Read And the Heart Says Whatever by Emily Gould Online

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A collection of linked essays about working and being young, then not as young, in New York....

Title : And the Heart Says Whatever
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781439123898
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 211 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

And the Heart Says Whatever Reviews

  • Oriana
    2019-01-12 16:44

    my latest CCLaP review!Emily Gould was, for me and like every other girl of my age & demographic, the most fascinating and brilliant Gawker writer in the mid-2000s. Those were the years, my early twenties, during which I was unhealthily obsessed with that site, the same years that I spent as a corporate publishing drone, in the tightest grips of trying to figure out who the fuck I was and what the fuck I was doing with my post-collegiate, "grownup" life. So with such a fickle fanbase, Emily had some very intense expectations riding on this book--both good and bad. There were just as many people slavering to foist the "voice of a generation" mantle upon her as there were who sadistically, schadenfreudianly wanted to see her bitterly fail. Here, for example, is part of a fairly scathing review of this book from hipster culture blog Flavorpill: More than anything, And the Heart Says Whatever feels like the kind of book you write when you're not sure what to do next in life and then someone solves your problem by offering you a book deal. There is nothing urgent or passionate or necessary about it, and that's especially disappointing coming from a writer we're convinced has something to say. The book seems to have no motivation, no emotional core, and that's part of the reason we don't want to see Gould crowned the voice of our generation (at least, not in connection with And the Heart Says Whatever). Next time, here's hoping Emily Gould waits to start writing until she has something to say.Yikes. Poor Emily. And look, I do understand the criticism. These essays are awfully self-absorbed, she has trouble with endings and transitions, and often it all feels a bit unfocused, like she was just one more revision away from really nailing it. And although there's plenty of passion here, there really isn't anything particularly "urgent" about this book.But you know what? I'm not sure that's so wrong. Why does a book of essays have to be urgent? What was Flavorpill or anyone else expecting from an introspective memoirish collection of musings by someone who is (at least semi-) famous for eviscerating NY lit celebrities and practically exuding and defining of-the-moment cool? If these essays had come from a more "highbrow" author like Sloane Crosley, or someone who'd worked at a less-famous blog than Gawker, or someone unfamous altogether, I don't think people's reactions would have been nearly so strong, or so negative.Because these essays are good. Some of them are great. Emily has, unsurprisingly, a terrific voice, an easy, comfortable style, a natural ability to quickly and efficiently and sometimes surprisingly construct a place and time and setting. Sure, she's arch and slightly cruel at times, but she is just as often honest and impressively raw. Her language is generally lovely and wise. Reading this made me feel writerly, which was a complete surprise; that usually happens when I'm reading someone like Margaret Atwood or Alessandro Barrico. But Emily, too, made me think storyishly, rephrasing and rewriting my thoughts into soft pretty things, as she clearly did while polishing this collection, readying herself to be split wide open and bare but in a somewhat rarefied manner.Look, to compare again to Sloane (whom I like a lot; please don't misunderstand), I'm sure that the main reason I like these essays so much is that Emily is, on the surface at least, an awful lot like me. I don't mean that in a self-aggrandizing way, but that we're roughly the same age, we both grew up in about the same suburban hell, ran away to college and had a shitty experience there, ran away to New York at roughly the same time and did roughly the same things, paying our dues working in restaurants and bars, working our way up from the bottom of the publishing hierarchy, smoking and drinking and fucking around, always nursing and nurturing the burning desire to write and the unshakable conviction that we were a perfect unique snowflake, silently sparkling and secretly brilliant, just waiting for the world to come along and discover us and be amazed.So of course I like reading about her time as a drama freak in high school. Of course I relate to the bad pot and sloppy sex and palpable desperation of college. Of course I'm instantly familiar with her time spent as a shot waitress, her sweet plangent details of early-aughts East Village, her kooky and clever friends who are so much like my own, her struggle and panic and aspiration as a publishing assistant that was so like my own struggle, her endless stoned nights going from Brooklyn bar to Manhattan party to Brooklyn loft to someone's gross dirty bed, watching the sunrise in pre-hangover agony. I love that stuff. I've lived that stuff. And Emily renders it beautifully, comfortably, familiarly, sweet and sharp and miserable too, just like it is and was.So is Emily Gould the voice of my generation? Who fucking cares. Her next book will probably be better, but for me, this one was well worth the read.Out of 10: 7.5 [9 for youngish, hipsterish, writerly ladies]***And PS? I apparently like Emily Gould so much that that just from watching her in the same blog video with my sworn nemesis Tao Lin, I actually hate that guy about 2% less.

