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At twenty-six, Cat Marnell was an associate beauty editor at Lucky, one of the top fashion magazines in Americaâand thatâs all most people knew about her. But she hid a secret life. She was a prescription drug addict. She was also a âdoctor shopperâ who manipulated Upper East Side psychiatrists for pills, pills, and more pills; a lonely bulimic who spent hundreds of dollars a week on binge foods; a promiscuous party girl who danced barefoot on banquets; a weepy and hallucination-prone insomniac who would take anythingâanythingâto sleep.
This is a tale of self-loathing, self-sabotage, and yes, self-tanner. It begins at a posh New England prep schoolâand with a prescription for Attention Deficit Disorder medication Ritalin. It continues to New York, where we follow Marnellâs amphetamine-fueled rise from intern to editor through the beauty departments of NYLON, Teen Vogue, Glamour, and Lucky. We see her fight between ambition and addiction and how, inevitably, her disease threatens everything she worked so hard to achieve.
From the CondÃ© Nast building (where she rides the elevator alongside Anna Wintour) to seedy nightclubs, from doctorsâ offices and mental hospitals, Marnell showsâlike no one else canâwhat it is like to live in the wild, chaotic, often sinister world of a young female addict who canât say no.
Combining lightning-rod subject matter and bold literary aspirations, How to Murder Your Life is mesmerizing, revelatory, and necessary.
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