Book Review: “How to Murder Your Life” by Cat Marnell

I don’t read as much as I used to, which is shameful for an aspiring writer to admit. I used to devour a novel or two every week, but don’t anymore. This sad reality can probably be attributed to how busy I am with school. However, I’ve been trying to give myself time between deadlines and obligations to read for my own enjoyment again. The stack of books I’ve accumulate throughout the year is quite ridiculous, in all honesty. I have a long summer of reading ahead of me.

How to Murder Your Life, Cat Marnell’s debut memoir, is one of the books I recently finished that resonated with me more than others.

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I’ve been a fan of Marnell since I stumbled across her work a few years ago. She’s a former Condé Nast intern, editor at xoJane and wrote a column for VICE (called “Amphetamine Logic”). She’s also contributed to SELF, Nylon and Glamour, among other publications.

Needless to say, I pretty much ran to Chapters the day her book was released.

How to Murder Your Life is highly confessional, much like Marnell’s other work. Her weekly VICE column, for instance, chronicled her drug addiction. Her writing is gritty (in the best possible way) and HTMYL is narrated beautifully. The writing is simple and readable, but also poetic (which I think is always difficult to achieve, but especially when the subject matter is so serious). Admittedly, I didn’t have high hopes for Marnell’s first book. I read an absurd amount of memoirs and, when it comes to those focusing on mental health or addiction, I usually find writers covering the topic to come across as somewhat self-centred. I assumed HTMYL would be no exception. Despite the stark subject matter, Marnell is hilarious and I pretty much roared with laughter throughout the entirety of the book.

PS – If you’re into confessional narratives by badass women writers, I’d also recommend you check out So Sad Today: Personal Essays by Melissa Broder. I pretty much inhaled it.

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