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S. J. Parris and Stephanie Merritt

Review < Back

Patient 1 by Charlotte Raven review

Monday 15th November 2021


If you can remember the 90s, you weren’t really there,” writes Charlotte Raven in her memoir, Patient 1: Forgetting and Finding Myself. “I remember so little of it that I must have been more there than practically anyone, Liam Gallagher excepted.” For those of us trying to get a foot in the door of media London in the late 90s, Raven and her friends at Modern Review were its undisputed aristocracy. She wrote a provocative column for the Guardian, courting outrage long before clickbait was heard of. She had a high-profile relationship with Julie Burchill (“I chucked her out but then she married my brother, so I’ve never really got rid of her,” she says). She rubbed shoulders with taste-makers at the intersection of politics and pop culture during the heyday of print journalism, but Raven, now in her early 50s, is not reminiscing fondly about that life so much as mining it for clues to her identity, as that threatens to slip from her grasp. “If my memory is unreliable, how can I find my way back to my biography?” she asks.


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