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Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  3,547 ratings  ·  270 reviews

"An utterly unique journey down some of the mind's more mysterious byways . . . ranges from the shocking to the simply lovely." —Marya Hornbacher

Stacy Pershall grew up depressed and too smart for her own good, a deeply strange girl in Prairie Grove, Arkansas (population 1,000), where the prevailing wisdom was that Jesus healed all. From her days as a thirteen-year-old
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published January 31st 2011 by W. W. Norton Company (first published December 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  3,547 ratings  ·  270 reviews

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Sep 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Rarely do I land upon a book that changes me as a mother... but, then came Loud in the House of Myself aka LITHOM.

As a mother of a girl who is already struggling with body image at age eight, who is also intensely emotional and creative, I found that it was initially excruciating to read the details of what this young girl experienced. Stacy as a child was just too familiar. I had to stop reading for a while because it was too painful to idly sit and watch this tormented young girl unravel under
Chris Blocker
Apr 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Ten years ago I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Since then, I have often been in and out of therapy. I've tried various techniques to regulate my moods. What worked best for me, however, were words. Words are important to me, and by reading and learning about BPD, I was able to articulate my feelings.

I've read many books on the subject, probably all of which were written by therapists. Some I stepped back in amazement from, asking how they knew so much about me. Others were c
Mariah Roze
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this book for the goodreads book club Diversity in All Forms! If you would like to participate in our discussions here is the link:

I really enjoyed this book. As a special education teacher that deals with a large majority of students with mental health issues, this book was absolutely fascinating to me. I not only learned more about bulimia and anorexia, but also about borderline personality disorder and bipolar. The author did a great job at shari
My favorite thing about Loud in the House of Myself was the title. When I first saw this book, I knew I would love it. A memoir on mental illness, by a “strange girl,” with such a good title? I was eager to get my hands on it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this book very much and honestly found it a bit annoying. Memoirists don’t have the luxury of manufacturing fascinating life events to make the real story more interesting; instead, the reader is drawn to the author rather than the storyline.
Oct 03, 2011 rated it liked it
When I checked this out at the library, the librarian scanning my books perked up. "Oh, I read this one," she said. (This conversation, by the way, was odd in and of itself; the librarians all recognise me but rarely comment on my reading choices.)

"Was it good?" I asked.

She made a face. "It was...well, she's really kind of crazy," she said.

That was, of course, precisely the reason that I was reading this book in the first place, but I didn't say that. In any case, the librarian was pretty much c
Dustin Ebaugh
Feb 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Intelligent, witty, brilliant, heartbreaking, hilarious, hard-to-fathom and hitting home too. If you grew up in a small town in the 80's and were/are even the least bit weird or quirky...this is one GREAT read! It's another one I read slowly, because it's that good. Pershall is an excellent wordsmith and captivating with her story. She's bold enough to not only "come out" with mental illness but do a great deal to help the reader understand it and remove the stigma associated with it. This book ...more
May 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Very unsatisfying. This book has many flaws and they make it hard to read and relate. I wish she could have reflected on the cause and effect factor, because she only lists what happened as facts and not really describe how she felt about the situation or how it may have changed her. She describes DBT as what saved her, but she never went into detail regarding the emotional process she went through. I think she took advantage of being crazy and used it as a crutcher life. I wanted to like her, b ...more
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
Thank you Stacy for writing such a poetic, wonderful, hearbreakingly truthful memoir about mental illness. It's something that doesn't get talked about enough. ...more
Eve Vulgaris
Oct 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I don't need to write my autobiography. I just read it. Sure, there are some differences from my own story, but it hits so close as to be chilling. I, like the author, found my way via tattoos and DBT. I'm not sure how someone without at least one the diagnoses would see the book as what makes the book good are the moments I found myself reading exactly what I would do, how I would react, seeing myself outside myself. This isn't intentionally vague, it's just one of those books you either "get" ...more
Victoria Zieger
This is a such a well written memoir about living with mental health issues. The author describes her life of dealing with mental illness and anorexia and bulimia and how she struggled to accept herself and the things she went through. She talks about medications and treatments and is so relatable to anyone who has dealt with any type of mental illness because she is so candid and honest. This is a very important book to read.
Amelia Scarponi
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have no words to describe how much I loved and related to this memoir.
“It is embarrassing to admit that I didn’t begin [healing] until the age of thirty-four, when after a breakdown I began to get my life together through medication, therapy, and tattooing. Borderline means you’re one of those girls who walk around wearing long sleeves in the summer because you’ve carved up your forearms over your boyfriend. You make pathetic suicidal gestures and write bad poetry about them, listen to Ani DiFranco albums on endless repeat, end up in the emergency room for
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
There's a particular quote that I like while reading this book. Its on page 90.
"Never forget the place you left, and when you return, tell stories of other lands."
Loud in the House of Myself didn't click with me, didn't ring quite true. There's a focus on shock value here; the book is basically a laundry list of the most awful scenes from her life. Normally I wouldn't fault Pershall for that, considering the genre and the mental health issues involved, but she uses the book like a spotlight on her very worst moments, illuminating them in a way that seems like she's perversely proud of them, and uses only a couple pages at the end to skim over the recovery ...more
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Loud in the House of Myself is an honest, riveting account of one young woman's spiral down into anorexia bulimia, with the later diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.

