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How to Murder Your Life

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  10,699 ratings  ·  1,095 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 2nd 2017 by Ebury Press (first published January 1st 2017)
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Alli oh please. climb down off your soap box. it's way too high.
Just because you clearly have no insight into what this kind of life is like, a lot of…more
oh please. climb down off your soap box. it's way too high.
Just because you clearly have no insight into what this kind of life is like, a lot of other people do.
Reading other stories that resemble situations faced in one's own life, can be very comforting.
She writes about the highs- but guess what? Every high eventually comes down. she writes about that too.
We don't live in a sensored world. No one is going to read this book and decide to take up her lifestyle.
Her lifestyle is everywhere.
Why must this book have a "DRUGS ARE BAD" message? what will happen if it doesn't? No one will ever know drugs are bad?
sex drugs and violence being glamorized? oh dear!! when has anyone ever heard of that happening anywhere else in this world?
(less)
Tanya If you want to read an equally gross, equally funny book, you can't go wrong with "Songs they never play on the radio" by James Young. It is about a…moreIf you want to read an equally gross, equally funny book, you can't go wrong with "Songs they never play on the radio" by James Young. It is about a rag-tag group of junkies touring with Nico in the early 80s. I've never laughed so much at such tragedy in my life. The book is filled with some of the worst people you'll ever encounter in print, yet I could not put it down. (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  10,699 ratings  ·  1,095 reviews


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Roxane
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it
This is definitely a readable book. The descent to rock bottom is seductive when it happens in such a glamorous way--clubbing, sexy magazine jobs, suffering painted prettily. One thing that is inescapable is that privilege makes addiction sustainable in mind blowing ways. I offer that as observation rather than judgment. There is a good, interesting afterword about where Marnell is now but much of the book is a recitation of addiction and lots of glamorous name/brand dropping without much reflec ...more
Bonnie Brody
Jan 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
If you would like to read the shallow story of a self-described 'privileged white girl' who is an addict, this might be the perfect book for you. Can you guess that the author comes from a dysfunctional family that looks great from the outside but is rotten to the core on the inside? And of course she comes from money. The kicker is that her dad is a psychiatrist who prescribes her uppers and downers and her mother is a psychotherapist. This is a story that is b.o.r.i.n.g. It should never have m ...more
Esil
Jan 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
So I was ready to write a pretty negative review of How to Murder Your Life, and then toward the end I turned a sharp corner and realized I was a bit teary and totally engaged in Cat Marnell's story about her addiction. I didn't know anything about Marnell nor do I have much interest in beauty or celebrity, but I gather that she has been the focus of some publicity in the last few years. I don't even remember what piqued my interest when I requested this book because I can only read so many addi ...more
Julie Ehlers
I was a devoted reader of Sassy magazine and have followed Jane Pratt's career ever since, but for whatever reason I didn't hear about her website, xoJane, until it had already been around for a while. In fact, I discovered it just after Cat Marnell, its beauty editor, was let go for problems related to her unrepentant drug use. It was hard to catch up on exactly what had happened after the fact, so I was very curious to read the whole story as recounted by Cat herself in How to Murder Your Life.

...more
Nat K

"I took shots and fell into the pool in the back garden a la Brian Jones (and not in a cool way)."

You've probably guessed it, the above quote sets the tone for the book.

I love mixing up the styles of books I read. I'm definitely not a book snob. In fact, I probably enjoy more what's on the best seller list, than the latest literary prize winner.

That being the case, it was a change of pace I needed. So I decided on"How To Murder Your Life" as my next read. Talk about me
...more
Theresa Alan
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
I heard once that an addict stops maturing at whatever age she starts abusing drugs and/or alcohol. Cat began abusing drugs and alcohol as a teenager, so that might be part of the reason she writes like a teenager. It could also be that she worked for beauty magazines her whole life, but whatever it is, she uses a TON of exclamation points and italics for emphasis and a vocabulary that makes me think I’ve accidently flipped the station to some teen-centric show on CW. It’s an irritating writing ...more
omgbart
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am amused by people who requested the book not knowing Cat Marnell nor having any interest in the beauty industry, and post a review about how they hated everything about it. The point of spending money on a book is to buy something that interests you. Read, learn, grown, carry on a conversation, etc.

