HCSC Weekly Read: Cat Marnell’s How to Murder Your Life

At HCSC, we’re focusing a lot on reading. Yes, reading books, for fun. If you aren’t sure you’re into it, check out our first article in our "Weekly Reads" column, to see why reading is the key to succeeding in college, and in life.

If you’re endgame is to become the beauty director at a high fashion magazine or work in media at all, then Cat Marnell’s New York Times best-selling memoir, How to Murder Your Life should be your next read.

Throughout the book, readers are reminded just how crippling drug addiction is for those imprisoned in its harsh reality. From mouse-ridden nightmares to beauty event disasters, Marnell’s personal story of her downward spiral with addiction engages readers from the first page.

But, what really drives this harshly real, nail-biter is Marnell’s candid voice and her use of vivid descriptors to develop the personalities of those around her, as well as herself. When writing about her boss at Lucky, Marnell wrote, “Of all the things I loved about my new job, I loved Jean the most. She’d wander in wearing a swishy YSL leopard-print skirt, a tiny Prada cardigan, and sensible two-and-a-half-inch-heel Loubs… Jean would tell us what it had been like eating quail eggs the previous afternoon with Salma Hayek at LMVH Tower- or whatever kooky thing she’d done.”

But, her blunt, tell-it-like-it-is style does’t stop when it comes to writing about herself or her addiction. Of the many stories she shared, her experience on her first press trip to Italy may have been one of the worst “second-hand-embarrassment” stories in this memoir.

After being seated next to the beauty director of Teen Vogue, Eva Chen, Marnell began to sob openly at a press dinner attended by beauty editors, like herself, from every major magazine. Having relapsed after going to rehab Marnell found herself in the control of Adderall once again. Except, this time, she had left without it, leaving her in pill withdrawal. Between breaths, Marnell made out, “It’s a g-g-g-ood thing you d-d-didn’t h-h-hire me” to Chen, who had previously interviewed her for the position of beauty editor.

Anecdotes like that, and other real, wow-I-wish-I-hadn’t-done-that moments fill the book. For a media-obsessed, beauty-junkie, this book feels like the holy grail. Hearing stories from an editor, who was there, in the thick of it, sort of feels like you’re on the inside.

If you are reading or have recently finished reading How to Murder Your Life, shoot us an email at [email protected] to tell us what you thought. You might be featured in our next column.

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