Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark.
“Fuck politeness, fuck the way we were socialised, fuck the expectation that we always put other peoples needs first. And while we are at it FUCK THE PATRIARCHY” – Georgina Hardstark.
I started listening to My Favourite Murder on 2017 and was hooked instantly. Hearing these women get excited about true crime without worshipping serial killers was refreshing. I’ve always been a true crime buff since an early age, like, way before a child should be exposed to this stuff.
So lets start off with a home town (Its like an 1 – 2 hours train ride but it’s the one that sticks in my mind the most) murder:
I was 5 years old when 3-year-old James Bulger was murdered by 2 10-year-old boys.
Obviously 5 years old me was too young to understand exactly what happened but what I did understand confused me, I didn’t understand how 2 children could kill and torture child, practically a toddler I just knew it happened
That lead to my early obsession with the news and true crime. It’s not about getting your leg over with Ted Bundy, it’s about understanding the mentality to commit such violent acts against each other.
Jumping into the book some chapters are very sincere and heart string breaking. Early in the book Karen goes into detail about her mother’s long battle with Alzheimer’s. Luckily no one in my family has suffered from Alzheimer’s, apart from my great grandad and he passed when I was very young, but I worked in the care industry for 6 years. I would see the hurt and pain this disease causes the family members of anyone suffering. Karen describes it as a shark, a very slow shark coming for you in a pool you are trapped in. Its years of excruciatingly trying to stay afloat while the shark is coming eat you, painfully slow, with the Jaws music playing all the time. Like for years.
Karen really does bare her soul in the book and I felt kindred, we both have a shit ton of anxiety, the kind that makes you hate yourself or made others hate you, either way it wins keeping you trapped inside like Cathy Dollanganger, all ‘flowers in the Attic’ like but with less incest, literally no incest.
The chapters/ narrative switch between Karen and Georgia, each chapter is titled after one of their famous catch phases while trying to teach some wise, woke, valuable lessons that come across as repetitive and listless.
Before I start critiquing, I am going to point out some of the good parts of the book, I don’t want to be a Debbie downer and it a good book but I personally have some issues.
Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered is an empowering book, it gives great advice on doing just as the title instructs.
I am glad both Karen and Georgia disclosed on their toxic teens and twenties. On the podcast the presenters touch upon their battle with drugs and alcohol but I always wanted to know more, mainly because I am nosey as fuck when it comes to addiction. During my early 20s I was off the rails. So far off the rails I couldn’t even hear the trains anymore. I hit the trifecta of shitty things happening.
- I was going through a very hard break up, because when you are young you think you are in love like no one else has ever been in love before which means breaking up smashes you n to a million pieces.
- I worked in a super busy bar/nightclub (To my UK readers it was a Yates, home to Stella drinking, football watching cave men). Working in a super busy night club leads to drinking. Lots and lots of drinking. Even when we had days off, we still returned to our employer and participate in ‘day drunk’. We would finish work at 4am and go to a nightclub open till 6am and after that a house party. I drank 24 hours a day.
- What do they say?
‘the best way to get over a man is to get under one’.
DO NOT FOLLOW THIS ADVICE. It’s a lie created by men to exploit unstable heartache. These boys waiting to pounce on you, while you’re a sloppy drunk crying with streaked foundation and panda eyes, are not the ones for you. They, my friends, are what we usually refer to as fuck boys.
- Most importantly DON’T shut all these problems, heart ache, addiction and troubles into a small box and force it way down deep in your subconscious while suffering from a number of undiagnosed and unmedicated mental health issues such as: Bi Polar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Anxiety, Depression and anger issues. It will implode.
Thankfully I left the job at the club after 2 years of hard partying every night and suicidal depression every day. I met a guy that I love (and kind of realised I was never actually in love before). I started seeing a councillor and doctor who diagnosed me and medicated me, and my friends dragged me through it all.
The fact they openly shared their stories helps them both seem more human, which I think we forget. They make mistakes like all of us its just that Georgia seems to make more than an average amount.
Slightly Bad Points
Karen and Georgia need to hire a publicist. Desperately. The fans are begging them.
I haven’t listed to the podcast in a few months because of the shitty attitude they both had about other cultures, classes and races. From the tepee incident to the recent sexual abuse doll glee situation (have a google) and now they are issuing fans with cease and desist letters. I purchased the book hoping they would be addressing these situations but once again they go on unacknowledged.
The chapters are repetitive as neither one bothered to read what the other had wrote until after publication. The format is messy in places and doesn’t appear to have been proofread but the biggest grinds my gears moment is the filler. I didn’t need the ‘How To Be A Latchkey Kid’ entire itinerary run down, there is never a need for a page to give step by step instructions on making toast.?!?!??!
The ways to SSDGM are just the same warning we heard every fortnight from the podcast. Its all about knowing Red Flags and Fucking Politeness. Which obviously are good lessons, we all now know not to hitchhike, take drinks from stranger, avoid dark roads and alleyways, never go to a second location and above all else ALWAYS REMOVE THE LINT FROM THE DRYER!
If we take out the Yikes, White Privilege and forget about the actual podcast the book is a charming and truthful memoir of two women making a life for themselves and loving it in the process. Its an easy read. For every boring part there is an interesting part.
I do worry about the future of My Favourite Murder though, in one of Georgia’s chapters she talks about Alie Ward and how the stress broke their friendship and carer apart. Georgia speaks about Alie with such bitterness she is more teenage girl than business women, I have lost respect for Georgia as you can probably tell, she is problematic and unapologetic. I hope Karen doesn’t come to the same end as Allie.
Must Try Harder!