Friday, January 6, 2012

Your Voice in My Head, by Emma Forrest

When asked for parenting advice, Lori Palatnick, the leader of the group which sponsored the trip I took to Israel this past summer, said this: What children -- and adults -- want, more than love, is to be understood. For someone to "get" them.

My friend, Nancy, wrote a story about how she struggled with anxiety while on a walking tour abroad. At the story's sweet end Nancy finds inner calm by connecting with another traveler. Both Lori's advice and Nancy's story illustrate the allure of memoir: by attending to our innate need to forge relationships with others, we find meaning, and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves.

Read "Your Voice in My Head." Emma Forrest's own voice is funny, sarcastic and staggeringly honest as she writes about her rocky path. Depressed, bulimic, lonely and self-mutilating, she finally finds an understanding, sympathetic and trustworthy psychiatrist. One day, unable to reach him, she discovers he had died. Then, as she struggles to overcome the shock and pain of this loss, her serious boyfriend (Colin Farrell, for all you People Magazine and TMZ lovers), breaks up with her.

Forrest, so unmoored and mired in loss, takes the reader deep to the core, to that place of honest connection. It's a courageous book. A hopeful book. I didn't want Forrest's story to end, but when it did, I felt changed.

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