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And the Heart Says Whatever

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3.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,047 ratings  ·  139 reviews
A collection of linked essays about working and being young, then not as young, in New York.
Paperback, 211 pages
Published May 4th 2010 by Free Press
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Oriana
May 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Caitlin Constantine
Jun 27, 2010 rated it did not like it
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 a
...more
Lauren
Aug 01, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didnt-finish
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 likabl ...more
Patrick Brown
Mar 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
christa
Jun 03, 2010 rated it liked it
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 underc
...more
Kerry
Jun 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Aug 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
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Elliot Ratzman
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
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 Ma ...more
Nikki
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 mi ...more
Lindsey
Jul 18, 2010 rated it did not like it
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 ...more
Matthew Gallaway
Jun 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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~

4 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 d
...more
mark
Apr 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: mothers & daughters. Motherless girls.
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 ...more
Rae Ganci Hammers
Dec 27, 2010 rated it did not like it
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 ...more
Kate
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
...more
Malena Watrous
Apr 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
nicole
Apr 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
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 w
...more
Amber
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
What is the female equivalent of a self-congratulating neck-beard wearing a fedora? Because that is what this book is.
Michelle
Aug 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, books-read
"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 a
...more
Stephanie Sun
Oct 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: dead-tree, i-heart-ny
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 ne ...more
Rachel
Jul 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
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 experienc
...more
Nicola
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, kindle
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 thr
...more
Tuck
Nov 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: new-press
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 ...more
Melissa
Apr 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 wo ...more
Andy
May 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
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'r ...more
Lauren
Jun 07, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 total ...more
Peter Knox
Apr 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 15, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Oct 21, 2010 rated it did not like it
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.
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Emily Gould was born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland. She went to Kenyon College for two years, then completed her B.A. at Eugene Lang College (The New School for Liberal Arts) in New York City. She has lived in NYC - first in the East Village, then in Greenpoint, and now in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn -- since May 2001.

Since moving to New York Emily has had a number of jobs, including work at Hyper
...more
“As a child I was a little bit disgusted and embarrassed to learn about the facts of life, and did not immediately connect the idea of “sex” to the feelings I got when I lay on the carpet on my stomach,idly humping a stuffed animal while watching Sesame Street. The realization that sex could be something to anticipate happily rather than to dread as another unpleasant grown-up duty came to me in a dream. Nothing overtly sexual even happened in this dream—it was a dream about lying in bed on a sunny afternoon with sun streaking the sheets, surrounded by warmth, feeling satisfied. It took life a long time for life to catch up with what this idealized version of sex could be like; it’s still not like that every time, but when it is, I notice.” 2 likes
“We would talk about the future while holding it forcibly at bay with our inactivity.” 0 likes
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