Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Review: Your Voice in My Head by Emma Forrest

This memoir of depression, mania, suicide-attempts, and most of all, therapy, was highly lauded this spring so when I ran across it, I thought I should check it out. After all, I love memoirs, I have been in therapy (although not the other things), and it's pretty short (always a good thing!)

And I did zip through it. Ms. Forrest is a compelling writer, and she does an excellent job showing how important her therapist, Dr. R was in her life, and how thanks to his therapy, she was able to eventually get over his unexpected death, as well as other bumps in her life, and how she is mostly better now, due not in small part to being able to hear Dr. R's voice in her head at times.

One thing that put me off though was her name-dropping. And yes, she does live in L.A. and is a screenwriter and did date a movie star (I googled him, he is definitely a big-name star). And for some of them, like the boyfriend, she doesn't actually name them, but even in her not-naming, she is name-dropping. She seems to revel in being around famous people, about knowing who it was who ODed at Chateau Marmont, about telling us she sold a screenplay to Scott Rudin and that she knows people at William Morris. These things may all be true, but I don't think those details are necessary to story, unless of course you think (which is at least partly true) that her celebrity-obsession IS part of her story, although Ms. Forrest doesn't consciously realize it. It does fit perfectly with her grandiose, bipolar personality. But it was a bit of a turn-off for me in the end. She also seems to think she herself is a famous author, which I would dispute, having never heard of her before (she's also written three novels). Just because she's had books published, even if successfully, that doesn't make her a famous author.

Nonetheless, her story is a powerful and important one. She attests to the power of psychology in her life, and therefore the potential for it to help others. She is honest in her fears and her mania, and it did give me a window (if small) into suicidal thoughts. Occasionally funny, fairly relatable, and a quick, easy read, I would recommend this book.

I picked up this book at the WNBA Book Swap.


caite said...

I have sworn off memoirs..but even if I had not, "depression, mania, suicide-attempts" would have decided this one for me. Just not what I want to spend my time on.

christa @ mental foodie said...

I was most curious who the bf was - didn't take long to find in google at all lol. I like reading memoir, but I can only read one every so often. It seems like nowadays, almost everyone is writing a memoir...

Christy said...

I've found that I can get annoyed by the L.A. and NYC memoir writers. I often feel like these authors' imagined readers are all fellow denizens of their city, who inhabit the same social strata. Therefore, they don't even register all the name-dropping they are doing, or all the assumptions ingrained into their writing.