  • Caitlin Constantine
    2019-01-07 14:28

    For some reason I've long felt a kinship with Emily Gould. Maybe it's because I love that she has big tattoos on her arms and yet still manages to look a bit like she belongs in a church choir. Maybe it's because I enjoyed reading her stuff on Gawker. Maybe it's because I read some of the comments made about her essay for the New York Times Magazine, and I felt protective of her as a result. Who knows why?This nebulous sense of camaraderie led me to buy a copy of her book, making it the latest addition to my shelf of memoirs written by young women who live in New York City. (Seriously, I can't believe how many of these books are published each year. Surely there are people living in cities other than New York whose foibles would make for good books?) And as I read it, I became distinctly aware of something. See, I am not the pickiest person in the world when it comes to books. I have three criteria by which I gauge a book's success: did it make me think, did it make me feel, did it entertain me? If a book manages to do one of these things, I will like it. If it does two, I will adore it, and if it does all three, I will canonize the person who wrote it.Gould's book managed to do none of these things. By page 120, I was bored, regularly flipping to the end of the book to see how many pages I had left to slog through. I would have thought a book about the life of a young writer in the big city, especially one that relies so heavily on TMI, would have been perfect for me, but instead I spent much of the time I was reading it trying to figure out why exactly I was reading it. There was not enough narrative cohesiveness to sustain my interest, not even when I tried to view the book as a collection of essays. Instead it was just vignette after vignette about cheating on boyfriends and not caring about much of anything and working as a waitress and blah blah blah snore. I will give the book this, which is that it finally succeeded in making me feel something: anger at myself for bothering to finish it. I am not sure that's what Gould had in mind. But honestly, "And The Heart Says Whatever"? More like "And The Reader Says Whatever."Recommended for nobody, except maybe masochists. And I feel bad about that, because I don't like to pile on, but it's the truth.

  • Lauren
    2018-12-25 14:24

    Emily Gould is a hipster. Let me get that out of the way. The word never comes up, but it's clear from the first couple of pages. But there's a worse sin in this book, one that always, without fail, will cause me to put down a memoir. One of the blurbs on the back describes it as "heightened self-awareness", but I prefer to call it extreme narcissism. Even when she's being self-deprecating, it feels forced, like she doesn't believe it. It is possible talk about yourself and your life in a likable way that doesn't come across as completely self-absorbed (and I've read many memoirs that do this successfully), but Gould completely missed that mark. I should have known just from the cover - the author photo takes up half of the back cover, and that flower drawing? That's her own tattoo. I would have loved to read the book described in the summary, the one about coming of age in twenty-first century New York City, but instead I made it through the first third of a narcissistic love letter to the author, hipsterdom, and being cool and making sure people know it. I wish she had taken herself a little less seriously and not fallen victim to all the memoir missteps and hipster literary cliches. Maybe I would have stuck with it.

  • Patrick Brown
    2018-12-27 17:35

    Lately I've been very into narratives about our 20s. For whatever reason, possibly nostalgia, I'm very interested in the stories of people in that part of life, that time in-between, that extended adolescence we all seem to need to figure things out. From where I sit in my lavish mid-30s, those years seem improbable at best. No way did I live, for years, in that horrid apartment with iridescent mold growing across the bathroom ceiling. No way did I sabotage myself in those many innumerable ways. No way. Didn't happen. I'm here now, so it stands to reason I was never there.Gould's And the Heart Says Whatever is one of the best of this genre of 20s memoirs. One of the best parts of the book talks about the writing workshops at the New School, where Gould's memoir teacher told her class to find the ways in which each of them were victims. In a way, I think the rest of the book is a reaction to this instruction, as Gould portrays herself more as a perpetrator than anything else. Certainly there's heartbreak here, but the author never lets herself off the hook. It's a raw book, in the end.My favorite pieces were "Flowers," "Going Dutch," and "Claudine," though I also loved the piece about waiting tables in the shitty blues bar. As a man, there were innumerable ways in which I felt let just a bit behind the curtain of womanhood, allowed to peek at the maybe great but probably dreadful ways in which young woman must navigate the world. If you go into this looking for a tell-all about the glory days of Gawker, you'll be disappointed (though the Misshapes do make an appearance…I can't explain exactly how obsessed I was with the Misshapes and Blue States Lose, the Gawker series ridiculing them, let's just say it was a weekly highlight for me for a while there). But if you think of it as a collection of personal essays, some better than others, you won't be let down. What I want from a memoir or a personal essay is some truth and something new, something fresh. Both were present throughout this book.

