In My Skin: A Memoir

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The frank, harrowing, and true story of one young woman's descent into heroin addiction and prostitution, and the long, arduous struggle to redeem her life that made her stronger.

A shy, bookish college graduate, a nice girl from a solid middle-class home but uncertain of her way in life, Kate Holden tried her first hit of heroin as a one-time experiment, an adventure with friends, but the drug took over. Hooked, she lost her job, her apartment, and stole from her family. ...

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Overview

The frank, harrowing, and true story of one young woman's descent into heroin addiction and prostitution, and the long, arduous struggle to redeem her life that made her stronger.

A shy, bookish college graduate, a nice girl from a solid middle-class home but uncertain of her way in life, Kate Holden tried her first hit of heroin as a one-time experiment, an adventure with friends, but the drug took over. Hooked, she lost her job, her apartment, and stole from her family. Desperation drove her onto the streets, where she became "Lucy," offering her body for cash to the first car to stop, risking arrest and, worse, the human predators-anything for her next fix. With her name on the police blotter, she left the streets and offered her services to first one, then another high-class brothel, where she discovered hidden strengths, as well as parts of herself that frightened her.

Throughout, however hurt and dismayed, her family never abandoned her, and their acceptance and unyielding love helped her defeat the drug and leave her netherworld behind. In taut, devastating, unflinching prose, Kate Holden recounts this journey with an emotional honesty and genuineness that will leave no reader untouched.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
What happens when a bright, well-loved young woman gets hooked on heroin and turns to prostitution to keep up her habit? Hopefully, she eventually shakes free, as Australian Holden does, but most likely a lot goes wrong first. In this vivid and riveting account of her own sudden fall and slow recovery, Holden describes the slow pull toward heroin as her friends and her lover are hooked. Mild, almost bored temptation turns into obsession after she gives it a try. As the drug and the life compromises it encourages take over Holden's universe, she loses her job and rarely sees her family and clean friends. Eventually, desperate for cash for the daily fixes for herself and her inept boyfriend, she starts turning tricks on the street. When, one night, a john turns out to be a scout for temps at a brothel, Holden's story turns. The relative stability of the brothel, and the accompanying relationships with sister prostitutes and even some johns, revives Holden's sense of self and self-worth. Throughout, she tells it like it is. Her depictions of the dark realities she lived through are at times graphic, especially in some of the more difficult scenes with johns, but always clear-eyed. She lets the readers see and judge the situation for themselves. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The elevated, poetic language of Aussie writer Holden's debut memoir vibrates with passion as she tells the story of the small victories and great obstacles she encountered as a heroin addict who turned to prostitution as a way of supporting her habit. The middle-class Holden, a carefree, artistic bohemian who scraped by selling books, is introduced to the drug in her early twenties by her boyfriend in the small Australian town of St. Kilda at a time when the grunge band Nirvana reigned and heroin was at the peak of its glamour. Holden finds the strength to recover through the help of her supportive family and, ironically, through her struggle with the very hardships she finally escapes. Her acutely vivid prose is a revelation, even if the subject matter is not. Recommended for all public libraries. [Holden's draft manuscript of this book won the Judy Duffy Award for literary excellence. Ed.] Elizabeth Brinkley, Granite Falls, WA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A startling debut memoir about sex, work and smack. A bookish, piano-playing homebody, Holden grew up middle-class in Melbourne, Australia. At college, her heart was broken, and she discovered alcohol. She began reading (and dressing like) Ana‹s Nin. She lived in a trendy neighborhood, partied all the time and eventually tried heroin. Soon, her life narrowed to three activities: getting money for smack, scoring and shooting up. To finance her addiction, she stole money from the bookstore where she'd worked for years; after getting sacked, she began turning tricks, first on the street and then in a series of high-class brothels, which are legal in Australia. After only a few months, Holden grew accustomed to using a pseudonym and having sex with eight men a night. The work was degrading, but it had some glamorous aspects, ranging from velvet dresses to the sensation of being "beautiful and desirable." She felt genuine affection for some of her clients, though she had the sense (most of the time) not to see them outside the brothel. Eventually, thanks to her mother and to methadone, she got clean and left the sex trade. Holden's prose is subtle and elegant. She has a knack for unusual, revealing phrases, like "baffled by weariness" or "the organized hauteur of the true professional." If memoirists must make a choice between simply recreating the past and editorializing about it, this writer chooses the former. Her descriptions of the brothels are vivid, but there is something disconcerting about her almost total refusal to interpret her years as a prostitute. Early on, she acknowledges the debate about whether sex work exploits or empowers women, bur she never weighs in explicitly on eitherside. Too bad, since an analysis based on firsthand experience would be worth any number of distanced women's-studies treatises. Beautiful and discomfiting: The words sing, but the singer never reveals her innermost thoughts. Agent: Christian Dittus/Paul & Peter Fritz Literary Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559708425
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/10/2008
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.37 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 20 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 21, 2012

    Good read!

    This was so, so good! Amazing to read about how sometimes, people need to totally hit rock bottom before they can work their way back up. Would have liked to know more about what happens after she cleans up and stops hooking, though.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2013

    Great Book!

    I was so impressed with how honest Kate was about her life. She describes her stages of life, good and bad, in detail. This was very well written and I would highly recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2012

    Groundhogdgay

    Was the same story every day. Not to good

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2012

    It was so-so

    It was very repetitive, and i could relate to the addiction part but not the recovery part. Too much time spent on the brothels and it was the same thing over and over

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    Loved it

    One of my favorite addiction memoirs. It deserves more popularity than it has. I would love an update on how the author is doing, because addiction has a sneaky way of returning

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2013

    Boring

    One of the worst books I have read. Could not finish it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2013

    A good read, it would be nice to know what happened after she qu

    A good read, it would be nice to know what happened after she quit though

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2013

    A journey of real life

    It can happen to anyone. An adventure from norm to darkness to light. A wonderful read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2013

    fascinating memoir

    I could not put Kate Holden's memoir down. She writes honestly and fully about drug addiction, prostitution, and recovery, without ever sounding maudlin. It's a fascinating look at the struggles of a woman "from a good background". Ultimately uplifting, too. A must-read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    Pretty good

    Wish the ending was better because addiction doesn't really end tha easily but other then that it was a good read. Very detailed.

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  • Posted March 16, 2009

    Written with clarity and excellent prose

    It is the story of a herion addict who turns to prostitution to support her habit. She is proud of her life choices and knows the mistakes she has made. However, she continues into the life of addiction. She writes remarkably honest, and with such clarity. At no point, does she hide from the reader. I really enjoyed this memoir.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted September 9, 2013

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    Posted May 27, 2012

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    Posted August 26, 2013

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    Posted March 28, 2012

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    Posted June 4, 2013

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