Your Voice in My Head

Your Voice in My Head

3.8 18
by Emma Forrest
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Emma Forrest, a British journalist, was just twenty-two and living the fast life in New York City when she realized that her quirks had gone beyond eccentricity. In a cycle of loneliness, damaging relationships, and destructive behavior, she found herself in the chair of a slim, balding, and effortlessly optimistic psychiatrist—a man whose wisdom and humanity

Overview

Emma Forrest, a British journalist, was just twenty-two and living the fast life in New York City when she realized that her quirks had gone beyond eccentricity. In a cycle of loneliness, damaging relationships, and destructive behavior, she found herself in the chair of a slim, balding, and effortlessly optimistic psychiatrist—a man whose wisdom and humanity would wrench her from the dangerous tide after she tried to end her life. She was on the brink of drowning, but she was still working, still exploring, still writing, and she had also fallen deeply in love. One day, when Emma called to make an appointment with her psychiatrist, she found no one there. He had died, shockingly, at the age of fifty-three, leaving behind a young family. Reeling from the premature death of a man who had become her anchor after she turned up on his doorstep, she was adrift. And when her all-consuming romantic relationship also fell apart, Emma was forced to cling to the page for survival and regain her footing on her own terms.
   A modern-day fairy tale, Your Voice in My Head is a stunning memoir, clear-eyed and shot through with wit. In her unique voice, Emma Forrest explores the highs and lows of love and the heartbreak of loss.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Your Voice in My Head is part of a literary tradition that began long before Susanna Kaysen’s girlhood was interrupted or Elizabeth Wurtzel got her first Prozac prescription. . . [Forrest is] talented . . . through these words we share her insight: there’s something to be said for occasionally listening to a voice other than your own.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Her psychiatrist dies, then her lover leaves. A memoir about finding strength when you least expect to.” —People Magazine

“[An] admirably airy and riveting book…Emma Forrest is such a winning, smart writer…”—Nick Hornby, The Believer

“If you’re reading one memoir this year, probably make it Emma Forrest’s Your Voice in My Head.” —Jewcy

“A brilliantly realized memoir of surprise and startling beauty.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Emma Forrest is an incredibly gifted writer, who crafted the living daylights out of every sentence in this unforgettable memoir. I can’t remember the last time I ever read such a blistering, transfixing story of obsession, heartbreak and slow, stubborn healing.” —Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

“Emma Forrest is as hilarious as she is wise. And did I mention generous? Unlike most memoirs this is not merely a song of oneself, but a debt of gratitude repaid to an incredible man—her psychiatrist. Your Voice In My Head is touching, funny, and very real.” —Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

“I read Your Voice in My Head in one sitting, by turns laughing out loud, gasping with recognition, and fighting to hold back tears—and wondering, of course, who is Emma Forrest and how is she able to write with such enormous wit and bravery about subjects most folks can’t muster the courage to bring up in conversation: suicide, self-loathing, loneliness, depression, mania, and, most of all, love inexplicably lost.” —Joanna Smith Rakoff, author of A Fortunate Age
  
“Forrest’s insightful and snappily-written account of her lengthy battles against depression, self-harm, damaging relationships, and potato-based fried snacks is heartfelt and touching and surprisingly funny.” —Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, Dazed and Confused
 
“A bittersweet love letter . . . It is a brilliant read.” —Sunday Times Style Magazine 
 
“[Your Voice in My Head] dances along with all the lyrical panache of a novel . . . Her prose is smart and frequently witty and there are echoes of early Lorrie Moore.” —Julie Myerson, The Observer

“Forrest is stylish and evocative; whether she is sick and listless in New York or sex-dipped and radiantly happy in Los Angeles, she writes it cool, clever, and ravaging, in very few strokes. . . Her story is crushing and complicated, and entirely common . . . It's gorgeous.” —The Globe and Mail

Your Voice in My Head is every drink that’s ever started out sweet then turned strong enough to sneak up on you and kick your ass to the floor, or bed, or hell, or heaven.” —Dan Kennedy, author of Loser Goes First, Rock On, and host of The Moth storytelling podcast

Publishers Weekly
Forrest's memoir of suffering from mania, bulimia, and self-mutilation is written with such candor, humor, and lush, sensual prose it becomes, quite surprisingly, a rich, often riotous, pleasure to listen to. A British transplant to New York City at 22, on contract with the Guardian and completing her first novel, Forrest notices that her "quirks had gone beyond eccentricity" and she dissolves into self-loathing and self-destructive relationships—until she makes a fortuitous connection with her "savior," a psychiatrist, Dr. R. The unsparing, unsentimental narrative is beautifully served by Forrest's reading. Her voice is low, halting; she confides rather than narrates, and she switches easily from the confessional mode to rollicking sendups of her family members and friends—her father's Sean Connery brogue, her grandmother who sounds like a Yiddish Prunella Scales, her squeaky baby sister, and every variety of New York accent. Less impressive, and more than slightly offensive, however are her depictions of minorities. Her crude "Chinese" and "Indian" accents are cringe inducing. An Other Press hardcover. (June)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590514467
Publisher:
Other Press, LLC
Publication date:
05/03/2011
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
796,188
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