With that said, I have always been a fan of Cat Marnell's writing. From Lucky to VICE. I am also a big fan of her favorite boss (JGJ). Having lived in the same neighborhood, shared friends in the
...more
Meirav
Dec 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Since we worked in the same industry, I was just as swept away by Cat's clever druggie/beauty column and surrounding drama at the time (I don't know her personally). I wasn't aware of her at Lucky, and when she was writing for xojane, I was like, yeah, why can't she be honest about her Adderall and graffiti-writer blow jobs—at least it's honest, and she has a great voice and sometimes you really do need to know how a liquid lipstick will stand up to a BJ. And then she left for Vice and her colum ...more
Chiara
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ugh, I loved it. I LOVED it. Can't remember the last time I devoured a book like this. I was totally caught up in the "wtf is WRONG with her" train during the XO Jane days (and her behavior as described in the book, especially then, is so abhorrent). But she's a fantastic writer -- witty and self-aware and piquant. I just really thought it was great and hope the best for her.
DoctorM
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Yes, I know. We're not supposed to find this amusing or hot. We're supposed to find it distasteful because Cat Marnell relied on family money and beauty-world connections to avoid the worst consequences of her actions. We're supposed to be shocked and appalled (the horror! the horror!) at a memoir that "glamorizes" addiction. And blah blah blah. But you know what? "How To Murder Your Life" is darkly clever, over-the-top, and...well, hilarious. It could be hotter--- Cat's sex life isn't described ...more
da AL
May 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
She does a great & very interesting job -- because this is book is quite entertaining yet doesn't make addiction attractive. Good writing, yes. Compelling story, yes. Scratching my head over whether also has much to do with miracle of name dropping? Or perhaps more so the amazing ability of many addicts to be equally enthralling & obnoxious? Maybe all that & then some...
Emily
In an unsurprising continuation of my accidental theme of 2017, I loved this book about yet another unlikeable female main character. From fiction to nonfiction, Hausfrau to The Rules Do Not Apply, I have found a real affinity for these flawed women and their stories.

I've liked Cat Marnell's writing since her time at xoJane and Vice. My familiarity with her work made this book much more enjoyable for me; if I hadn't had any prior knowledge of her life and writing, I doubt I would have been as invested as I was in
...more
Sarah Joint
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
When I started this book, I wasn't sure I would finish it. The beginning is disjointed, disturbing, and filled with exclamation points. I kind of felt like I was reading what an overly friendly and terribly drunk girl at a bar was babbling to me. It took me awhile to adapt to her style. I also have virtually no personal experience with drugs. She was naming pills I've never even heard of. What saved the story a little is that I did end up finding it interesting. Beauty products are another love ...more
Bamboozlepig
Feb 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Nope, nope, nope. If anything, this book glorifies drug abuse and addiction. It also glorifies anorexia and bulimia, not to mention making extremely poor life choices and then whining about how hard the experiences were to go through because of those poor life choices. Cat Marnell comes from an admittedly dysfunctional, but extremely privileged background afforded her because her parents were wealthy. She seemed to learn nothing and I mean NOTHING from any of her rehab experiences OR her poor li ...more
Jayne Lamb
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I *loved* it. And there's an extra star, for all the hilarous, outraged one-star reviews that completely missed the point of the book. Cat Marnell is like the love child of Courtney Love and Diana Vreeland and this is like White Girl Problems for real. Hilarious, engaging, relatable (well, depends on the reader) and full of two of my biggest obsessions: prescription drugs and makeup. Best addiction memoir since More, Now, Again: A Memoir of Addiction and I *love* that book.
Tory
Nov 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2016
This "trash"terpiece is the exclamation-mark-riddled love child of a coke-fueled unprotected rager between The Devil Wears Prada and A Million Little Pieces. A so-bad-it's-good schadenfreude binge.

(Before they go to publication, I hope someone on staff catches that Heath Ledger wasn't in The Dark Knight RISES.)
Ellen
Feb 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
Is she buying drugs with the money from this book? Or is she donating it to help other addicts? She never seems to want to be sober- this book is just a self-indulgent next step after the articles written about her. This isn't a story about her getting clean, she's just trying to extend her fifteen minutes in the spotlight. I really did like her, and I wished I could have helped her but she became so unlikable that it was a struggle to finish.

Her priviledge was very irritating- how dare she moa
...more
Shakeia
Feb 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Part fascinating, gossipy goodness, part "girl, what?" Cat Marnell really makes her addiction sound rather glamorous, but she totally warned the reader about her gross white privilege early on. There are a lot of pop culture and internet references that I imagine will really date the book at some point and the attempt at reflection at the end of the book felt forced and insincere. Not a great read, but, oddly, not a terrible or terribly sad (other than feeling a way for and about her at various ...more
Roman Clodia
This is real car-crash reading that is voyeuristically rivetting: Marnell seems completely honest in her grisly recital of addiction and humiliation.

