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In My Skin: A Memoir
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In My Skin: A Memoir

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  2,259 ratings  ·  201 reviews
Holden presents a frank, harrowing account of her descent into heroin addiction and prostitution, and the long, arduous struggle to redeem her life that made her stronger.
Paperback, 285 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Arcade Publishing (first published August 29th 2005)
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Louisa
I needed a shower after reading this book. Kate Holden holds nothing back in her memoir about her descent into heroin addiction that took such a stranglehold of her life; she then resorted to sex work as a means for supporting her habit.
I was compelled and captivated by her writing; and her ability to shine the light on her not-so-perfect moments with raw and unsentimental telling. I was able to immerse myself in her out-of-control life that is addiction, and her working on the streets of Melbou
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Buggy
Opening Line: “What do I remember about being a prostitute?”

In My Skin is the harrowing true story of Kate Holden; an average, middle class university girl from the Melbourne (Australia) suburbs who on a whim decides to give heroin a try. We then follow Kate on a five year journey into hell as she slides into the horrors of addiction and then out of desperation prostitution to fund her growing habit.

This is a candid, gripping, graphic and well written story, although not entirely what I was ex
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Courtney
The only thing that separates this from all the other sex-worker memoirs is that Holden is an ok writer, whereas the others tend to hope they'll sell books based on serious shock factor. Other than that, this book was one big vanity indulgence. It's unbelievable how conceited this woman is. She's so proud of everything about herself, she's even proud to begin taking heroin, proud to have wandered the St Kilda streets every night giving blowjobs to unprotected penises of cab drivers. She finds he ...more
Eva Leger
Jul 24, 2008 Eva Leger rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: recovering addicts, memoir readers
Recommended to Eva by: bookmooch
This was hard to get into for me a few times in the beginning but it's an awesome book. It's about a woman who led a fairly charmed life up until she started using heroin and became addicted. She's very detailed which is one of the things I like about this book and she explains heroin addiction very well, the ins and outs, the whole experience. She eventually becomes a prostitute/call girl and her life goes progressively downhill. Her family is there for her, along with more friends than most ad ...more
Bec
Mar 24, 2011 Bec rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rachel
Story of a middle class Australian girl who gets addicted to heroin and turns to legal prostitution. It was really interesting to see what drug addiction is like in a country where they have social services (as opposed to the US). She had a lot more resources at her disposal. Of course it still took her a long time to quit for all the garden variety reasons.

As far as the prostitution part, she tries to play the Carol Queen angle, i.e. "prostitution empowers women rather than exploits them." I h
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Johanna
Facilis descensus Averno … sed revocare … hoc opus, hic labor est.

To descend into hell is easy. But to return — what work, what labor it is! — Virgil

Holden spirals the reader into the bleak darkness of her heroin-addicted world. Introduced to the drug by her older boyfriend, James, who takes her beyond marijuana trips to needle-penetrating heroin, Holden discovers quickly the heroin-infused realm that she desperately wishes to visit more and more frequently. “Heroin was a lure, a security, a de
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Sequoia Redd
Ever pick up a book that happens to be exactly where you're at? Like literally where you're at?
In My Skin is a memoir written by university graduate, Kate Holden, about heroin addiction and sex work in Melbourne, Australia. Kate started working on the streets of St. Kilda and then moves onto the legal brothel system to support her habit.
I picked up my copy in a bookstore somewhere in Melbourne and could not put it down and then realized that she worked in the same brothel that I was working in.
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Bronwen
In My Skin is Kate Holden's memoir of her days as a heroin addict and prostitute in Australia. I enjoy memoirs, and I enjoyed reading this one as well. There were a few things that bothered me a bit, though.

First, Holden just glosses over her recovery. Recovered addicts who write about their experiences often dwell too long on their road to sobriety rather than sharing their experiences as an addict, but I felt Holden should have gone a little deeper in describing her healing process. This could
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Stephanie Kratzmann
Kate Holden presents a memoir of life as a heroin addict and prostitute in Australia. I love memoirs, and this one was no exception.

I have to admit that I would have liked to have heard more about how her life came together in the end and how the process "finally worked" for her. After going in and out of rehab so many times what made the last trip work?

It shows that it can only take one moment in our lives to change the path. The book identified how sinking further down into an abyss is much e
...more
Rose
So, post-The Heroin Diaries, I've been on this kick of memoirs by ex-heroin users. Dark, I know, but that's OCD for you. Anyway...I have the feeling that Kate Holden is Australia's James Frey. Things just didn't sound real or true. Maybe they were, and you know, good for her for her accomplishments, but I've known chronic heroin users, and they don't have two little bumps in the crooks of their elbows after five years of doing the drug, and they're not proud of getting paid for sex in order to s ...more
Annie Emery
ooh, an awful lot of whoring going on. but a really great insight into the life of a middle class, career heroin addict who takes to the streets to support her habit.
a nice sense of place, capturing melbourne in the mid to late nineties.
great colour and texture.
Jeni
In My Skin by Kate Holden is a memoir about her addiction to heroin and subsequent life as a prostitute to support her habit.

The very best thing about this book is the no nonsense storytelling. Holden doesn't come from a place of a victim who fell into this horrible life. She doesn't blame her parents or boyfriend or the big, cruel world. This book is very straight forward. Some might find it to be too unaffected, too unemotional, but I think it only adds to the story.

We all hear stories about
...more
Alison Dellit
This book was recommended to me as a reasonably accurate take on sex-work in Australia. I've heard of the book before, but had little interest in the dramatic-miserable-memoir genre it seemed to belong to. it has been winking at me on the reader for a while, and got a guernsey during some bouts if insomnia this week.

