Ephron. This sounds like a touching, poignant book. I’d love to win it! 😀

  4. How in the world have I never heard of these sisters? I definitely know their work but not them…
    This book sounds so good, I look forward to reading it.

  5. Fellow Ephron family fan here. This weekend my husband was telling me about this book. In fact he said, “It sounds just like you.” Well, if I could write like her, and had her life…but yes, love.

  6. You brought me so much joy by reading your post, I can’t imagine how happy I will be to read this book. I love Delia and heard her speak at my mom’s book club. She is as funny as her sister, who I absolutely adored. Nora was right: I do hate my neck! Hahahahaha!

    I loved this review, Helene, because you touched my heart. So wonderful…..books is (couldn’t resist.)

    • hbludman on September 2, 2014 at 3:24 pm said:

      Oh Cathy, how did I know you loved them, too? Because I did. I would love to see Delia speak someday. That must have been so wonderful.

  7. I have not heard of this author before or known of them existing, I need to check out a couple of their books.

  8. Even the name made me smile, I really think this is a book I would enjoy 🙂 x

  9. Thanks for a fabulous review, Helene. I know I will love this book, too – I can’t wait to read it!

  10. Can’t wait to read this one! Thanks for the great review!

  11. I love reading your reviews -you take me right into the story without giving anything away! I am so eager to read this book now! My need to read list is so full of your suggestions Helene! Thank you!

  12. What a glowing review! You have just made me want to start reading it! Thanks.

  13. This is exactly what a good book review should do. Make me want to get a copy of the book myself. It sounds wonderful. I’ve heard of the author, but have not had the pleasure of reading any of her books. That will have to change.

  14. I love your reviews. I always learn stuff! And sometimes I win a book. 🙂 This time I learned to look at screenwriters, at least some of them, with a bit more appreciation…. as OMG some of them appear to be real authors! (I’m still digesting Life by the Cup by the way.)

  15. I love all the Ephrons, too — each so different yet so talented and easy to relate to. Can’t wait to read this one. Great title, especially because it includes the dog 🙂

  16. I’m also a big Ephron fan. Nora, gone too soon.

  17. She was such a talented writer. I need to read more of her work.

  18. Loved Nora’s books and looking forward to reading her sister’s. What a talented family…

  19. It should come as no surprise that I love those Ephron sisters too. And I agree with you about Delia’s “girlfriend to girlfriend” writing style. Did you get a chance to meet Ilene Beckerman? “Love, Loss and What I Wore” is her delightful little book, as you know. Hope to see that play if it every gets produced in San Francisco! Anyway, Delia’s book is a treasure and I’m so glad you’ve written about it here!

    • hbludman on September 3, 2014 at 9:03 am said:

      I did meet “Gingy” at Erma Bombeck! It was such a thrill and a delight to meet her.

  20. Never heard of this author before, but the book sounds like a great read. I’m always on the lookout for new books. Thanks!

  21. Thanks so much for sharing!

    It really sounds like a wonderful, unforgettable, and worthwhile read, particularly with this moment: “When I turned the last page, I sat for a moment with the book on my lap, a tear in my eye, a smile on my face.” I’ve not even read the book, and I already know I’d love it. <3

    • hbludman on September 3, 2014 at 9:04 am said:

      Awww, thank you, Esther! You know when you turn the last page and have a hard time letting go? That.

  22. Sounds like a great book. I like that it will make you laugh & make you will cry! Thanks for sharing!

  23. At first I thought you meant the actor. I’ll have to check out this book!

  24. This sounds like my kind of book. I love a book that makes you feel real emotion.

  25. That sounds like a very good read. Never heard of the author before, but she sounds like a good one 🙂

  26. “Sister Mother Husband Dog” sounds like a really good book, thanks for your honest review.

  27. I love a good book that takes me through a range of emotions. This sounds like a great book

  28. I am a huge dog lover and I always love to hear other people’s dog stories, and her essays on her sister and mother also sound interesting…I’m pretty sure I’ll love this collection of essays, and will probably find myself reading it all weekend, crying and laughing throughout.

  29. I’ve never heard of this author before but I’m always on the hunt for the next book to read. Thanks for sharing.

  30. hbludman on September 3, 2014 at 9:07 am said:

    She is as genuine as they come. Thanks, Kelli.

  31. Sounds like a good book! I think I’d relate to the dog stories too, I have three pups of my own.

  32. Melissa Smith on September 3, 2014 at 10:11 am said:

    This sounds like a really good read. I know I’d love to find out more about who Nora was as a person.

  33. It sounds like something I would love to read. I love to curl up with an interesting book but it’s hard to find the time.

  34. Hahaha, I am laughing at myself. You said Ephron and I was thinking of the young man actor. Maybe his name is spelled Efron? Now I know of different Ephrons. 🙂

  35. Looks like an amazing and heartwarming book. I will check it out!

  36. You know a book is good when it can evoke so many different emotions! Delia sounds like an amazing author.

  37. I have never heard of this author. I love to read people’s thoughts before I buy a book.

  38. Tiffany Steadman-Collins on September 3, 2014 at 9:27 pm said:

    I have never heard of this book before. Maybe something I can bring up at my next staff meeting with the girls in the book club. Might be something they are interested in to read.

  39. This sounds like a great story – I’m sure you loved reviewing this book!

  40. hbludman on September 4, 2014 at 8:00 am said:


  41. this would seem be a great one to have a read!

  42. Mina Slater on September 4, 2014 at 3:53 pm said:

    This author is new to me but just the way you describe her writing is enough to garner my attention! Is this book available on Amazon so I can read a sample page? If not I’ll be sure to look for it this weekend during my monthly bookstore visit.

Post Navigation


%d bloggers like this: