Monday, February 20, 2012

A Review of 'Your Voice in My Head' by Emma Forrest

"Talented, prolific, and charming, Emma Forrest was just twenty-two and living in the fast lane as a journalist in New York City when she realized that her quirks had gone beyond eccentric.  Lonely, and drawn inexplicably to damaging relationships and destructive behavior, she found herself in the chair of a slim, balding, and optimistic psychiatrist-- a man whose wisdom would save her after she tried to end her life.  Emma was on the brink of drowning.  But circled by supportive family and friends, she was still working, still exploring, and 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 and disbelieving patients.  Reeling from the premature death of a man who had become her anchor, 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.

'Your Voice in My Head' is a dazzling and devastating true story of heartbreak and self-discovery.  With wit, humor, and unflinching honesty, Emma Forrest explores the crashing weight of depression and obsession, but also the beauty of love and healing after loss."

I love the title of this book-- that's what attracted me.  Well, that and I heard a wee rumor that this book might be made into a movie and Emma Watson could be the main actress.  I would melt if that turns out to be true!

I am very attracted to books that deal with depression.  It's a very twisted quality of mine, but I do love the way writers like Emma Forrest describe their approach to life, even if it is a very challenging approach.  This book has similar things to other books written about depression, but it felt like Emma was more focused on the recovery aspect of both depression and grief rather than concerning this book with how crappy her life was or the cause of her depression-- the origins of her cutting.  Everything was wrapped around this one man, Dr. R-- how he affected Emma, how he affected other people that Emma knew, etc.

At times, it would have been nice if Ms. Forrest could have given her characters names instead of abbreviations (for example, one of her characters is GH.  I later re-discovered that GH stood for Gypsy Husband.  Also, I was under the impression that GH was Heath Ledger, but it appears that I'm mistaken).

My favorite passage from this book is this:

"When it happens," he asks me, "what will get you through?"
"Friends who love me."
"And if your friends weren't there?"
"Music through headphones."
"And if the music stopped?"
"A sermon by Rabbi Wolpe."
"If there was no religion?"
"The mountains and the sky."
"If you leave California?"
"Numbered streets to keep me walking."
"If New York falls into the ocean?"
Your voice in my head.
--Page 193-194

This particular passage just strikes me as so hopeful.  It's pure poetry!

I loved that this story was hopeful and even though Emma though about suicide and cutting, she really does want to get better.  This psychiatrist helped her and so many people and even when he was gone, he stuck with her.  He helped her so much that Emma could start helping herself.  That's what I found most amazing.

Overall, this is a beautiful story about love, balance, and healing written in a most honest voice.  I give 'Your Voice in My Head':
Thanks for Reading!


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