There was enough dramatic-miserable-memoir, or at least pretty repetitive stories about sex, to make me glad it wasn't longer. But there were two things I hadn't expected.

Firstly, th
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Kate
In My Skin was originally recommended to me through a literature class I’m taking at uni. I’m glad I knew nothing about it before beginning. I recently tried to read Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl, by Belle de Jour after falling in love with the TV series starting Billie Piper. Unfortunately I found that although her anecdotes were interesting, there was not enough of a storyline to snag my attention!

Yet it’s safe to say that Kate Holden’s memoir is as similar to Belle de Jour’s as Lo
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Badly Drawn Girl

I've read so many memoirs and a large percentage of those have involved addictions. This book quickly pulled away from the pack. This isn't your typical "got caught up in the downward spiral of drugs" book that is so often published. In fact, Kate's addiction doesn't even take up the majority of the book. The main focus is on her life as a sex worker. She starts out on the street, but ends up in a couple of different brothels. The book takes place in Australia, where brothels are legal and it se
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Michelle
2.75 stars - I did enjoy this a lot in parts. Like when Kate first decided to take the plunge (HA) into injecting heroine on her own for the first time - this was kinda graphic, but a great description of going over the edge - some of the stories from the street, and the friendships developed at the brothel.
However, sometimes I felt it just tried too hard to be more eloquent than the plot allowed.
While at other times, it felt repetitive but it seemed this was more to convey the continuing cycl
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Claude
Sick of this subject matter. There are plenty of biographies out about prostitution now, (check my read list) and this book is no better or worse than any of the others.
My main complaint about this book is that in the first chapter she alludes to a lavish life provided for by her work. However this never happens as she is always supporting a drug habit. I was hoping that eventually she would kick the heroin (which she does), but also triumph over the material world. She ends up going to europe
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D.A.Calf
[Disclaimer: If it weren't for Goodreads' integer-based rating system i would actually give this about a 3.7 to 3.8]

A byproduct of Holden's writing is that it makes you care more for humans. All of them, all types. At times In My Skin is certainly confronting but at it's heart it's a paean to humans, their foibles and their sexual desires and hang-ups.

It feels uncomfortable rating this book. The writing is very fine, more than that if anything. But it is a slave to the history it tells and that
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Mike
I picked up this book because I've had people close to me die from heroin and I wanted to get perspective on why and how people become an addict and what their life is like while being an addict. The author of this book is obviously a talented writer, although after awhile her somewhat bloated prose got kind of annoying and she seemed to be trying to show off her intelligence instead of telling her story. The beginning did have promise and there were some interesting page-turning parts.

I would s
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Mark
A friend passed me Holden’s autobiography (and début work) after hearing I was looking for books to sink my teeth in to as part of my 2011 challenge. At the time I thought it sounded vaguely familiar: Young Australian girl, good family life, abandons academia for Heroin, becomes prostitute, tells all.

It was after I was well and truly hooked by In My Skin that I put my finger on the feeling of familiarity. Kate and her family had been the subject of an Australian Story feature some years ago and
...more
MaryG2E
I found this book to be really quite fascinating. An autobiography, it tells the first person story of a well-educated middle-class young woman from a loving, functional family residing in the respectable green leafy inner eastern suburbs of Melbourne who descended into serious long term heroin addiction. It is a fairly confronting account in some aspects, as Kate becomes increasingly desperate to feed her habit. It describes the kind of life that addicts inhabit, and how their patterns entrench ...more
Petra
I have to admit I was a bit disapointed in this book. I was more intrested in the part where she got clean agaian and her life back on the rails but that's hardly mentioned. I found her adventures in brothels boring after a while...
But can't deny the book is excelent written and that it was worth the read. Specially to see how easy it is to set the step to prostitution if you are addicted or really need the money...
Bree
This is definitely one of the more interesting memoirs I've read about drug addiction - then add in the fact that it was about prostitution and it got really interesting. I really liked the author's way of writing her story, though I found in parts that it was rambling and going around in circles (when she was telling about her clients). Overall, though, it was an interesting look into that world...
Briskaren
I usually find memoirs self-indulgent and this one was no different. The writing was filled with cliches, and the anecdotes were tedious by the end.
Kayla Soto
In My Skin was the first memoir I've read in a long time (that I read straight through, chapter after chapter) since Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity. It actually sucked me in, unlike the grossly popular books I was trying out. Kate Holden tells a thrilling story of prostitution and heroin addiction with almost lyrical facility. Attempts of quitting the drug are constant failures and the pain feels real. She briefly skips over her life leading up to the period of interest and I loved that thi ...more
Cate
I'm ambivalent about this book. i loved the first part of the story but there's a repetitiveness to the back end of the book. i don't want to speak ill of someone's life story but there's a fuck of a lot of self delusion and sad rationalisation that just shouldn't be there with someone claiming renewed clarity and rediscovery. holden never adequately grappled with how she was able to achieve recovery and the awful duality of her life up to that point. a princess at the brothel but living in a sq ...more
Gill Collins
I found this book a troubling read. Yes well written, yes open and honest but I found my engagement with the author and her life as a heroin addict and prostitute uncomfortable. I found the author seemed proud of her foray into a deep dark hole that must have shattered her friends and family and if new smartphone apps are reducing the trade in brothels, street sex and sex for drugs then more power to it.By the end of the book I certainly had had enough of life inside a brothel. That being said i ...more
Georgiana
An excellent memoir, very well told. I could not put this book down. It was a difficult life but Holden has told it with dignity.
Sherri Holler snyder
Loved this book and often recommend it to my students.
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“Nakedness is nakedness. We all wanted comfort.” 4 likes
“just because you’re afraid doesn’t actually mean there’s anything to be afraid of.” 2 likes
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