> Skip to content

A controversial, brave and revealing insight into the realities of drug addiction, from one of New York’s most remarkable young writers


'I was twenty-six years old and an associate beauty editor at Lucky, one of the top fashion magazines in America. That’s all that most people knew about me. But beneath the surface, I was full of secrets: I was a drug addict, for one. A pillhead. I was also an alcoholic-in-training who guzzled warm Veuve Clicquot after work alone in my boss’s office with the door closed; a conniving and manipulative uptown doctor-shopper; a salami-and-provolone-puking bulimic who spent a hundred dollars a day on binge foods when things got bad (and they got bad often); a weepy,
wobbly, wildly hallucination-prone insomniac; a tweaky self-mutilator; a slutty and self-loathing downtown party girl; and – perhaps most of all – a lonely weirdo. But, you know, I had access to some really fantastic self-tanner.'

By the age of 15, Cat Marnell longed to work in the glamorous world of women's magazines - but was also addicted to the ADHD meds prescribed by her father. Within 10 years she was living it up in New York as a beauty editor at Condé Nast, with a talent for 'doctor-shopping' that secured her a never-ending supply of prescribed amphetamines. Her life had become a twisted merry-go-round of parties and pills at night, while she struggled to hold down her high-profile job during the day.

Witty, magnetic and penetrating - prompting comparisons to Bret Easton Ellis and Charles Bukowski - Cat Marnell reveals essential truths about her generation, brilliantly uncovering the many aspects of being an addict with pin-sharp humour and beguiling style.


'New York's enfant terrible...Her talent has resided in her uncanny ability to write about addiction from the untidy, unsafe, unhappy epicentre of the disease, rather than from some writerly remove.' Telegraph

'
I LOVE this book' Catriona Innes, Cosmopolitan Magazine UK
'An unputdownable, brilliantly written rollercoaster' Shappi Khorsandi
'Brilliantly written and harrowing and funny and honest' Louise France, The Times Magazine

'Easily one of the most anticipated memoirs of the year...[Marnell's] got an inimitable style (and oh my god, so many have tried) and a level of talent so high, it's impossible not to be rooting for her.' NYLON

Reviews

A marvel of a book...Through the highs, lows and lols, the self-loathing, self-tan and self-medicating, How to Murder Your Life is possibly the best book ever written by a recovering drug addict about the beauty industry.

i-D (Vice)

Marnell is a great storyteller. Funny, with the clever hustler’s knack for an energetically spun tall tale, she has an upbeat tone that hardly falters, even when she recounts the most harrowing episodes of her life.

The New Yorker

[Marnell] writes about her life with a candor and self-awareness that is unexpected...I read this book in two wide-eyed sittings, cringing and laughing the whole way through.

BuzzFeed

The book is as compelling — and as problematic — as her magazine writing: vivid, maddening, heartbreaking, very funny, chaotic and repetitive, as benders are.

New York Times

If you're captivated by the irresistible trio of beauty, success, and addiction, surrender to Cat Marnell's How to Murder Your Life. The xoJane columnist dishes on her previous wild-child ways, from shoplifting to party hopping to spiritual groveling, to finding a measure of humor and grace.

Elle

[Marnell's] memoir brims with all the intoxicating intrigue of a thriller and yet all the sobering pathos of a gifted writer's true-life journey to recover her former health, happiness, ambitions and identity.

Harper's Bazaar

Fantastically entertaining.

Glamour

Jaw-dropping.

New York Post

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780091957360

    May 28, 2018

    Ebury Press

    384 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au