  • christa
    2018-12-24 20:23

    At some point we all sat around and wondered what the hell personal blogging would mean, ultimately, for the good old-fashioned world of the printed word. The kind that comes on paper, bound, with a flattering author portrait and blurbs from friends. As an anecdote to that, I present Emily Gould's book of personal essays "And the Heart Says Whatever." The former go-go Gawker girl's collection includes vignettes of being a sexually aware high school student wrist-deep in the trousers of an underclassman, to feeling like a freak-show at her college in the Midwest, to navigating the streets of the Lower East Side en route to gigs as a publishing assistant/hostess/shot girl. It is all tinged with the sort of romantic mooniness that comes with having an ex-boyfriend and/or making a self-destructive decision or two. Gould, one of many young women living a certain intriguing lifestyle in the early aughts in NYC -- in Gould's case hipster! -- was among the first to earn the title of "oversharer," which is to mean that she occasionally mentioned her sex life in a public forum. Like most people who commit a word to the internet, then get addicted and commit more and more, there comes an illusion that you don't have to have something to say. That if you write it, the audience will come because they, for instance, like your tattoos. With this comes the power to post "grilled cheese sandwich" accounts. This is what I had for lunch. And you should be fascinated by it because you are fascinated by me, dear audience. And thus, Gould has written a book filled with the grilled cheese moments of her life -- although instead of "what I had for lunch" it is "what I thought as I revisited my family's beach house after my boyfriend and I broke up." These 11 essays are fine. They don't take you by the hair and yank. And in fact, looking back at the title's it's hard to define where one memory ends and another begins, what any one of them was about. Break ups, hook ups, jobs ... very little about her experiences with Gawker -- and admittedly, she wrote for the site when it still had headlines that rivaled The Onion. Nothing about her literati boyfriend Keith Gessen who wrote the great snoozefest of 2008. Plenty of metaphorical mirror gazing and second guessing. Emily Gould is not the greatest writer in the world. But she's spare and competent, and frequently houses a nice idea in a paragraph. And, frankly, she made enough words to turn them into a book, so she has that over millions of bloggers holding onto some sort of Stephanie Klein and the magic book deal syndrome. Gould is pleasant and likable. Her stories are are relate able, but are in dire need of a bit of literary risk. This reminded me a bit of Sloane Crosley's recyclable book of essays "I Was Told There Would Be Cake," which is awfully boring, but garnered better reviews because of some sort of injustice in the universe.

  • Kerry
    2018-12-28 20:38

    I have never really hated a book before, but I come scarily close to hating this self-idulgent empty account of nothing. I wouldn't waste your time or money on this one. I think Emily Gould has fooled herself into thinking that she's somehow interesting or different. I didn't know who she was before reading this and I still don't really know who she is now, I don't care to.

  • Julia
    2019-01-17 14:21

    Emily Gould's And The Heart Says Whatever left me depressed, and not because I think she evoked her own depression well. Let me start by saying that a lot of the criticisms leveled at Gould and at this book are not necessarily dealbreakers for me. Many writers accused of narcissism have written incredibly introspective portraits of everyday lives. I don't think you have to have lived into late adulthood to write a memoir (that would eliminate Sylvia Plath, John Keats, a couple of Brontes, and a lot of rock stars), nor do I think you need to be particularly special-- but you do have to have a certain degree of self awareness, and for some reason, Gould's "honesty" reads more like insecurity at every turn of the page.I've read that Gould is resistant to books like Eat, Pray, Love in which the protagonist experiences major growth (and in that case, enlightenment). But there's a difference between cloying growth, which I also hate, and genuine, evocative experience and emotion. Gould seems to resist growth to a degree that she resists story: since she never changes, for better or worse or even just the basic change of how she experienced things at the time and how she thinks of them now, the narrative really has no pattern, no thrust, no questions to be answered or left unanswered. Ambivalence and failure are fine with me but disorganization is not. Gould seems like a pretty interesting person (that's where the potential of the book is), an ok writer, but a terrible storyteller. She has no sense of her own story, or no sense of how to communicate it to readers. I do not necessarily look for a lesson at the end of a paragraph, an essay, a book, or a life, but the storytelling feels like ambivalence unmoored. Not only that, but she entirely cuts out the part of her life that is most interesting to the reader. Gould was an editor for Gawker, was consumed by it, quit, and then wrote an article about the experience for New York Times Magazine. That's fascinating. Sadly, it is relegated to the first chapter of the book-- her most morally challenging, weird experience was a promise that the rest of the book did not fulfill. I could have read an entire 300-page evocative description of her time at Gawker, but alas, Gould has no idea that this is the experience most worth examining (or maybe she's sick of it).When Gould does briefly go ice-fishing in her experiences, she immediately doubles back on herself. In the last chapter she describes suddenly finding tears in her eyes at her friends' wedding (weddings and funerals are tossed into the end of the book, presumably because they are more emotional, but the emotions really aren't hers) and then immediately equates her tears to the kind she gets when getting her eyebrows waxed. Emily: please don't undercut yourself like this. I really, really believe that you can write about these things straight on.And the Heart Says Whatever, combined with the blogs and NYT Magazine Article, is unintentionally fascinating in one regard: I have come to believe that the internet destroyed this smart, funny woman. For someone whose book is blurbed as "about being young and literary" she mentions only two books, and only at the end-- Carrie (which is only a random detail) and Harry Potter, which she describes because the book describes depression better than she can. Meanwhile she mentions smoking pot and watching specific TV shows in almost every single essay. That would be fine if she seemed to be intellectually engaged by them, but it seems that Gould is living in constant, agonizing boredom, and that she'd be a lot happier if she used her considerable brainpower on other things. Then she is sucked into blogging and life apparently goes into a hell I'm not convinced she has shaken. It seems like Emily Gould has written about herself so much, and so often, that she has no idea what her story is any more. It's too bad, because a book deal was a great opportunity to straighten that out, both for herself and the public.You can write about being depressed, ambivalent, lonely, and ordinary, and it can be amazing. But if the reader senses that you still are all of these things, you evoke pity and not that feeling of "wow, this writer completely understands these experiences."I wish that Gould had slowed down and written a better book about these same feelings and experiences. She could have done it. And that's why I'm disappointed.

