"Perhaps because my family are how they are, it took a little while to realize -- settled in Manhattan at twenty-two, on contract to the Guardian and about to have my first novel published -- that my quirks had gone beyond eccentricity, past the warm waters of weird to those cold, deep patches of sea where people lose their lives." Pg. 8
Every one is special, weird, great, bad, sad, and wonderful in their own ways. Some people have more problems than others. Your Voice in my head by Emma Forrest details Forrest's realization of her problems. Her problems went beyond the norm. All the way to cutting herself, bulimia, and a suicide attempt.
Living in New York working as a writer, an ocean away from her London-based family, Forrest was drowning in a sea of depression. Did moving away from her family increase those thoughts? When there was a problem at home, the family meeting place was the bathroom. Even in the family bathroom, Forrest was still hiding her feelings. In New York she has an eccentric cast of neighbors -- even one who is obsessed with the movie The Goonies. But they are not enough.
Weeks before attempting suicide, Forrest meets her psychiatrist Dr. R. Over the course of eight years, Dr. R. is a calming influence. Someone who can push those thoughts of suicide and depression away. At times he's even a moral compass. Who she should date and shouldn't? Dr. R is very special to Forrest, more than she realizes. He supports her career, coming to her book signings. Towards the end of this patient-doctor relationship, Forrest is living in Los Angeles and dating an actor she calls her Gypsy Husband (GH).
While reading this book, I was tempted to do a Google search on Emma Forrest and find out who this actor is. Why? Her descriptions of him aren't very flattering. I did do the search when I finished the book. I didn't do it before because I thought it would cloud my judgment. Would that turn me off Forrest's writing if it was an actor I liked? It was an actor I liked, but I see him a little differently now. You want to know who it is, simply do a Google search. Trust me there is enough out there on the internet.
Their romance seemed like a whirlwind. They are so much in love with each other. They talk of having a child together and naming her "Pearl." But years earlier Forrest had an abortion and thought that was the best thing she could have done. It was an act of parental love to not bring a child into this world. For her to write that is very brave. It might offend pro-lifers, but she wasn't ready then. I didn't understand how she could be ready with GH. GH talks of the life they could have with a child, how great it will be. But to me it seemed like they were in love with being in love.
During this relationship, Dr. R passes away at 53 from lung cancer. To Forrest his death is like a betrayal. Why didn't she realize he was sick? Why didn't he tell her he was sick? Was she so consumed with GH, that she ignored Dr. R's declining health? When the relationship with GH ends, who can she count on to pick up the pieces? Who will be the calming influence in her life? Dr. R. isn't around physically anymore, but his voice is in her head forever. Coming to that realization is a very sweet moment.
Forrest's writing style is funny, honest, and raw. She takes a hard look at herself. The picture she paints isn't pretty, but it will help others take the same look.
Rating: O.M.G. !!!
Notes: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Other Press) in exchange for an honest review. For more on author Emma Forrest, visit http://www.emmaforrest.com/