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Your Voice in My Head: A Memoir Paperback – July 10, 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Although Your Voice in My Head begins with her near death, it is ultimately about living... A remarkably honest account of mental health and heartbreak. To her credit, Forrest presents herself as a conflicted, often contrary, young woman, and is happy to give credit to others for helping turn her life around, a stark contrast to the glut of memoirs preaching self-reliance that are trendy these days."
--"National Post"
"Quite amazing... I'm tempted to describe the memoir as a small masterpiece, although it might be something more."
--"Edmonton Journal"
"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."
--"The Globe and Mail"
"Intensely personal... Forrest's shockingly funny observations are one of the strengths of her writing."
--"Maclean's"
"Her style is more honest and witty than harrowing... It's diffic

About 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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press; Reprint edition (July 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590515404
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590515402
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #828,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
On a technical note, I have to say that this book is not as well-written as I expected. The quoted passages that I previously read in various articles, were kind of the best ones. That standard is not always maintained. There are moments of poetic beauty, but then the next line is just a contrived mess. I don't see myself as suffering from a reading comprehension problem, but here and there I really had no idea what Emma Forrest meant.

But here's my single biggest criticism - marketing and selling this book as a story about a woman coping with the loss of her psychiatrist (Dr R), is DISHONEST. More bluntly put - it's a LIE!

Not even in a literal sense does this book focus on Dr R. It's 214 pages long, and after one or two references to Gypsy Husband (Colin Farrell, as we all know) early on, it's ALL about him from page 112 onwards. But more importantly, from an emotional viewpoint, her loss of Gypsy Husband (GH) is clearly the real story here, and it's the shrink's story that's the secondary issue.

Actually, the depiction of Dr R's meaning in her life already suffers early on. Forrest never quite manages to explain how he really affected her in a positive way. He's an anchor, obviously (which GH also later becomes, mind you), but as for the actual contribution to her well-being? She fails to articulate that, I'm afraid. Of course she mentions that he said this and that and made this and that observation, but nothing really seems to carry that much weight. I have a feeling she knew she was selling him short, because she inserts quotes from Dr R's other patients every few pages. As if it was needed to do him justice, because she couldn't do so with her OWN story.

The opposite is true of her account of her relationship with GH.
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Format: Hardcover
I have bipolar type II - I'm drawn to books that deal with mental health and, more specifically, to those written about, or by, people with bipolar. So when a friend offered to lend me Your Voice in My Head I leapt at the chance.

At first glance the cover for Your Voice in My Head looks rather baffling and surreal. But it's an image that represents the high and lows of the author's illness beautifully. Emma Forrest has bipolar type I, where mania and depression cycle more extremely than in type II. The fluttering butterflies represent the brightness and creativity that mania can be at first as they are freed to escape into the air. But in the midst of depression, where it can feel like you're drowning, they are stilled. A lot of thought has gone into this cover and it is an eye-catching and effective metaphor for the illness that has had such an impact on Forrest's life.

Forrest's writing is slick and descriptive and she wields language like a conductor shapes music. In this sense Your Voice in My Head reads like a carefully crafted novel. It speaks highly of the author's talent, but it is almost as though she is hiding behind her beautiful words and I battled to connect with her while reading this book. There are moments, especially when she is discussing her psychiatrist, where the person behind the words steps out. But these moments never seemed to last and I would lose that connection. Forrest is bluntly and brutally honest throughout the book, but about situations more than herself. I would have respected her more if that same honesty had been focussed on herself and her feelings.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book really aggravated me. It was presented as a young woman's struggle with mental illness and a tribute to her psychiatrist and it's actually a love letter to Colin Farrell and making sure the world knows she had a relationship with him. It was horribly irresponsible on her part. What about young girls struggling with mental issues who buy this thinking they will find some kind of comfort in it, just to find a couple hundred pages of "I slept with Colin Farrell'?""He loved me, really, he did!!"

I'm so sorry I spent a dime on this and will never read another book of hers again. I also hope she realizes, she is still mentally ill and needs serious help. Amazed that this even got published.
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Format: Hardcover
I was recommended this book by a friend who knows I like memoirs. Because I do enjoy reading memoirs, I've read a great deal of them spanning a range from ridiculous to wonderful. I'd say this particular book falls more toward the former.

In bare bones, what you have is this story: a young girl has (maybe) bipolar disorder, does angsty teen things like cutting and experimenting with anorexia, comes to New York to work as a writer, sees a therapist, stages a dramatic suicide attempt, starts dating an actor, gets dumped by the actor, feels depressed, continues to pursue actor even though he no longer has interest in her, finds out her therapist has died of cancer, feels more depressed, writes a book about the above.

I don't think her story is especially surprising or unusual. I think you could poll young women in New York and find a similar story a thousand times over or more. She's clearly very attached to her bipolar diagnosis, and calls it "my madness!" in a very dramatic and excited way. As the parent of teenagers, I recognize a lot of the teen angst and melodrama of that age, the belief that she was possibly the first person to ever feel this way, that "terminal specialness" she truly believes each of her feelings possesses.

She spends a lot of pages relating conversations she had with her shrink in which she portrays herself as saying tough, cool, acerbically witty things to him and then relates that her therapist is actually really impressed with her. Between the lines, I got the feeling her therapist was employing a kind of dialectical behavioral therapy in which he pretty much validates whatever she says and gives her approval while slipping the therapy around the edges.
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