  • Elliot Ratzman
    2019-01-13 19:50

    Emily Gould is no Churchill, but memoir can also be about small events of the unaccomplished well-told (David Sedaris), the journey of the Self through hardships and transformation, or a personal perspective refracting larger times, places or themes. Strangely, this book isn’t any of these things—about as eventful as a sophomore’s diary as she slacks through sex, pot, puppies, apartments and waitressing in NYC in the 2000s. Gould was a snarky editor at Gawker and landed a piece in the NYTimes Magazine—yawn. Here, she makes no morally admirable decisions, coming off as a “narcissistic, immature” petulant, privileged lower-upper-class “writer” living in Brooklyn. This book is an apt companion piece, I think, to American Psycho. True, reading its flat prose (“Kenyon was a strange place to be a girl—it just was.”) was readable enough and it offers a memorable phrase or observation here and there (Oberlin is “Williamsburg, Brooklyn training camp”). With this, has she made her parents proud?

  • Lindsey
    2019-01-11 13:46

    I realized I didn't like this book while reading the first essay but kept reading anyway. I don't give up on books. This book, however, almost got the best of me a few times. So much narcissism, but not the endearing kind. So many run-on sentences, sentences I had to read multiple times just to figure out what the author was trying to convey, very poor editing. Ok, you're young, moved to NY to "make it", you have sex and ex-boyfriends. The entire basis of the book is typical and uninteresting. I hate that I'm giving someone's hard work a bad review, I just really don't understand how And the Heart Says Whatever... even got published. I could read a teenage girls' blog for the same literary quality.

  • Matthew Gallaway
    2019-01-24 16:21

    This is a very thoughtful and interesting (and sometimes LOL) account of Emily Gould's life before and after moving to New York. There is a wry humor and melancholy wisdom and even resignation to her writing that I find very appealing.

  • Steffi ~mereadingbooks~
    2019-01-22 17:47

    4 ½ stars, actually.I needed some time to find words to describe this reading experience. Emily Gould does not reinvent the wheel here; neither are her anecdotes unique or especially weird/funny/terrible/anything. Why all the stars, then? Well, I guess that’s because I could relate to her so much. This collection simply got to me since I am in a very similar situation right now as Gould was when she came to NY. Having finished my Master’s Degree I am looking for my first “real” job and having a degree in the humanities section makes this, well, let’s say, a bit of a pain in the ass. Reading this, I sometimes felt directly talked to (or talked about).For instance: “I’d thought that I was smart, that it was my smartness that made me exceptional. Now I had to adjust my thinking in one of two ways. 1. I wasn’t smart, but something else made me exceptional. 2. I was neither smart nor exceptional.” (p.20)and:"In college I’d had a half-acknowledged fantasy that a teacher would recognize some talent in me and decide to make me her protégé, but it had never happened, probably because I was such a prickly and pretentious little jerk, with no innate gift for ass-kissing." (p.91)and this one:“I searched the job descriptions, looking for a position that seemed to have what I was looking for, but I couldn’t find one. It would have helped, I guess, if I’d any idea what I was looking for.” (p.93)Those quotes could have been taken from my personal diary (if I had one). And I felt understood and also a bit creeped out. And then it got really creepy. There is this one description of how she says good-bye to her boyfriend every morning when she goes to work. “I breathed in his warm, sleepy smell and touched the bristles of his close-shaved head, admiring the defenseless, private look of him without his glasses.” (p.206)Sounds exactly like my boyfriend when I say good-bye to him in the morning before going to “work” (God, I hate my job!).There is also one anecdote that deals with a long-time friend she keeps in contact with only sporadically, but every time they meet it feels so great and they feel so close and she sees how much she has missed her and so on. And on other occasions there is this unbridgeable gap between them and she cannot remember why they were friends once and they don’t really have anything in common any more. I guess everyone has someone like that in their life but when I read this I clearly saw the face of my oldest girlfriend in front of me and remembered various occasions that were examples of those scenarios described by Gould. There are many more (sometimes very personal and detailed) examples which completely got to me because of their similarity to my experiences and my life. The only aspect of this collection I have to criticize is that sometimes Gould seems to lack the ability to focus. Her essays don’t always follow a common thread and she keeps jumping between topics. But really, this is the only negative thing I can say about this. I know that people tend to think that she is a bit too full of herself but, honestly, what do you expect when you pick up an autobiographical essay collection?The relationships and friendships and job-related situations she describes where just so relatable to me it sometimes hurt. This book made me smile and it made me shed a tear or two. It simply got (to) me. And I realize that this is a very personal impression and not everyone will love this collection as much as I did but I am also guessing that there are more people out there who feel like Emily Gould – and like me, for that matter.

