I mean this book is just great. I don’t always like memoirs that much in part because for one, the vast bulk of them are a little formulaic or written because of fame. Even well-written ones often get a little committeed to death because of the more or less puritanical impulses in the publishing industry. I don’t know much about Cat Marnell (or didn’t. I think I know a few things now), but she was big for a while in certain crowds. This memoir begins in high school as she first starts taking Adderall and other things, and develops quite a habit going into college (or rather college acceptance — which was pulled). So the early parts focus on high school years, including going to high end boarding school and all that.
From there, we get a lot of time in New York taking acting classes, going out, having fun, NOT having fun, and finding more and more drugs. From there internships lead to writing opportunities and jobs, and well, falling out of those. This isn’t really a redemption story, but there are redemption story tropes throughout.
Finally we end with the book deal and the writing we’re seeing.
The writing though is often hilarious, it’s unsparing on detail, it’s not glamourous and glamourous at the same time in an uncomfortable balance, and more than anything, it’s an amazing record of life that is out there, being lived, and like all lives, probably has an interesting book in it. It’s also nice to read a DC suburb memoir that doesn’t end up with someone in Congress or some terrible band.