Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl

Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl

4.7 29
by Stacy Pershall
     
 

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“An utterly unique journey down some of the mind’s more mysterious byways . . . ranges from the shocking to the simply lovely.”—Marya Hornbacher

Stacy Pershall grew up as an overly intelligent, depressed, deeply strange girl in Prairie Grove, Arkansas, population 1,000. From her days as a thirteen-year-old Jesus freak through her

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Overview

“An utterly unique journey down some of the mind’s more mysterious byways . . . ranges from the shocking to the simply lovely.”—Marya Hornbacher

Stacy Pershall grew up as an overly intelligent, depressed, deeply strange girl in Prairie Grove, Arkansas, population 1,000. From her days as a thirteen-year-old Jesus freak through her eventual diagnosis of bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, this spirited memoir chronicles Pershall’s journey through hell and her struggle with the mental health care system.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Pershall went from being what she calls a strange and sensitive kid living in northwest Arkansas to a tattooed lady with flaming red dreadlocks, making a living as an artist and belly dancer in New York City. A former anorexic, she was diagnosed after many years with a bipolar disorder and a borderline personality disorder. During one especially ragged period while seesawing between manic highs and dark lows, Pershall spiraled even deeper. One of the first cam girls, young women who broadcast their lives 24 hours a day via webcams, Pershall attempted suicide as the bathroom camera recorded her effort. It took 15 years of wading through a sea of 24 prescription drugs and a parade of doctors to find three medications that worked for her. At 34, two things, tattooing and a new behavioral therapy, finally helped her transcend the chaotic and painful life she had endured since childhood. Therapy and tattooing taught her "how to accept and survive pain, a lesson I needed to learn physically as well as emotionally," and probably saved her life. This is a gritty, intimate, and at times very sad story of one young woman's struggle with mental illness. (Feb.)
Booklist
“[An] electrifying account . . . this is one whirlwind ride.”
Bust
“Pershall’s way of describing how the disordered mind works is joltingly accurate. Loud in the House of Myself is a beautifully written sliver of understanding that is frank, self-­deprecating, and, at times, funny. This memoir is more than just a tear-jerking page turner; it’s the manifesto of a ‘strange girl’ and could be, for some, a lifeline.”
Kirkus Reviews

The grim, turbulent life of a girl at the mercy of multiple psychological maladies.

The product of an unconventional childhood in rural Prairie Grove, Ark., in the '70s, belly dancer and artist Pershall recalls prancing around department stores fantasizing about becoming a dancer "magically teleported to New York City on waves of talent." But by age ten, the author recognized a noticeable uptick in the ups and downs she was experiencing. She internalized her mother's miscarriage, began drumming up alternate "identities" to buffer her parents' hurtful "obsessive devotion" to sibling Cameron and adopted fundamentalist Christianity as a retreat from grade-school bullying. Her erratic behavior increased after Owen, her punky high-school sweetheart, took her virginity and took off after criticizing her eating habits. Anorexia, bulimia and self-loathing followed. After Pershall discovered diet pills, she contemplated suicide in tenth grade. Eventually, her snooping mother read the author's diary and set in motion a series of visits to a psychiatrist. The rest of her high-school years were spent in a dense cloud of cyclical manic depression ("for every seventy-two hours of unadulterated manic bliss, there are weeks of unremitting depression and obsessive rumination"), which marred a stint with a study-abroad program in London. The author's lamentations on her scarred, downward-spiraling condition continue through theater internships and two more suicide attempts—one streamed live on a webcam. Pershall's material becomes increasingly difficult to read as she writes frenetically about the sad vacuum of her life and the recurring bouts of aggression and self-loathing that destroyed countless relationships, including a misguided marriage at 24. A tattoo aficionado, Pershall continues to artistically recreate her skin as "a place in which I could live." With much suffering and more than 24 drug combinations tried and failed, she closes with glimmers of hope and self-awareness.

A sobering, exhaustive amalgam of scary psychoses and liberating introspection.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393080513
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
01/31/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
115,827
File size:
1 MB

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Marya Hornbacher

"An utterly unique journey down some of the mind's more mysterious byways…ranges from the shocking to the simply lovely."—Marya Hornbacher

Meet the Author

Stacy Pershall is a belly dancer and artist living in New York City.