  • mark
    2019-01-09 18:36

    Aahhhhh. What heart? This could’ve been what some had hoped it would be – the female voice of a generation, with a little guidance. What it is is sad, and maybe that IS an accurate representation of Emily Gould’s generation. The book would have had more power had it been written back to front. The last line: “ …love and sadness, twined together so tightly they are in-distinguishable.” (p.208) —is the theme that runs through the book and, in fact, defines confusion - as love & sadness are on the emotional continuum, but at opposite ends. Gould is an excellent observer and a good writer; but what she lacks is heart and mind. This account of her life (She was twenty-eight at the time of writing.); pieced together via short, anecdotal episodes in the form of essays, is devoid of any insight or introspection. The book is an account of what happened to her, but no reflection on why. I think Gould’s observation that there is a correlation between her exploitation and how much money she makes is sound and probably transferable to other women; and also to concepts such as security and protection. In other words, she learns early that her worth is dependent on the desires’ of men, and not independent of, or interdependent with them. She decides early on that she has an asset, her physical beauty, and she can trade that for what she thinks is love and happiness. And so of course she winds up with neither. She smokes pot everyday and can’t stand to be w/o a man (sex), suffers panic attacks and nausea, and bouts of loneliness and depression that even a puppy can’t assuage. And thinks (?) it’s wise not to tell her therapist this—about the dope smoking. She got that advice from a ‘friend.’How did she come to this state of being? Well, she learned about life and love by watching TV, reading women’s magazines, and listening to music, specifically Liz Phair singing “about wanting someone’s dick “‘jamming slamming ramming in me.”’ And so she celebrates turning sixteen by Xing with her boyfriend and she’s off on her wild ride. Having conflated love and sex so early, you could say she tattooed the two together in her brain, and being given the gift of beauty, she never has any trouble finding a boy/man to ‘love’ her. At one point she laments, “I wish she [her mother] would just say that she thinks I’m being an idiot and fucking up my life.” (p.120) Really? Do you think she would have taken that to heart. And so of course again, in all her wisdom, she believes it’s a good idea to augment her natural beauty with tattoos on both arms—of beautiful roses. Even more everlasting imprints that could be said to be shouting out—“Hey look at me: I’m beautiful AND stupid! Please fuck me.” And I love this metaphor she uses (unknowingly) “Why did no one tell me this? Why didn’t I figure it out on my own? [It being riding a bike around the city] “… the constant realizations that you could have been doing things better all along, if only you’d known how to read the road map more accurately.” (p. 192)It is sad. She cannot even now connect the dots that are the signposts of her life. I like this bit of wisdom, “… it’s a good idea to always be in love, or at least looking for love, or pretending to be looking or pretending to be in love.” (p. 111) Again, she’s referring to life in the city (New York); but that is transferable to any girl any where. And it is misguided. She opens this tale with this sage reflection, “I would be lying if I said I was a different person now. I am the same person. I would do it all over again.” (p.13) Wow, what clarity!

  • Rae Ganci Hammers
    2019-01-04 18:32

    What a colossal disappointment. I read about this book...somewhere, I can't remember where...and thought it's description promised a fulfilling look a life I daydream about - a young, literary-inclined woman in her 20s trying to make it in the big city. Blogging and boozing and break-ups and breakdowns. Scummy jobs, better jobs, dabbling with various members of the opposite sex, eye-rolling at parents who don't get it. And yes, all of those things were in Ms. Gould's book. But she didn't tell us anything new about them. I had high-hopes - as I do with most books that I read - that the author would share something insightful, or a unique perspective. But there was none of this here. It felt like it was written by a high school student imagining what life in New York would be like, not someone who lives there. I found these essays meandering, boring, kind of superficial, void of any genuine self-reflection, and without any glimmer of surprise or discovery.Gould's essays were unconvincingly self-deprecating and at the heart of this book was clearly an narcissistic attempt at catharsis for a break-up she still isn't over. After essay number three I wondered how many more were going to be about her break-up with Joseph. And lo-and-behold, I think 10 of the 11 dealt with that "theme" directly. I studied modern and contemporary art in college and I used to think it really stupid and unfair when people said, "Oh, that isn't art. I could do that." One of a number of my standard replies was, "But you didn't. The artist did." I will defend this viewpoint forever - that it's difficult to judge something that you don't do yourself. However, this book really tested me thinking on this. I expected so much more from a professional writer and kept thinking to myself...even I could do better than this. So maybe Ms. Gould's book is the best book I've ever read in that sense. It may just inspire me to write my own.

