Book Review: The Coolest Way to Kill Yourself

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Okay. So no one actually kills themselves in this book.

The Coolest Way to Kill Yourself pulls you into the early 90’s New York City rave scene, in all its chaotic, psychedelic glory. The narrator grabs you by your wrist and drags you behind two teenage lovers from New Jersey as they tumble through a whirlwind of reckless hedonism that eventually spirals into a dark, devastating world of drug addiction and heartbreak.

As a teenager, Lynn cried, “No one is ever going to write something for me.” Nearly two decades later, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Nicholas did just that. The gesture came too late for our unlikely heroine, but his heart was in the right place. A broken heart… but a true love. Reunited after years apart, Lynn and Nicholas embraced their love and sexuality, and embraced each other, despite troubled pasts, despite illness, despite all of their imperfections and mistakes. They shared the kind of honest and shameless connection that few have had the honor of knowing, and most would never understand.

“We’re not hurting anyone. We’re just living life without caring what anyone thinks about us.”

“It’s the coolest way to kill ourselves,” Lynn said.

So turn the page, and pull the trigger.

popkitty book review

When I was sent this book, there was a lot said that alluded to the fact that I’d be shocked by this. I was very cocky about it. I’ve seen things people. I’ve lived things. Nothing shocks me anymore. I believe my exact words to the author were something like: “If I’m not shocked or repulsed by this I am going to be very upset.” …An idiot, am I.

Not because I was shocked or repulsed by anything in the book (although, I’m sure some would be), but because when I finished this book, I realised how thoughtless my words now seem against the story of these people.

Nicholas Tanek isn’t anyone you’d normally care about. He isn’t a famous actor or singer or artist. If you passed him on the street you wouldn’t know anything about his life. You wouldn’t give him a second thought. He would just be another faceless human who doesn’t affect your life in the least bit. And he IS just a regular person. But he’s a regular who wrote an autobiographical novel about a woman he once loved, a woman who thought nobody would ever write anything for her.

the coolest way to kill yourself nicholas tanek book review 3

In this brutally honest account of his life and loves he’s asking you to take a look at a woman who thought she wasn’t worthy of looking at. He’s asking you to be affected by a woman who thought she didn’t mean much to many and he is bravely asking you to look past many sins, choose this woman who was never chosen by anyone and grant this woman’s life the substance and significance it deserves.

This isn’t a typical romance novel. This is a book with many romances and many happy endings. It’s a story about how beautiful things can turn toxic and horribly ugly. It’s a story of many mistakes and of great loss but ultimately it is a tale of love and redemption. It takes you on a journey through drug fuelled youth, sexual awakening, the exploration of kink, the adult life of a junkie and the consequences thereof.

The Coolest Way to Kill Yourself is filled with many entertaining and sometimes hilarious anecdotes but, as mentioned before, it is brutally honest and it wasn’t an easy read. I, for one, am very glad to have been granted the opportunity to meet Lynn and to be allowed a look inside the life of one of the faceless people I pass on the streets. I’m grateful that I got to know her and that I got to share in part of their romance.

(ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review)

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author nicholas tanek

Nicholas Tanek is an American ghostwriter from New Brunswick, New Jersey. He graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelor’s degree in English. Nicholas Tanek grew up as a New Jersey punk rock skater kid who lost himself in the early 90’s New York City rave scene. After years of drug addiction, he got his life together when he was reunited with Lynn, the love of his life, before she died at the age of 37. Instead of choosing negativity, he chose creativity. Losing Lynn inspired him to write his first book, The Coolest Way To Kill Yourself. There is quite a bit of kinky sex, drugs, and music in the life of Nicholas Tanek and he has some unique stories to tell.

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