Cat Marnell, former Lucky magazine beauty editor turned Vice columnist and overall hot mess, brings something different to the "cool girl self-destructing" genre in How to Murder Your Life. She hasn’t cleaned up, she’s still proudly using, and she won’t be learning any lessons.
Marnell purportedly blew through her $500K advance for this book... fast. Simon and Schuster got some heat for handing all that cash up front to an unabashed drug abuser, but ultimately, as Marnell promised Page Six, “the book will be worth every penny.”
Fans of Marnell, behind-the-scenes magazine tell-alls (The Devil Wears Prada), or Bukowski-esque memoirs will be hooked on this frank, often cringe-inducing memoir full of Marnell’s signature amphetamine-fueled musings (and beauty tips!). Recommended By Emily A., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From Cat Marnell, “New York’s enfant terrible” (The Telegraph), a candid and darkly humorous 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 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 (where she rides the elevator alongside Anna Wintour) to seedy nightclubs, from doctors’ offices and mental hospitals, Marnell shows—like no one else can—what it is like to live in the wild, chaotic, often sinister world of a young female addict who can’t say no.
Combining lightning-rod subject matter and bold literary aspirations, How to Murder Your Life is mesmerizing, revelatory, and necessary.
“A remarkably honest memoir of addiction...Marnell is a great storyteller. Funny, with the clever hustler’s knack for an energetically spun tall tale.”
The New Yorker
“Sensational…Marnell treads a knife edge between glamorizing her own despair and rendering it with savage honesty. Several sections read like the drug-fueled interludes of The Goldfinch…She propels the reader through what could seem like repetitiveness (drugs, binges, bad mistakes, sprawling parties) with the skill of a pulp novelist.” New York Times Book Review
"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. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
About the Author
Cat Marnell is a Condé Nast drop-out and former beauty editor at Lucky and xoJane.com. She wrote the “Amphetamine Logic” column for Vice. How to Murder Your Life is her first book.