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And the Heart Says Whatever Paperback – May 4, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

On the strength of an exposé she wrote for the New York Times Magazine two years ago about her experience working at, Gould, hailing from Silver Spring, Md., and now in her late 20s, delivers a series of 11 insipid essays about her uninspired youth and general lack of motivation or talent for various jobs she took after moving to New York City. The writing seems intentionally bland, as if Gould is attempting to be blasé. At age 17, as she describes in Flower, she and her suburban friends listened to Liz Phair because the singer gave us permission to do stupid things and consider them adventures; in Gould's case, she deflowered a 14-year-old boy from the swim team, knowing her boyfriend would hear about it. She doesn't get into the artsiest Ivy as per plan (I was neither smart nor exceptional), but attends her safe (unvisited) choice, Kenyon, from which she drops out and moves to New York. Among other gigs, she works as a waitress for a sad-sack music bar and as a receptionist for a large, commercial publishing house (I felt silly for being shocked by the quality of what made it through). At Gawker, she became practiced at scanning a room or a page and isolating the appropriate things to hate. Desultory anecdotes of breakup and dating ensue, leaving the reader more confounded than moved. (May)
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From Booklist

Former Gawker editor Gould turns a sharp eye on her own life in 11 essays about her childhood, brief collegiate career in Ohio, and eventual move to New York. The perceptiveness and instinctive talent for spotting and exploiting weakness that elevated Gould at Gawker and made her so controversial carry the book. In the queasy traditions of eviscerating memoirs and plain old gossip, there is an element of callousness even in the tenderest moments she describes with former lovers and friends, making it impossible not to wonder what their reaction to this collection will be. Gould outs her affair at 17 with a 14-year-old, a few awkward years at Kenyon College, various affairs in New York, and a stint as a shot girl at a seedy bar. Gould also discusses her time at Gawker, describing how she covered parties, scanning the room for someone or something to mock. Readers will expect the book, given Gould’s record and reputation, to be salacious but instead it comes off as rather pedestrian. --Katherine Boyle

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1 edition (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439123896
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439123898
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #742,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hi! Thanks for stopping by; I'm glad you're here. After your visit, please check out my book club, Emily Books, which is online at, or my blogs: and

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Snark Shark on May 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book because interviews with Gould have been making the rounds, and she has some really interesting things to say about what's expected from women's confessionals/memoirs, and how their male counterparts are not held to the same standards. She has some thought-provoking views and a unique way of expressing herself.

Sadly, there's little evidence of that in her actual book.

"And the Heart Says Whatever" is moody, aimless, and pretty self-indulgent. There are flashes of insight or humor, but these are so few and far between they feel like they belong to a different, better book. This one has almost nothing to offer besides a fragmented portrait of the author's late-teenage-to-late-twenties ennui.

Here's the thing about memoirs: usually the good ones are written by people who have led fascinating or unique lives. So far, Gould doesn't seem to be one of these people. She moves to NYC after freshman year of college, works a variety of rent-paying jobs, and recovers from the slow dissolution of a six-year relationship. There are sporadic attempts to inject her open-ended anecdotes with gravitas ("We were just college kids," or "I wonder why I didn't crack like an egg on the sidewalk."), but it came off as, well, pretentious. Gould also seems to luxuriate in the idea of herself as a screw-up; not necessarily a Bad Girl but one who realizes the trap of being a Good one. While I applaud the sentiment (and the homage to Liz Phair), her adventures read less like owning her mistakes and more like, you know, stuff. Stuff that happens to everybody, like getting involved with someone when you're not right for each other, or getting a puppy before you're ready for the (huge!) responsibility. None of it's that big a deal.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Marmite on July 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
Received a review copy of this book. Sadly the author has very little to say and not much in the way of how to say it. One reviewer's observation that this recounts a mid-twenties ennui just about summed it up. I'm surprised it has such great reviews as it really isn't a great example of the literary essay - check out Joan Didion's 'Slouching Towards Bethlehem' to see how it's done.The heart says 'whatever' as it has little else to say, apparently, in this series of essays about nothing....
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By BKSR on July 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
The writing in this book was laughably bad. This book wasn't even that long and I felt it dragged on! Calling it self-indulgent is kind. I borrowed this from a friend and couldn't finish it. Don't buy this book unless you have money to burn. If you do have it to burn, give it to charity, not to this author. Boring, pointless, poorly written. Enough said.
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46 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Tristram on May 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
People under the age of 18 should read Emily Gould's book in order to find out exactly what type of person they should try NOT to become. The publishers, who really should know better, try to pass Gould's memoirs off as the rigorously honest self-reflections of a sophisticated hipster. But in truth they are simply the verbal brain farts of an excruciatingly vapid, deeply unimaginative mind. That the book was ever even considered for publication is an embarrassment to contemporary American letters. Emily Gould, you've had more than your 15 minutes. Now please just go away.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Memoir lover on May 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
I love reading memoirs. Unfortunately, I did not do any research about this book before buying it. I rarely review things on Amazon, but I feel very strongly about how much i dislike this book. Even though it is not long, I'm trying to force myself to finish it. I might just stop and donate it. Grammar errors, repetitive, annoying self-pity about her ex boyfriend...I am almost certain that the end is going to be equally lame, if I even decide to finish the last bit I have left. Do not buy this book, there are way better memoirs out there that are well-written and have much better content with more variety.
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36 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Campbell's Ghost on May 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
Do not waste your money on this book. Emily Gould should not be a professional writer. Trite writing. Poor plot development. Unfunny or interesting. I had the misfortune of having this book given to me by a publishing house friend as an example of what not to do. Of what the internet has done to our literature. People are now famous for being famous and nothing more. Ms. Gould proves this.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Donna Hill on October 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
Emily Gould is a good writer. She conveys her melancholy and pessimism very well, leading us through her life of work, sex, and drugs (and tattoos!).

I'm a 64-year-old widow who never saw the show Sex and the City although I've heard about it in bits and pieces. The ironies in Gould's book abound. She writes about her mom and dad who at 26 were embarking on married life together and well on their way to the stereotypical two kids, a dog, and a station wagon and she at 26 is sitting on her ratty futon in a dilapidated apartment.

She remembers the break-up of her six-year relationship (her longest relationship) because it coincided with a time when she was contemplating her next tattoo. Her lover agrees that a certain tattoo would be a good addition and would add symmetry to her collection. Shortly thereafter they split!

I particularly enjoyed the story of her ill-fated encounter with pet parenthood and noted that she got rid of the dog and a guy at almost the same time and with nearly the same lack of emotion.

She recalls one of her early lovers whom she'd bedded just 13 times when she asked herself how people could maintain long-term relationships when she and her lover had nearly "exhausted the possibilities of the act."

She recalls the good times during her six-year-relationship--a typical night would be spent cooking and eating dinner, smoking a joint, and then falling asleep entwined in front of the TV. But she writes that the good times weren't meant to last. She betrayed her lover by kissing a coworker and wasn't able to retrieve the relationship.

At the end of the book she has a boyfriend, once again, but doubts whether she will ever marry and doubts whether love can last.
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