Sister Mother Husband Dog: For Delia Ephron, It’s All Personal

Originally published October 2013

Ever find yourself trying to make sense of your life?

When author Delia Ephron found herself facing the loss of her sister, author and screenwriter Nora Ephron, it was the catalyst for re-evaluating just about everything. The result? “Sister Mother Husband Dog: Etc,” a collection of essays about life, both past and present.

“It’s very personal. Very, very, very, very, very personal,” she says. “It’s a collection of essays about about my life. It’s about looking back. It is storytelling for sure and story telling is my favorite thing in the world.”

Ephron is in town this weekend as a featured speaker at the Chicago Humanities Festival, appearing at Cahn Auditorium on Sunday. Her latest effort started after her sister passed away from leukemia in 2012.

“I guess I started with losing Nora,” she says. “It changed all my rules. It was so difficult—everything about it. So it began there and the next thing I knew I was writing about my 20s and what a mess I made of them.”

The book, which was released earlier this fall, has received rave reviews. Actress Jane Lynch said of the book, “All praise to her for these self-honest and hilarious stories of love, life and the healing power of girlfriends, doggies and bakery items.” And in Eprhon’s opinion, the book is a natural fit to follow “The Lion is In,” her 2012 novel, which she is currently adapting into a screenplay. Having to revisit the novel made her realize a closer connection to the characters within.

“In working on it as a screenplay, I realized how much that book meant to me,” she says. “It’s completely me. In ‘The Lion’ those women are really trying to make sense of their lives.”

And the lessons learned? When it comes to life, “You have to accept there is no order,” says Ephron, adding that it is her friends that sustained her following the loss of her sister.

“There’s a lot of friendship in this book – friendship gets you through.”

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