How To Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell (4 out of 5)



I saw the hardcover of this book go by me many times. I kept thinking the colorful lines were 80’s inspired. But for some reason, it kept skipping off my bookdar. Then the paperback came out recently, with a new cover (not a rare occurrence!). I saw this skinny girl wearing a silk dress with a drink in her hand and blatant disregard for YOU (and you, and you, and you) written all over her face. I was intrigued. I was also reminded of Elizabeth Wurtzel. Who’s Elizabeth Wurtzel? She wrote a number of NYT bestsellers, most well-known one being “Prozac Nation”. This book reminded me of that book, but add doses of humor, fashion, and the magazine/print industry of yore (when print media was successful and magazines were not folding by the day; sadly, those days are declining). Wurtzel has humor in hers, but there was also a fair amount of darkness. Marnell has some dark moments, but almost all of her story has some light hearted moments and sarcastic humor. Much more than Prozac did, in fact.  Marnell gets pulled into the heady excesses of high fashion, zines, beauty and glamour, and surprise!-no surprise!-alcohol and drugs at a young age. Her inability to concentrate on her school work leads her to self-diagnose with ADHD and her father, the doctor, prescribes her Ritalin without a moment’s hesitation. This pops the cork on what turns out to be a cocktail of prescription meds abuse that continues throughout school, throughout personal turmoil, and yes, even through her first real job at a fashion magazine( and the ones that follow). That leads to streamlining alcohol, and the heavy drugs enter the picture. Cat continues to do what she wants, and her downward spiral begins to include bulimia, as well as being warned by her bosses before she ends up getting fired. Can she get her shit together before it’s too late? Before she hurts others? Before she ends up killing herself in the process? This is not just a cautionary tale, people. It is a brutally honest look at self-depracation on a scale that would have killed any Adderall amateur. It is also, as I said, alone in that much of the book, her forthright view of how she “murdered her life” (and career. And relationships. And health. And..well, you get the picture) is refreshing in its candor that you aren’t as worried as you should be reading a story like this. Because this girl has serious spunk. Not to mention great fashion and beauty sense (she gives great tips). And cojones that she shouldn’t have for what she did to herself for so many years. The true beauty of this is that it teaches many a lesson, it draws you in from the first page, it makes you give a shit about this silly girl, and yes, it makes you laugh. Cat Marnell  is a true one of a kind disaster artist. Now go read her story! Out in paperback now. 

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~ by generationgbooks on October 22, 2017.

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