Talented, privileged (and knowingly acknowledging both), it's not completely clear how she gets into such a dire spiral but she depicts it in full-colour. The biggest mystery is how she ever managed to hold down such a public job in NYC when she was hallucinating, sobbing and wearing grubby, dirty clothes...

It gets a bit repetitive but is still an
...more
Sarah Jay
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I waited years for this book and it was worth it. Read it. Seriously. My review is just read it. You'll thank me later.
Kim
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was terrible and awesome and I devoured it. I am an enabler now, but ... damn.
Dash fan
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This book gives you a harsh look into the life of Cat and her battles with drug addiction.

Cat comes from a wealthy family which makes addiction even easier for her.
At 15 she starts to explore with drugs and becomes quickly reliant on them to be able to function day to day.

Cat spirals down a slippery slope of exploration of harder and more dangerous drugs alongside abusing prescription meds.

Cat is in the fashion industry and drugs play a part and becomes
...more
Amina
Jun 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
ohmygod, you guys, she was, like, totally messed up. her wealthy parents did not understand her, like at all. so she got into drugs. like, the the bad bad ones. and did, like, too much drugs and hung out with really toxic people and got pregnant a few times and had a glamorous NYC job and her alleged best friend was like a malignant narcissist (she read that book after, tbh) and wore expensive size 25 jeans (bulimia is "a rich-bitch disease") and made a career of being a junkie writer... but ins ...more
Samantha
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How to Murder your Life is, without a doubt, my favourite book of 2016. Released in February 2017, this book is the autobiography of Cat Marnell’s life so far.

Wowza. As soon as I saw this on Netgalley I knew I needed it in my life. I absolutely love fashion magazines and just find the whole fashion industry intriguing (and often ridiculous). If you loved The Devil Wears Prada you will adore this real life version. I recently read Inside Vogue by Alexandra Shulman (UK Vogue Editor-in-
...more
Sarah
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017, memoirs
An ultra-privileged druggie fashion girl memoir, written with a flippant and unapologetic attitude and with absolutely no redemptive ending definitely isn't for everyone. But going back to Lucky magazine, Marnell has a writing style I find appealing--almost against my will. Fun and super fast read that is practically guaranteed to make you feel much better about all your life choices.
Sofi
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Basically, this book follows Cat Marnell’s life from the time that she was a child, through her years in boarding school, through several magazine and media careers as a beauty editor as well as a writer, and so on. But most of all this book focuses on Cat’s problems with addiction starting with prescription medication when she was a teenager, and carries on through her using of other much stronger drugs. She is brutally honest, about her lower times and higher times. And I definitely respect he ...more
Stacy LeVine
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've been reading Cat Marnell and taking her beauty product advice--shout-out to Dr. Dennis Gross alpha beta ultra gentle daily peel--since the advent of the erstwhile xoJane. I even almost submitted a few pieces to xoJane...only to stop myself each time with the mental reminder:

"Stacy, you don't want to be a confessional writer. You've always managed to keep your crazy New York life largely private in the face of online oversharing. Don't give that up now. Besides, your fellow downt
...more
Megan Johnson
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought it was excellent. Marnell uses honesty and humor to tell her story. She says outright that she's the product of white privilege, and she doesn't attempt to disguise it. Instead she just kind of lets it all out. Also she describes her home decor as "midcentury meth lab" which i really like
Michelle
Apr 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, memoir, addiction
I don't know what it says about me that I've never tried an illegal drug of any sort yet am drawn to addiction memoirs. This (very unapologetic, very "non-recovered") addiction memoir started out so strong. Her writing is chummy and bubbly and funny. I can see why some think her style is juvenile but it totally works. Also, I listened on Audible, so perhaps it comes across better in her voice than on the page. She definitely "acts out" the memoir and imbues a lot of life into the stories. I thin ...more
Jenny Buchta
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I first thought of reviewing this book, I wanted to eviscerate the author. Who throws away all the privileges she was handed? Who chooses drugs over a luxurious NY lifestyle working for Condé Nast? But, after some reflection, I realized that Cat had already eluded to how "white privileged" she was in the first few chapters. She already knows how stupid she's been and how dismaying it is to have thrown away her life for drugs. So I'll give her that.

I waited impatiently for the re
...more
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NYC books 1 10 Jan 31, 2018 09:16AM  

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302 followers
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.
“they have grown like flowers—bright thoughts along the psycho path that I can pick and gather when the forest feels too dark. It’s not always going to feel like it does today. You” 9 likes
“Here’s a life lesson for you kids: it’s much easier to go through something upsetting when you’re on drugs. The more intense the drug, the more you forget your problems! It’s basic science, really.” 7 likes
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