  • Kate
    2019-01-14 16:50

    I am so ambivalent about this book that I am not entirely sure what to say about it. I hadn't heard of Gould before I bought it, and I bought it because I like young people essays, and the title and cover were kind of cool. I ended up reading this in one sitting, not because it was riveting, but because I felt like if I could just finish it, then I could move on. Gould would mention people that, despite just having read about them a chapter earlier, were so bland that I had to go back to figure out who they were. And a lot of the book was about the sex she was having and marijuana she was smoking, which can be incorporated just fine, felt more like a "look at this crazy stuff I was doing" The timeline in the book was scattered, which also didn't help understanding. It wasn't always clear when she was having an experience, unless she mentioned the man she was with at the time. Memories seemed to blend in to each other, which I suppose is natural when a person is thinking about them, but hard to follow when you are reading it. All in all, this book wasn't terrible, but it didn't really have anything that would cause me to recommend it either. There are many better essay collections out there if that is what you enjoy.

  • Malena Watrous
    2019-01-11 14:21

    I really enjoyed this book, and thought that it deserved the comparison to The Bell Jar that Curtis Sittenfeld made in her blurb. Part of the pleasure that I took in these insightful, simultaneously melancholy and darkly funny essays about working in publishing in New York, was the fact that I briefly worked in publishing in New York, and thought that Gould nailed the uncomfortable condition of amorphous, target-less ambition that so many young people (especially young women) in the field seemed to exhibit. She captured wryly the recent graduate's experience of having been told that you were special, bound to do something great, and the feeling of reality falling very short of that mark. She is relentlessly observant--self-critical and critical of others--in a way that I find exhilarating. I thought that the endings of each piece were especially good, like the endings of great short-stories, veering in some unexpected direction that suddenly gave new meaning or shape to what had come before. A great book about the young twenty-something experience--that will not make you pine for your early twenties, if you've left them behind.

  • Nikki
    2019-01-09 20:48

    Memoir-ish essays of this nature are extremely difficult to pull off. Just because an essay is short doesn't mean you're free to babble at will. In fact, the opposite is true. You can babble in a novel, but an essay has to be perfect. It's a lot like stand-up comedy, where comedians often perform in five-minute sets. A good comedian doesn't waste a second of those five minutes, every moment is deliberate and nuanced. On the other hand, a bad comedian makes you realize how easy it is to become mind-numbingly bored in the span of 10 seconds. Emily Gould is like that. I would start each essay with eagerness and after a couple pages, I'd think, "Why the fuck am I reading this? Where is this even going?" At the same time, I enjoyed parts of the book ("Koi Pond" was my favorite, I think) because I felt like I was reading random semi-amusing emails from a friend I used to work with. There are some wonderful observations in there (about NYC and the psyche of youth) and a few quotable quotes, but you have to wade through the muck of her endless banality to find them.

  • nicole
    2019-01-10 14:43

    I have a weird aversion to/insistence to continue following Emily Gould as a writer. I think a lot of it stems from being slightly jealous of her. She lives a certain sort of lifestyle and writes for high-profile publications. In another life, I wish I could have had that. Or be a person who would be comfortable with doing what you need to do to have that. But when I read what she has to say about that, I can't find much to enjoy. I can't understand where she's coming from at all, not when she writes about getting a job when the back of a newspaper, cheating on her long-term partner, not being mature enough to be okay with who she is or own a dog. Reading these actually made me uncomfortable and exhausted from being inside her head from so long. I should have known better, from reading Sloane Crosley's essay collections, but I guess that's just something I'll have to relearn again and again.

  • Amber
    2019-01-09 12:26

    Eh. I don't mind personal essays, I love when writers do some introspection, but Emily Gould has nothing to write about. I mean, she published a book, so she has something, but nothing of substance. Sloshing through her book was like reading a teenager's journal. Nothing but musings about a lost love and a desire to be something else than what she was. The happiest I was with this book was when I finished it.

  • Nicole
    2019-01-23 20:36

    What is the female equivalent of a self-congratulating neck-beard wearing a fedora? Because that is what this book is.