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Loud in the House of Myself 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm from Arkansas, and I saw Stacy Pershall read at the Arkansas Lit Fest, and she was charming, funny, sweet and talked about how honored she was to be there. She's also a huge advocate for mental health education, and for saving the lives of kids who feel ostracized in small towns. Her parents were in the audience, as were a group of her friends from Governor's School. She said how this was her favorite reading of her book tour because she got to come home. The book itself is very educational, and I found myself nodding my head as I read more than once. If you're a smart kid and you don't buy into the Baptist thing, it's hard to fit in here. She's right. She talks in the book about the therapist in Arkansas and her teachers who kept her alive during her teenage years. I personally came away from Loud in the House of Myself with much more compassion for and understanding of why girls fall prey to eating disorders and self-hatred. When the first word of a book's title is "loud," you have to expect that maybe it won't be the most meek and tactful thing. I'm an unoffended Southerner for whom truth is more important.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an exceptionally written book about eye opening story about growing up with an undiagnosed mental illness and the struggle to find the proper treatment in young adulthood. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well-written portrait of life with BPS and other disorders. The author, despite her perception of herself, is easy to identify with and quite likeable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First book I've ever felt the need to review. By far one of the best books I've ever read. I tell everyone I meet to read it. Stacy Pershall is one of my new favourite authors. <3
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Review by Stephanie: We always saw those weird girls in high school -- the ones who never fit in, who always sat alone during lunch. The ones we never bothered to get to know. Stacy Pershall was one of those girls, but shockingly, she doesn't seem very different from me. Her memoir -- all of its crudeness, honesty, and heartfelt revelations -- announces to the world, the deepest secrets of a weird girl, and also acknowledges how the girl who never fit in is actually, truthfully, painfully, a little bit of every girl we see today. This memoir is achingly personal. It's not like reading a diary; it's more like reading a girl's thoughts as they happen. It holds no barriers and only tells the truth -- the ugliest truth. I connected so much with Stacy, both as a child, and as an adult. My own suffering never has gone as far as suicide attempts or bulimia, but a lot of the things Stacy ponders upon are things that have flitted through my head too many times to count. It also vindicates the millions of girls today who sink from the pressure of body image and societal acceptance. I'm not saying suicide and bulimia are healthy habits, but upon reading Stacy's real-life accounts, a part of me feels like it knows why girls would do such things. A memoir is a collection of memories, which separates it from an autobiography, and Stacy's makes me feel like I'm living her life. That's how real, how heartbreaking, her story is. I had trouble finishing it in the end because there is no definite conclusion, so it drags on a bit, but other than that, I really enjoyed this one. Stacy's narrative as an outcast breaks my heart, and her discovery and exoneration, which is being diagnosed with Borderline Personality disorder -- finally! An excuse for being weird -- makes it sing. If you want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, pick up Loud in the House of Myself to revisit the injustices of childhood, as well as the insecurities of life in general, that one girl -- all girls -- have faced in their lifetimes. Quote: "For a while I really believed [my eating disorder] was just that: playing. I was toying with the idea of sickness, flirting with it, but because I was not yet what I would consider emaciated, I felt I could give it up at will and move on to something else. The old I-can-quit-anytime-I-want. But soon I was sort of playing but it was sort of real, and then it was entirely real and I realized it had never been a game at all. Playing with anorexia is like playing with heroin, fire, plutonium, or Scientology -- it's just a bad idea all around. Playing with anorexia is like cracking open mercury thermometers and drinking them just to see what happens. Anorexia, to use the vernacular, ain't playin'."
Missy_Whit More than 1 year ago
My headline says it all. I grabbed this book at random one day while in B&N. I felt so compelled to read it that I bought then and there because I didn't want to wait to get home and put it on my Nook. I finished it in 4 days. Loved loved loved it!
DrumNdancer More than 1 year ago
What a fascinating, unique memoir- so worth reading! Kudos, Stacy Pershall!!!
Anonymous 10 months ago
Excellent, eye opening story. Thank you for being so exposed and honest. Your story will help others believe in themselves. You are beautiful.
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Highly recommended read
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