How To Murder Your Life – Cat Marnell


Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

When I first heard that Cat Marnell was writing a memoir, I probably rolled my eyes, along with half the internet. The prevailing opinion was that she’d take the advance money, blow it on PCP (or Crack, or Heroin, or Adderall or or or…) and that would be that.

See, Cat was mostly famous for having a career – a really desirable career, as beauty editor at a Condé Nast publication – and throwing it away to do drugs. She was the enfant terrible of the beauty world, who wrote articles with titles like Gonna Wash That Angel Dust Right Outta My Hair and Worst Beauty Editor In The World: I Snorted A Line Of Bath Salts In The Office Today Edition.

So, yes, Cat Marnell is a monster, she’d be the first to tell you this. Which she does, in searing detail, with brutal honesty. Because as much as anyone else may judge her, nobody judges Cat as much as Cat does. Nobody treats her as badly (not even the string of manipulative psycho vampire men in her life). She is childish, impetuous, self-destructive, and has a pathological fear of mice (a Cat… afraid of MICE!!!… badumtshhhhh) that manages to lead her further down the downward spiral of addiction than any case of musophobia has managed before (did the musophobia worsen the addiction, or did the addiction worsen the musophobia? Chicken, meet egg). Similarly, did Cat become an addict because of her many… quirks? Or did the addictions create the CatMonster? It’s hard to know for sure, since she’s been on (and abusing) prescription drugs since her mid-teens.

Whatever the case may be, it’s undeniable that Marnell is a talented writer. Her memoir is funny, honest and heartfelt. It’s like a reverse The Devil Wears Prada where the protagonist is the nightmare and the boss/ coworkers are kind, endlessly patient and encouraging. They see the potential in this shambolic mess of a woman. And by the end of this memoir, I did too.


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