  • Michelle
    2019-01-15 12:31

    "And The Heart Says Whatever" (2010) is by journalist, author/editor Emily Gould. This is a memoir collection of eleven engaging essays mainly about young adulthood, and forging ahead in life/love beginning in the service industry, working in writing/publishing, and landing a top notch job as an editor at Gawker.com which at the time covered the Manhattan gossip/social scene."Like many people, I had come to NYC with the idea I was somehow extraordinary": Gould explained, after transferring her academic progression from Kenyon College Gambier, Ohio; to Eugene Lang College, NYC where she earned her BA degree. In "Memoir class" the instructor asked the students to write about victimhood, which didn't really pertain to Gould. The students critiqued each other's stories/dramatic writing, Gould often wondered what was fact or fiction, about half the students in the class were LGBT.Each one of her essays were very interesting, especially about her waitressing at the "World of Blues"; Gould's description of the service work, co-workers, and elderly bluesman Sumpter Pickins, an "embalmed looking" heroin addict (common among some aged area musicians), were exceptional.Gould treated readers to an insider view of a small indie publishing company, learning a great deal from Jim, her supervisor/managing editor. Celebrity Memoir bestsellers carried the better written lesser known titles in profitability sales. Authors were all vain according to Jim, and only wanted to hear how much their books were loved. Gould would also read/review stacks of books, many earning 3 star ratings. It was during this time Gould sought therapy/counseling for a reoccurring wave of anxiety/panic attacks.Gould's gifted writing style is wrapped in a lyrical poetic prose, originating from her keen sense of (self) awareness and observation; where she intimately records the emotional experience/terrain of herself and others. Its real. Its genuine. It invites controversy. This has become her provocative confessional trademark. Occasionally a few readers are quick towards unfavorable comments, judgment, and downright scorn. Many examples are related to Gould's adolescent romance with a 14 year old boy (she was 17), the return of "Hopey" to the breeder after Gould failed to bond with the puppy, the significant change in her relationship with her partner Joseph. Finally, her need for additional therapy/counseling to deal with the fallout after leaving Gawker. A friend cautioned her not to mention her daily use of smoking pot, as the therapist would focus on it as being a problem/issue."And the Heart Says Whatever.." seems like a sigh, or saying written into an inspirational quote. It was enjoyable re-reading this good memoir, I'll be following Emily Books, where Gould is the Co-Editor with Ruth Curry, she lives in Brooklyn, NY. I am also looking forward to reading and review of Gould's debut novel "Friendship" in the near future.

  • Stephanie Sun
    2019-01-18 18:23

    If the reason for the vast difference in critical reception of Lena Dunham’s proto-neo-feminist New York internet-age confessional twenty-something bourgeois bohemian single-white-female storytelling and critical reception of Emily Gould’s proto-neo-feminist New York internet-age confessional twenty-something bourgeois bohemian single-white-female storytelling is Judd Apatow, then Gould is definitely entitled to her bitterness about the failure of her essay collection. Women writers shouldn’t need the seal of approval of men like Apatow to get their work taken seriously.On the other hand, And the Heart Says Whatever is a very short work, and perhaps that is partly what its critics were reacting to. Less can be more, though, and most of this book is very well written, engaging, and thought-provoking. I’m always amazed at the level of self-awareness Gould is able to display about events in near real-time and her ability to find the oddness and significance in seemingly ordinary, insignificant moments. In a 2008 New York Times magazine cover story, Gould recounted her fairly iconic experience as a Gawker editor in 2006-2007 and unpacked internet privacy issues and the psychology of oversharing with a rare analytical rigor and without the breathless technoromanticism and breathless technoparanoia that continue to dog most technology and culture punditry.Youth is wasted on the young, and Gould is no role model—and what writer wants that job?—but the list of people who could have benefited from reading her 2008 essay and taking its lessons to heart has only grown longer over the past four years: Anthony Weiner, Ashton Kutcher, Jack Welch and more have all suffered real-life repercussions of (wholly avoidable) online carelessness.Gould's subject matter in And the Heart Says Whatever is, as the book's title implies, carelessness of a more timeless nature. And thus the list of people who could benefit from learning its lessons (Gould included, most likely) is likely even longer. I know that reading it has made me a smarter citizen of the world, both online and off.

  • Rachel
    2018-12-26 12:26

    I alternately hated and liked (not loved, but liked) this book. It's a little too easy to skewer the queen of gossip, to hate on the narcissistic trendy hipster she represents. The truth is, she's learned some interesting truths and she writes about them well, but on the whole, I find it a bit of a yawn.There's little to pity in Gould's early suburban life or in her college years at Kenyon. Her certainty that she is "somehow extraordinary" isn't special, anymore than her awkward sexual experiences at a frat house are. Most of the sections about her life prior to Gawker read like her writing classmates' essays she mocks in the book itself. The failed relationships, the degrading waitressing jobs, the daily pot-smoking - it's been done before, and better.However, there are a few gems. The passage about her first "real job" at a publishing house, with the attendant dawning realization that there is no summer vacation and your job really consists of doing all sorts of things that are never actually asked of you but still need to get done, caught my attention and held it in a way that the rest of the book simply couldn't accomplish. The story of her relationship with Joseph is woven throughout anecdotes from many different periods in her life, and is heartbreaking in its honesty. The fear of being an adult realizing that your grandparents (and therefore your parents, and therefore you) are only mortal and will die someday comes through in sobering thoughtfulness.While I've never been a Gawker fan, I've heard Gould speak before, on the topic of publishing and media and who has the right to what knowledge. What I thought I was going to get out of this book, and what I wish I had, was what the flap copy promises: a study of post-private, post-internet, post-Facebook lives now that a new generation is at the helm of the most popular media in the world. I didn't get that at all, or maybe I didn't like what I got: that we're all, deep-down, a bunch of narcissistic nymphomaniacs, prone to panic attacks blamed on office jobs. I really hope that's not what my generation gets known for.

