These addiction memoirs were written by women

When former beauty editor Cat Marnell’s “How to Murder Your Life” came out earlier this year, it remade the face of the addiction memoir. Cat documented her struggles with Adderall, bulimia and more with dark humor and humility.

Usually when people think about addiction memoirs, though, they might think of “Trainspotting” or anything by Charles Bukowski — a.k.a., dudes on dudes on dudes.

But Cat’s actually not the only woman who’s tackled this heavy subject. We’re highlighting a few more of our favorite addiction memoirs that women have written. Even if you’ve never been hooked on sex or Twitter, you’ll find these memoirs totally relatable.

P.S. if you’re not a reader, watch “Thirteen,” the movie the above photo’s taken from. It’s a true classic of the genre!

“Insatiable” by Asa Akira

You don’t have to be into porn to have heard of Asa Akira; she’s one of the biggest names in the industry.

“Insatiable,” her first memoir, is actually about her life in porn, which she says was her dream job and saved her from excessive recreational drug use.

You might think that’s bull, especially if you buy into the stereotype that all women leave porn as drug-addled, sex-trafficked victims. But reading the book, you can tell Asa likes to keep it real. She admits she’s always had an addictive personality, and counts coffee, cigarettes, and “possibly sex (still pending)” as her vices.

Hey, it’s not called “Insatiable” for nothing.


“So Sad Today” by Melissa Broder

If you’re on Twitter, then you may have already read Melissa’s writings on her feed @sosadtoday. Her tweets sum up her addictions to love and the Internet, plus a proclivity for Xanax, in under 140 characters.

Her book does it in less than 240 pages. That may sound like a lot, but genius lines like, “I’m in love with you, and you don’t want anything to do with me so I think we can make this work: a love story,” make this a quick read.

There are chapters written in the form of text messages from Melissa to her “higher self,” and email chains between her and the various guys she was obsessed with. Raw and totally unpretentious, it’s the kind of book that’ll make you stop every other page and think, “Wow — that’s me.”


“Prozac Nation” by Elizabeth Wurtzel

Elizabeth Wurtzel was the Cat Marnell of her generation — a controversial writer and, for a while, a total hot mess. Her first memoir, “Prozac Nation,” is about how her lifelong depression led to drug binges and other risky behavior.

In the twenty-three years since it was published, Elizabeth has apparently lost some of her street cred. But hey, who cares? She’s a badass writer with tons of stories to tell. Haters gonna hate, I guess.


“The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things” by JT LeRoy

Most people have forgotten about JT Leroy, but he used to be a pretty big deal. His personal accounts about growing up a drug-addicted teen prostitute were devoured by all the troubled celebs of the ‘90s, including everybody’s mom, Winona Ryder.

This book, “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things,” became so popular that it was made into a movie by Asia Argento.

Except that JT never really existed. He was actually a woman named Laura Albert who was “addicted” to pretending to be JT.

If tragedy porn is your shtick, this book is still a great read.

Or you could just watch the documentary about the hoax and see how a woman in sunnies and a wig fooled Hollywood into thinking she was an abused teenaged boy.


“Girl, Interrupted” by Susanna Kaysen

Susanna Kaysen’s account of the time she spent in an institution is the classic addiction/mental illness memoir all the others try to copy.

You’ve probably already seen the movie, starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie. But the book is even better. Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself.

Whether reading about other people’s addictions is your thing, or if you’re struggling with one of your own, turn to these unconventional memoirs. And take comfort in knowing that we’re all a little addicted to something.


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