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Story of My Life

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3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  2,516 Ratings  ·  149 Reviews

In his breathlessly paced new novel Jay McInerney revisits the nocturnal New York of Bright Lights, Big City. Alison Poole, twenty going on 40,000, is a budding actress already fatally well versed in hopping the clubs, shopping Chanel falling in and out of, lust, and abusing other people's credit cards. As Alison races toward emotional breakdown, McInerney gives us a hilar

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ebook, 0 pages
Published February 10th 2010 by Grove/Atlantic, Inc. (first published 1988)
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Glenn Russell
Jan 06, 2016 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
FINAL REVIEW


Published originally as part of the American Vintage Contemporaries series, Jay McInerney’s high octane novel is written from the point of view of a young woman, specifically 21-year old Alison Poole, a rich gorgeous aspiring actress living the cocaine-fueled revved-up life in 1980s Manhattan, a gal who tells her friends how after meeting and spending a night in bed with Dean, her new boyfriend, she is totally in lust. Her friends demand details: length and width.

Every page offers pe
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thecrx
Jun 08, 2009 thecrx rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd like to hand out a copy of this book to every hipster in Williamsburg, so they can understand that they weren't the first people in the universe to discover ugly clothing and cocaine.
christa
In August, it became national news that there was a Jay McInerney novel that I had somehow overlooked. I thought I had McInerney covered — I even read his winefesto Hedonist in the Cellar for the love of God — and here was a novel-novel, probably set in New York City in the ’80s, probably filled with a cast of coke fiend scenesters, and probably something I should have read years ago.

Story of my Life is written from the perspective of 20-year-old Alison Poole, a party girl and aspiring actress.
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Janarchy
May 18, 2007 Janarchy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-ever
Probably one of the least bullshitty books I've ever read. The main character is more Salinger than Salinger, both sincere and intensely jaded. This book is extremely re-readable.
Tony
McInerney, Jay. STORY OF MY LIFE. (1988). ***. After the success of his earlier novel, “Bright Lights, Big City,” it was likely that his publishers would publish anything. This novel falls under the classification of “anything.” It is the story of Alison Poole, a twenty-year old woman who lives in New York and who spends her life hopping from party to party and shopping at Chanel. She also spends a lot of time falling in and out of lust and abusing her friends’ credit cards. She has never held a ...more
Nicky
The story’s about this tough New York City party girl, and after the first few chapters, I go, Wow, this is surprisingly entertaining despite the fact that it’s written without a single quotation mark, which usually drives me insane. No one talks. Every “goes.” He goes, Hello. And then she goes, Hey. And then we go out to the club and snort lines the size of highway lane dividers and play really vicious games of Truth or Dare before sleeping with whoever happens to be sitting to our left. The ma ...more
Sharon
Mar 31, 2009 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The back cover compares Jay McInerney's Alison Poole to Truman Capote's Holly Golightly. I can see the similarites, but I think McInerney's novel is better because he was able to do with words what only Hollywood was able to do to Capote's work - make an unlikeable character likeable. At the end of 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' you want to kick Holly's butt (at least I did), but at the end of 'Story of My Life' you wish that there was a phone number you could call to ask if Alison is alright. Alison ...more
Sun
Jun 07, 2008 Sun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookaweek2006
Alison Poole is a party girl come wannabe actress in New York. She's a cynic who's in touch with her inner child. She's got crazy friends and a dysfunctional family. This is her story.

McInerney achieves a power and a true voice and sustains it. Cutting insights and a deliriously good read.
Moira Russell
Much better than any of his other work, but this got no attention! One of the few male writers of the eighties who successfully wrote from a woman's point of view. And yet this is hardly known.


ETA Well, rather than actually dreaming up a character, apparently McInerney just transcribed the thoughts and sayings of his girlfriend at the time (he appears to have been the novel's slumming Dean) who went on to become Jonathan Edwards' babymama. That's....just so very disappointing. (I can't stand his
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TK421
Oct 21, 2011 TK421 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
For some unknown reason--actually the reason is known: I once read an article in a magazine where McInerney blasted a book/writer that I adored--a festering hate for Jay McInerney has been boiling up inside of me. Time to pop this wound and let the puss ooze.

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Okay. I can check McInerney off my bucket-list of authors to read.

