‘How to Murder Your Life’ – Cat Marnell

Lanzarote, March 2018


Cat Marnell’s darkly humorous and (apparently) searingly honest memoir of addiction.


I had no idea who Cat Marnell was when I picked the book up and was drawn to it after indulging in Eat, Pray, Love and The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, enjoying a (short!) run of books written by women who detailed a period of enlightenment/transformation.

Marnell’s memoir was fast-paced, humorous and specific incidents that she explored underline how she slipped into addiction and incidents since qualify how she couldn’t free herself from it.

I had a few questions as I read, realising so many of the events posited Marnell as the victim of the piece. When the narrative then moved to Marnell’s semi-celebrity profile (in the USA at least), I started to wonder exactly what I was reading. When I reached the end to read that Marnell was still using, I did feel a little cheated.

This reaction was odd in that addiction is not an easy thing to beat; it harked back to my earlier discomfort with the book. Marnell painted herself convincingly as the victim but without the release from addiction, the memoir lacked humility. There are always two sides to a story though I felt the memoir, which in the end felt like a narcissistic justification for selfishness, completely overlooked this fundamental.

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