Friday, 2 June 2017

REVIEW - How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell


Title: How to Murder Your Life

Author: Cat Marnell

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Release Date: 2nd February 2017

Source: NetGalley
At the age of 15, Cat Marnell unknowingly set out to murder her life. After a privileged yet emotionally-starved childhood in Washington, she became hooked on ADHD medication provided by her psychiatrist father. This led to a dependence on Xanax and other prescription drugs at boarding school, and she experimented with cocaine, ecstasy… whatever came her way. By 26 she was a talented ‘doctor shopper’ who manipulated Upper East Side psychiatrists into giving her never-ending prescriptions; her life had become a twisted merry-go-round of parties and pills at night, and trying to hold down a high profile job at Condé Nast during the day.

With a complete lack of self-pity and an honesty that is almost painful, Cat describes the crazed euphoria, terrifying comedowns and the horrendous guilt she feels lying to those who try to help her. Writing in a voice that is utterly magnetic – prompting comparisons to Bret Easton Ellis and Charles Bukowski – she captures something essential both about her generation and our times. Profoundly divisive and controversial, How to Murder Your Life is a unforgettable, charged account of a young female addict, so close to throwing her entire life away.


A book that involves heavy drug addiction, obnoxious self-centred, entitled erratic behaviour should really not be entertaining, it should be a warning to others to not go there, to do their thing but try to do that thing without a shed load of pharmaceuticals flooding their senses.  Is it wrong I found this to be a compelling read?

How to murder your life is the story of Cat Marnell and how she has dealt with her addiction, starting at the age of 15 when she is shipped off to a prestigious boarding school.  This is not a school from the picture perfect boarding school books we read as youngsters, this is the type of boarding school that features plenty of drink, drugs and sex.  To help her study Cat is given ADHD meds by her Dr Dad, just one is enough to hook her in and years later she is still addicted.

I know I mentioned it is an entertaining read but it is also a horrific read as you watch her really split herself in two, as she enters the workplace, earning her stripes in the best beauty departments of some of the most superior glossy magazines in the States.  She is keen and eager during her day (thanks to the ADHD drugs) but then outside work she is out of her face, needless to say these worlds collide and she reveals her true self to her colleagues.

But she still continues on, despite the end of a couple of dream jobs she still wants to be like her editor idols.  Oh and I better mention her love of Courtney Love too.  Now this was the one thing I could relate too, from several pages in, the music that I grew up obsessed with was mentioned and Courtney Love and Hole were always at the top of my CD pile (Well it usually was copied to cassette so I could listen to to my Walkman).

Cat's story is incredibly engaging and you know if it was possible I could quite have happily reached in to the book and given her a slap at the many, many bad judgements she has made.  I simultaneously hated and loved her.  But her world has moved in mysterious ways and through writing about the one thing she knows the most about, being drugged up to the eyeballs has led to her star rising and that includes the publication of this book.  

They are bound to make a film of this!

Thanks to Penguin/Ebury for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.





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12 comments

  1. Wow what a story huh? Interesting about the ADHD meds, I didn't know they were so easily addictive. Sounds like a rollercoaster life but also an important book to share, I'm sure there are people who will be able to relate to some of this.

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    1. Her life is a total car crash but it made such a great read.

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  2. It sounds like this book is intriguing and addicting even though it is dealing with some truly horrific topics, and happenings. It sounds like it you also experienced pain for the character as everything goes wrong and becomes so hard to handle... I don't know if I would be able to manage it!

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    1. I really had a ton of emotion, anger and sadness mainly. I hope she manages to sort out her life.

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  3. This book sounds so good. I am adding this to my TBR. Great review!

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  4. It does sound like a compelling read. I'll have to read it. And oh man, Hole brings back memories.

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    1. Just listening to Courtney Love brings me back to the Nineties!

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  5. This book sounds really good. I like when you read a tough topic and it feels real and honest I can get totally sucked in. Great review!

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  6. Wow, this sounds really good! Honestly, I think that it's the mark of a really solid book when you can be both entertained, yet still completely feel the significance of the story, so I think that's a huge credit to the author that you found it so captivating! I will definitely need to check this out. Great review!

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