“Molly Crabapple could be this generation’s Charles Bukowski. She’s a great artist whose life is also a work of art.”—Matt Taibbi
In language that is fresh, visceral, and deeply moving—and with illustrations that are irreverent and gorgeous—here is a memoir that will change the way you think about art, sex, politics, and survival in our times.
From a young age, Molly Crabapple had the eye of an artist and the spirit of a radical. After a restless childhood on New York’s Long Island, she left America to see Europe and the Near East, a young artist plunging into unfamiliar cultures, notebook always in hand, drawing what she observed.
Returning to New York City just before 9/11 to study art, she posed nude for sketch artists and sketchy photographers, danced burlesque, and modeled for the world-famous Suicide Girls. Frustrated with the academy and the conventional art world, she eventually landed a post as house artist at Simon Hammerstein’s legendary nightclub the Box, the epicenter of decadent Manhattan nightlife before the financial crisis of 2008. There she had a ringside seat for the pitched battle between the bankers of Wall Street and the entertainers who walked among them—a scandalous, drug-fueled circus of mutual exploitation that she captured in her tart and knowing illustrations. Then, after the crash, a wave of protest movements—from student demonstrations in London to Occupy Wall Street in her own backyard—led Molly to turn her talents to a new form of witness journalism, reporting from places such as Guantánamo, Syria, Rikers Island, and the labor camps of Abu Dhabi. Using both words and artwork to shed light on the darker corners of the American empire, she has swiftly become one of the most original and galvanizing voices on the cultural stage.
Now, with the same blend of honesty, fierce insight, and indelible imagery that is her signature, Molly offers her own story: an unforgettable memoir of artistic exploration, political awakening, and personal transformation.
Molly Crabapple is an artist and writer. She is a contributing editor for Vice and has written for the New York Times, the Paris Review, and the Guardian, among other publications. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. She lives in New York City.