Stacy Pershall details in an unsentimental, harrowing fashion how absolutely logical it was for her to engage in eating and purging rituals depending on the hour of the day and whether she could fit into a certain pair of forest green pants.

Her salvation came with DBT or dialectical behavior therapy and body modification v
Dec 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Excellent and fully believable for the first half. Pershall embodies all of her neuroses perfectly in her prose, and I say this from someone who, in some ways, has "been there." The problem is that by the time the reader gets 2/3 of the way through the book, he or she is looking for some kind of progress. There needs to be a reason for writing this book, some kind of path to redemption or at least a wiser understand of self and the world. Instead, Pershall keeps up the book's frenetic pace at th ...more
Feb 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Ms. Pershall refers first to her anorexia and bulimia and later to the other manifestations of her mental illness as "the bad dog". There is a bad dog nipping at the heels of someone I love, and this book provided me with invaluable insight and perception.

Thank you, Stacy Pershall.

In this book Ms. Pershall describes in beautiful and heart-wrenching detail her struggles with various mental illnesses and how she learned to live with them. She is not cured - but she found a way to be a (mostly) hap
Mar 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I throughly enjoyed Stacey Pershall's Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl, a darkly humorous and deeply honest account of the author's struggles with eating disorders and mental illness. Pershall recounts how she fought her way out of an oppressive small town environment and found that this in itself didn't fix her, and the downward spiral that happened in the aftermath of this realization. Her self-deprecation and excellent turn of phrase help to make her memoirs relatable to ...more
Lori Anderson
Jun 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, favorites
This is a book that resonated with me on a visceral level.

As a sufferer of depression and a past anorexic, reading Stacy Pershall's story was like reading bits of my own. Her fight and her issues were so much worse than mine, yet she came out of it with humor and dignity -- and at several points in her life, dignity wasn't even showing its face.

I underlined and marked up this book on so many pages. I don't know how well someone will like it if they don't understand bipolar, depression, or suici
Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is an inspiring, wrenching and deeply funny memoir of a "strange girl" (in her own words). Stacy Pershall recounts her struggle with mental illness and eating disorders, and explains how tattooing and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) helped her triumph. A must-read for any girl who's ever felt like she didn't fit in or didn't measure up. ...more
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Pershall has valuable insights on mental illness, but there was enough casual racism (her description of a roommate, appropriative tattoos, people in lock-up being mean to her because she's white) to spoil it for me. ...more
Fantastic and unflinching. Pershall captures what it's like to live with a brain that betrays you at every turn. Here's how I know she's healing: she's found the gray in between black and white thinking. Loved it. ...more
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of my favorites. I've met Stacy a few times and she is the most wonderful, positive, unique person. This memoir is interesting, captivating, and a great look inside one example of mental illness. ...more
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs
This book is such an honest reflection of a creative mind dealing with mental illness. You wonder how she will survive, but you are rooting for her the whole time.
Sherry Tatar
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because my teen daughter tells me this book is the most apt description of how she feels that she has ever read. This is scary and while we have reached out for all kinds of help, I think we haven't landed on quite what we need yet. Even with insurance finding and keeping a therapist and psychiatrist is daunting and the delays to get appointments are abysmal. We have struggled both with dealing with school and with getting the necessary mental health care. The book gives me some ...more
Olivia Stirton
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found this book, despite covering difficult subjects, really easy to read and informative. I was enjoying it, and then I came to realize how much I truly related to Stacy, and I felt a little less alone in my mental health journey while I progressed through the book.

I appreciated Stacy’s openness about her diagnoses and her life story. Her willingness to share everything from her darkest days to her motivation to move forward brought me hope, and I enjoyed her lighthearted writing style that w
Tricia Donley
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Stacy Pershall was open and honest about how mental health impacted her teenage years and her adulthood. I would highly recommend - I especially think it is a powerful read for teachers. It opened my eyes a lot.
Aug 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Sometimes i wanted to give up on this. Too much self absorption! But then … it all came clear. Illuminating.
Kari Barbozi
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It took me some time to read this book because it hit so close to home. Sometimes it was like reading my own thoughts. But I read it at a good time, it gave me hope and energy. It made me feel understood, accompanied, seen. Thanks, Stacy, for putting yourself out there to show us, borderliners, that there's hope and that we are not alone. ...more
Amber Johnson
Jan 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
Stacy grew up in small-town Arkansas, born the first child of a truck driver father and a stay-at-home mother seemingly obsessed with her youngest son. Being more on the artistic side than the athletic, Stacy was deemed an outcast among her peers early on in their school careers, most likely contributing to the onset of a very long battle with anorexia and bulimia. Misdiagnosed and mistreated most of her life, Stacy struggled with bipolar tendencies, as well as borderline personality disorder. T ...more
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Stacy Pershall teaches Memoir I and II at Gotham Writers' Workshop and creative writing to teens online through the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. She is a suicide-prevention speaker for the Active Minds Speakers' Bureau. She lives in New York City. ...more

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