Screenwriter and novelist Forrest (Cherries in the Snow, 2005, etc.) delivers an intense story of madness and redemption.
Though the author, a transplanted Brit, was enjoying some success as a writer in New York City, she writes, “my quirks had gone beyond eccentric, past the warm waters of weird to those cold, deep patches of sea where people lose their lives.” She was cutting, bingeing and purging, clinging to disastrous relationships and feeling suicidal. She found help with Dr. R., but still attempted suicide soon after starting to see him. During the next decade, Dr. R. became her friend, mentor and life raft. Forrest says much about Dr. R., but concludes, “I liked how he saw me. It’s that simple.” After eight years of therapy, Dr. R. died without warning; Forrest learned of his death through an e-mail. Angered and confused by being left behind so abruptly, many of her old habits returned. Still, Dr. R.’s voice remained in her head—sometimes speaking though her cat—gently easing her pain, giving her strength. A famous movie star, GH, became her lover and just as quickly left her. Forrest’s narrative follows the now-familiar arc of being lost then found, but the profoundly precise writing sets it apart. The author provides plenty of pop-culture references and name-drops like crazy—Heath Ledger, Brad Pitt, Gloria Steinem—but readers are never sure if these people are actually there. Does she really see Monica Lewinsky each time she is crying in a West Village café? There are mysteries here, but a pervasive honesty as well.
A brilliantly realized memoir of surprise and startling beauty.