I was looking for weekend work, and though it was a Saturday job at a hairdresser’s I was after, somewhere in my teenage mind I thought that Ophelia might need a handmaiden. So, every day after school, before my mum got home, I would cycle to the Tate Gallery to visit
Millais’ muse.
   I didn’t want a Saturday job at a hairdresser and bike riding was not my forte, but I was conscious that I was a thirteen-year-old and thirteen-year-olds ride bikes for fun and wash hair for tip money. Later I would understand that disconnect: “This is how and what I am supposed to want, and so I will try.”
   Approaching the Tate, I knew what was coming. I could see Ophelia’s Titian hair, her white body floating down the river, the flowers around her. Sometimes, when I got there, she was dead. Other times she was still dying and could be saved by someone on the riverbank I’d never seen before. Someone Millais had sketched and then painted over, under the pigment, taking shallow breaths so as not to be seen—a man who’d let her act it out, but who wouldn’t let her drown.
   Though I’d never had sex, there were days when Ophelia seemed to be caught in a sexual act, her arms reached above her, her mouth open, beneath an invisible lover. A long time later—after I’d been in love—I knew that she could not let go on the banks as she drifted by. The flowers beg her stay in the moment. His scent keeps her locked in the past. Those afternoons, the Tate was populated by a combination of the brightly patterned elderly and young, hip gallery patrons in black (the former keeping out of the rain.The latter longing for rain to get caught in).There was always at least one pickup going on. But mainly, on the leather banquette, in the center of the grand room, I’d sit in front of Millais’ painting, eating a secret bag of crisps, and cry.

Meet the Author

Emma Forrest is the author of three novels and editor of the nonfiction essay collection Damage Control. Raised in London, she now lives in Los Angeles, where she is a screenwriter.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Your Voice in My Head 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of all the good memoirs out there that never make it into print, how in the world did this one make it? I skimmed it because I wanted in the worst way for Emma to face up to the truth... to find her Self. To do so, she would have had to face the underlying reason for her self-destructive behavior in the form of cutting, bulimia, promiscuity, suicide attempts. And that is not to mention losing her Self in every relationship and then being completely bereft when he leaves her. The one moment... just the one... is what kept me reading the book, to give her every chance to come clean with her Self, her counselor, her parents, and her readers. It is the moment when she is confronted with the knowledge that her cutting could be a sign of abuse in her childhood. She steers around that, and has herself believing it all started when she was sixteen when she was raped. I am not a counselor, but I know the signs all too well. She is a classic example of someone who identifies with the perpetrator. I, too, endured childhood abuse. I, too, developed bulimia. I know all too well how painful the healing process can be. But at some point, I faced that pain and I steered through it, not around. Thank goodness... I could have been stuck in this kind of insanity the rest of my life. If you want to get pulled into Emma Forrest's insanity, read this book. Otherwise spare yourself this and read a book that doesn't leave you feeling like you've just wasted your time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
aaronsmomlibrarian More than 1 year ago
Curious, from the first few sentences I couldn't put this down. Since losing my son Aaron... age 20 to suicide, I continue to tear the world apart to find the answer that forever haunts me: why??? This gifted writer opens her veins and pours out things that most wouldn't dare to share. Painfull, i'm sure, but i'm glad she did.
RosalindConnage More than 1 year ago
Was hooked instantly. Great writing -just love Emma Forrest
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Recently read on planes to and around Europe (one of my vacation reads). Engaging, well written, Emma brings to light a topic that people shy away from discussing openly but which in fact is more common than people think. People suffer whether we think they should or not (I refer to the idea that she is from a caring well off background and she should be grateful for all that she has) and frankly unless you are in that person's mind, one can never comprehend that person's emotions and/or pain. As a memoir, it further entertains by a thorough account of an experience that many of us would not refuse...having an intense romantic affair with an attractive, charismatic public figure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Caitlin519 More than 1 year ago
The content of this book may scare some people away, but it doesn't take away from Emma Forrest's amazing writing style. She does a great job at bringing a taboo subject to light in her familiar voice and style. If you like her other books as much as I do, definitely buy this one. I think this book is more special than her others because it's real.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago