Entertainment » Books

How to Murder Your Life

by Noe Kamelamela
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Oct 11, 2017
How to Murder Your Life

"How To Murder Your Life" is horrifyingly upbeat for a chronicle of one woman's struggle with addictions. Author Cat Marnell sticks to a certain amount of distancing and an explanatory tone, which keeps things moving. A reader may get the distinct impression that Cat's still processing a lot of the more traumatic occurrences in the book, which get much shorter shrift than the perks of her glossy editor gigs. The cover art seems more innocuous than the title, but this book should still come loaded with trigger warnings for substance abuse, rape, and violence.

The tone in "How To Murder Your Life" remains cheerful and zesty. The book's diction is clearly influenced by Cat's love of zippy magazine jargon. The first-person, colloquial point of view, as if the reader is a close friend, and the clear organization of each chapter does cleanly display her talent at writing. As the narrator becomes more unreliable and the violence and trauma Cat is experiencing firsthand ramp up, it becomes clear that this is no "After School Special," easy-into-trouble and easy-out-of-trouble memoir.

For younger people who are currently dealing with drug addiction, her tales are somewhat cautionary. She was a high achiever, after all, and the fact that she could keep it together for stretches at a time before succumbing to either depression or the physical effects of addiction suggests that, hey, maybe the drugs aren't so bad at all. Someone deep in the clutches of addiction might read this book and get some good laughs out of it, think of Cat's circumstances as unusual and absolutely not going to happen to them. Someone struggling with getting clean might read this book and see themselves in it.

As for me, I think we're going to need and see more messy memoirs in our lives. We have a real drug problem in America, and our media hasn't really been reflecting all of the realities connected to drug addiction. We will likely lose more people to drug overdoses this year than we will to mass shootings. Typically, when one thinks of drug addiction, we may think of rural poverty or violent gangs that deal drugs. Cat Marnell's story stars a successful career woman abusing both prescription drugs and illegal substances while still maintaining a lifestyle until she couldn't anymore.

"How To Murder Your Life"
Cat Marnell
Simon & Schuster
$11.99 (ebook) $26.99 (hardcover)

Noe Kamelamela is a reader who reads everything and a writer who writes
very little.


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