From the New York Times bestselling author and former beauty editor Cat Marnell, a “vivid, maddening, heartbreaking, very funny, chaotic” (The New York Times) memoir of prescription drug addiction and self-sabotage, set in the glamorous world of fashion magazines and downtown nightclubs.
At twenty-six, Cat Marnell was an associate beauty editor at Lucky, one of the top fashion magazines in America—and that’s all most people knew about her. But she hid a secret life. She was a prescription drug addict. She was also a “doctor shopper” who manipulated Upper East Side psychiatrists for pills, pills, and more pills; a lonely bulimic who spent hundreds of dollars a week on binge foods; a promiscuous party girl who danced barefoot on banquets; a weepy and hallucination-prone insomniac who would take anything—anything—to sleep.
This is a tale of self-loathing, self-sabotage, and yes, self-tanner. It begins at a posh New England prep school—and with a prescription for the Attention Deficit Disorder medication Ritalin. It continues to New York, where we follow Marnell’s amphetamine-fueled rise from intern to editor through the beauty departments of NYLON, Teen Vogue, Glamour, and Lucky. We see her fight between ambition and addiction and how, inevitably, her disease threatens everything she worked so hard to achieve. From the Condé Nast building to seedy nightclubs, from doctors’ offices and mental hospitals, Marnell “treads a knife edge between glamorizing her own despair and rendering it with savage honesty.…with the skill of a pulp novelist” (The New York Times Book Review) what it is like to live in the wild, chaotic, often sinister world of a young female addict who can’t say no.
Combining “all the intoxicating intrigue of a thriller and yet all the sobering pathos of a gifted writer’s true-life journey to recover her former health, happiness, ambitions, and identity” (Harper’s Bazaar), How to Murder Your Life is mesmerizing, revelatory, and necessary.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Cat Marnell takes her place on the long, storied list of addicts who’ve written about their descent into the madness of scorched-earth relationships, all-night parties, and blurred-out days. What makes How to Murder Your Life stand out is Marnell’s flat-out rejection of self-pity and cutting observations regarding her skewed morals and terrible judgment. The chapters dealing with Marnell’s devastating adolescence pierced our hearts and made us root for her to find some kind of footing.
Marnell, a former beauty editor at Lucky magazine, devoted several decades and many tens of thousands of dollars to living a double life, captured in forensic detail in this "amphetamine memoir." As a beauty intern, writer and later editor for Nylon, Teen Vogue, Glamour, and Lucky, Marnell inhabited a rarefied, high-heeled, and high-fashion world, but while doing so she was constantly high. Beneath her eating-disorder-thin figure beat the heart of a true addict. Hers is a New York crash-and-burn story, a slow-motion train wreck rescued from mere voyeurism by Marnell's wit, impressive memory for people and vivid scenes, devastating honesty, and true gift with words. In the high-rise towers of Manhattan publishing, Marnell attends meetings on topics such as "blonzer" (a beauty marriage between bronzer and blush); in the course of her work she meets her idol Courtney Love; but in her spare time she's doctor-shopping, scoring any substance she can, and engaging in days-long benders that are exhausting and horrific simply to read about. Eventually, her memoir explains how a privileged, highly educated woman from a respectable family dug her way out from under the sheer volume of pills, coke, heroin, dangerous joyless sex, insecurity, depression, addiction, and next-level self-loathing exhaustively recorded here.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Seriously, could not put this book down!
Tedious and poorly written
Kept expecting the story to get interesting or insightful, but it doesn’t. Cat is vapid and her snark is sophomoric.
How to murder your life
Couldn’t put it down! What a honest and amazing book . Can’t wait to read what she writes next!