  • Nicola
    2019-01-13 19:26

    As a writer, I spend a lot of time giving my work to people and having them tell me what they hate about it think of it. Something I've noticed happens time and again is that someone will give a wincing smile and tell me my writing is "easy to read" (in a tone that implies that's a bad thing). I've always been baffled by this (I aspire to be easy to read! Easy-to-read writing is great!), but after reading And the Heart Says Whatever I sorta get it.Whatever is eminently easy to read. It slips through your fingers like water. I read it in a few short sittings (lyings?). It was never a strain. I sometimes read past my bedtime because reading it was so easy. But it's been less than a week since I finished the book and I'm struggling to remember anything about it.Because that's the sting hidden inside "easy to read". In a lot of cases, it means lightweight; forgettable. Whatever is strain-free reading -- but it's not actually about anything.Emily Gould was/is your average hip-young-thing in New York. Her claim to fame was that she worked for Gawker and then wrote an exposé about working for Gawker. I assumed this book would at least partly be about that (and pretty accidentally zeitgeisty, considering the recent downfall of Gawker), but I assumed wrong. It's actually a series of autobiographical essays about growing up and figuring out who to be. These "essays" (honestly, more like locked livejournal posts) do contain some lovely nuggets about being young and dumb in a city that overwhelms you. But, god, there's so little meat on these bones.Probably the best compliment I can give Emily Gould is that I appreciate her writing enough to check out her more recent novel. Because easy-to-read can be a good thing. It just needs to be easy to read with a plot.

  • Tuck
    2019-01-01 15:38

    fast read, memoir of a 30 something in nyc hipster zone. she worked in publishing, for gawker.com, for publishing again. living the life of the mind, in these times, you can imagine, is pretty shallow (nyrb it ain't) but then it is human, so that is nice. Chewing mother's little helper while having panic attacks about having a 9-5 job, being snarky as a living, slinging drinks, smoking smoke, having sex as if it means something, or could mean something. having mommy and daddy help you move to a new apartment. pretty banal stuff, but then also very compulsive reading: funny, smart, "modern". i want to read more from Emily Gould, but maybe just not about her.one insight for me was the attitude of people working in publishing. The heartbreak of "bounty hunter" cookbooks, because you have to versus the delight of "slipping in something good" once in while. kind of like buying all 13 james patterson titles in 2010 cause you "have to", but also getting to get "and the heart says whatever", no matter how few people may read it.

  • Melissa
    2019-01-18 15:33

    When I was in high school in Kentucky I would drive around and listen to Superchunk and Liz Phair and wonder about what life would be like in college and also in New York City where I was pretty sure I would end up, eventually, like when I was 24 and married to a guy with curly brown hair who played cello and talked about Important Ideas, and movies and books in our 37th floor glass condo/Cosby Show Brooklyn brownstone/Soho Loft. I spent a lot of my time in KY looking for stories about how it would be. What would the guys be like? Did anyone care about philosophy? How expensive was New York anyway? This is the book I wished existed then, but it could, in a way, only exist now. I've read it at least ten times.

  • Andy
    2018-12-31 18:43

    I'd probably like to justify my rating more than I'm going to, but basically, I liked it. I wasn't bothered by the blasé attitude (maybe actually appreciated it) and wasn't bored (because the stories interested me). And although Emily does often come off as supremely unlikeable, I empathized. Like it's tied to the blasé attitude, and if you get an honest, minimally-processed-and-polished picture of anybody and the things that they've done and why they did them and what they were thinking, they're going to come off as unlikeable, because people unfiltered are unlikeable. (Or maybe it's just me and I should be even more grateful than I already am that you can't see in my head.) In any case, I liked it.

  • Lauren
    2019-01-08 13:21

    hey Emily Gould,you are retarded.And this book was fairly retarded. And I totally get your generational connection with the hip and apathetic ,but wow you really are lame. If there is any take away from reading this boring piece of narcissistic bs was this :I feel sorry for you Emily .You are either super depressive and incapable of joy or something,or you really think you are that cool and above everything .There was one page that I profoundly connected to in this whole thing and I'm like totally Emily right now and too over it to get up and fetch this book,and quote it for you ...so like ya...whatever...over it.

  • Peter Knox
    2019-01-01 14:24

    I liked it! Sure, I'm a helpless fan of the 20something personal literary memoir, but Gould was incredibly honest and perceptive in an interesting and quick to read way. I read it to better understand how it is to be a woman and still feel the way I feel about something and she showed me an accurate slice of coming of age in the same New York I did and I'm glad to feel like a peer observer. Kudos.

  • Fatima
    2019-01-22 15:46

    Many people will see this as a shallow book about yet another hipster/writer living their twenties in NY. I picked this book knowing what I'm about to read and to be honest I enjoyed it. I spent a whole Sunday reading through her essays. I wanted something light and entertaining and that was it. Sometimes you're just in that kind of a mood.

  • Emily
    2019-01-09 18:46

    And I say "meh" to this memoir. Try as I might, I could not find anything in its pages to merit the glowing praise this book has received. Gould might be a good blogger, but to compare her to Sylvia Plath is just plain wrong.