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About three-fourths of the way through this novel, Allison Poole,
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Victoria
Meh, a really juicy tale, but not my favorite work of literature.
I think it was good writing, not great, but just good. I know that I ventured in knowing exactly what it was and there were no surprises, it was exactly as expected. I felt cheap and hungover afterwards, blah.
Basically its a short glimpse into an exaggerated tale of my own early drunken 2o's past of regrets (minus the coke details, never got into it)
There were no tricks or plot twists, this was a plainly written story about sexua
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Cassie Wiseman
Apr 22, 2016 Cassie Wiseman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this book. I usually get bored of books in the beginning or half way through but this book always kept me interested. This book taught me a lot of things about growing up and being out of high school and what type of things are good and bad and what you should and shouldn't do. This book also made me think about how how one little thing can change the way people think about you. The character made me think about how you have to think a lot about decisions before you make ...more
Ryan
Mar 04, 2010 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is supposedly about Rielle Hunter (the current mistress of John Edwards), back when she was a party girl in 1980's New York, and her father murdered her prized racing horses for the insurance money, and she went by the name Lisa Dreck. Or something like that. The character's name is Allison Poole. Supposedly McInerney dated her briefly and was so appalled/fascinated with her and her friends, that he wrote this book, and made her the narrator. It's pretty funny; an amusing few hours' re ...more
Karen
Jun 07, 2007 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I come to review this and of course Angelina is here first--how?! HOW?! Anyway, I reread this book constantly and love it to wee pieces. 80's bad girl in the city...siiigggh.
Myles
Story of My Life is a funny, fast-paced read with a surface covered in the night life, fashionable lifestyles and references to the high-life of the 1980s. Beneath it all is the story of a confused girl trying to make sense of her life, love and why exactly her and her friends do what they do.

Alison Poole is a little selfish, admittedly undereducated and full of flaws but she is entirely honest and only occasionally flinches at telling the reader everything. I enjoyed reading the book and sympat
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Kecia
Dec 18, 2008 Kecia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was a fun read when I did read it (long before I decided to go to graduate school and learned how to pay better attention to things like plot, pace, voice).

I actually went to a reading when this book first came out and when he signed my book I felt the need to correct him on the Life magazine photo that's mentioned in the book (she's face-up, not face-down; makes all the difference). I don't think I've ever done that to any other author since but I was a 23-year-old nerd and this was IMPORT
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Chris
Jun 03, 2011 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
The majority of this book is a (semi?) fictionalized account of Rielle Hunter's sex life and drug addiction. It gets old after a while. The last two chapters, though, are great. Kind of sad. It redeemed the book for me.

If McInerney should get any praise for this novel, it's for his mastery of narrative technique. Even when the plot falls flat - the storyline with the drug dealer Mannie seemed entirely out of place - the narrative is so well formulated that you have to forgive it. It definitely m
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Eric Kirkman
Sep 27, 2015 Eric Kirkman rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Story of my Life centers around the protagonist, Allison Poole, a 20 year-old trust fund baby who essentially does three things, takes acting lessons, does cocaine with friends, and sleeps with half of manhattan. The plot is essentially the aforementioned three items with a fair amount of opining.

The good: Mcinerney really is a talented writer, and the prosse jumps off the page and instantly forges a connection between the reader and protagonist.

The bad: Unlike Bright Lights, Big City and Ransom
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Zelmer Wilson
Aug 16, 2015 Zelmer Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Jay McInerney's third novel I've read. The first one was his first novel, Bright Lights, Big City and the only thing I didn't like about it was it was written in second person narrator, which can be distracting. The next novel I read by him was The Last Of The Savages. I enjoyed that one and need to get a copy of it.
This is his second novel. I enjoyed it and was happy that it wasn't told by second person narrator, like his first one was.
It is about Allison Poole and is told by her, in fi
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Patrick
Jan 11, 2009 Patrick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
"I'm thinking of declaring myself a disaster area, you know, so I can get federal funds."

"Less Than Zero" meets "Sex and the City." The trials and tribulations of a privileged 1980's New York slut nearing her 21st birthday. Dark humor and cocaine abound. Quotation marks to denote dialogue are replaced with the words "...so I go.." and "...then he was like..." I bet "The Hills" would be a lot like this book if TV shows had a director's cut.
Amory
May 03, 2014 Amory rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 100-in-2014
Great random 80s-ness in here: Reference to the Long Island garbage barge, Alysheba winning the Derby, and watching Johnny Carson, and, most spectacularly, the main character blackmailing her boyfriend for sex by ordering from the Saks Fifth Avenue catalog, including a description of making him, "Put the order form in an envelope and take it to the mailbox [!]" to make sure he was really going through with the order. ;-)

Those amusements aside the book was.. okay. I don't know if just the book is
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Esther
Nov 02, 2009 Esther rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
First JM book I've read and probably my last. I don't get the critical acclaim. Maybe you had to be there at the time reading this in the 80s..ooh how shocking, how zeitgeist-y all these pretty young materialistic things doing coke and having casual sex. All first person narrative, so it reads like a long dull conversation with Paris Hilton 'so like she was completely out of it.'
Snarky's
Aug 10, 2008 Snarky's rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always adored this gem from McInerney and it's become a tad more delicious as it has been revealed its protag was inspired by John Edward's mistress.

She's in the attic indeed.
Jeff Jackson
Sep 21, 2009 Jeff Jackson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Contains the immortal first line: "I'm, like, I don't believe this shit." True enough.
Harriet
Jun 05, 2016 Harriet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
alison is such a great character. even though she's living a priviliged 80s socialite lifestyle in NY, she's funny, talented, stylish and above all honest. but the money, the drugs, her crazy and criminal family, her 'friends'....the question is will she ever be able to get out?
Not being american i'd never heard of Lisa Jo Druck and had to wikipedia her. the book would suggest she made quite an impression on the author!
and it is also by far the best first person narrative i've ever read
Rob Sullivan
Apr 16, 2015 Rob Sullivan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who's lived in NYC, especially anyone who's worked in nightlife or just had nightlife consume them, should read this book. It could easily be the story of any of our lives.

I loved it. I picked it up at a book exchange and there was an inscription in the inside cover from a mother to her 20 year old daughter. She wrote how the book changed her life, and gave her guidance at a tumultuous time in her life. I loved this idea of mother handing it down to daughter, and admitting that there's t
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Keith
Aug 29, 2011 Keith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Jay McInerney writes about characters on on the verge of insanity. They grip what little sanity they have left by a frayed rope that no doubt will soon break. In Story of My Life that character is Alison Poole, a twenty-year-old debutante living in New York, and who hangs out with other twenty-year-old debutantes, all whose frayed ropes had already snapped. Alison's frayed rope, her grip on reality, is her fledging relationship with a bonds broker named Dean, but Dean seems more interested in li ...more
Cammie
Aug 27, 2011 Cammie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the funniest books I've ever read. It's packed with rapier-sharp wit and hilarious misadventures, all delivered at breakneck speed. It's also a story of unexpected depth, despite the ridiculously shallow cast of characters and their asinine preoccupations.

There's nothing particularly profound about the people and the 80s New York lifestyle it satirises, and it's not a book that screams Literary with a capital L. But make no mistake, it's very finely written and full of acute obser
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Derek
Aug 20, 2008 Derek rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Geeta, though I imagine she's already read it
This book made me think of Geeta.

That sounds bad, I know. I'm not implying that Geeta was a self-obsessed blue blood who snorted her way into rehab after spending all of her family's money in the nightclubs of 1980s New York City. Much to the contrary. I guess I imagined her as the absent moral center to Story of My Life while I read it. I pictured her sneering at these ridiculous people from the dark wall of the nightclub, reflecting my own disapproval. And I suppose I did this for two reasons:
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Penny
Aug 26, 2008 Penny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So, in reading about the John Edwards scandal, I came across the information that Jay McInerney based his novel "Story of My Life" on his former girlfriend (and, it appears, Edward's former girlfriend) Rielle Hunter. I hadn't thought of this book in years, but I suddenly remembered that I gave a presentation on "Story of My Life" to a roomful of Hungarians when I first joined the Peace Corps in 1990. As part of our training in Pecs, we were expected to give presentations to the public -- good pr ...more
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John Barrett McInerney Jr. is an American writer. His novels include Bright Lights, Big City, Ransom, Story of My Life, Brightness Falls, and The Last of the Savages. He edited The Penguin Book of New American Voices, wrote the screenplay for the 1988 film adaptation of Bright Lights, Big City, and co-wrote the screenplay for the television film Gia, which starred Angelina Jolie. He is the wine co ...more
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“It's like, you can't trust anybody, and if somebody you know doesn't fuck you over it's just because the price of selling you down the river was never high enough.” 29 likes
“Great minds sink alike, right?” 16 likes
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