Reviewed by Ashley Supinski
Podcast hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark have spent the last five years talking about murder and survival stories, all while balancing it with humor and life stories on their hit podcast, My Favorite Murder. For fans of the show, their book Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-to Guide (Forge Books, May 2019), is an extension of those brief anecdotes you’ve heard each week. For those who have never even heard of a podcast, the book is a great gateway to one of the top-charting true crime podcasts.
In their dual memoir, dubbed the first of its kind by its publisher, Kilgariff and Hardstark write openly about mental illness (anxiety), drug use, alcoholism, and the benefits of therapy. The outspoken hosts focus on normalizing mental illness through their own experiences and why your friends are tired of listening to you about that guy that has no interest in you, and what Hollywood is really like.
“Sweet Baby Angel,” “You’re in a cult,” “Call your dad,” “Get a job,” and “Stay out of the forest.” These aren’t just catchy chapter titles, but true crime life lessons. Kilgariff and Hardstark use some of their touchstone quotes to tie their podcast to their own experiences. In the opening chapter, “Fuck Politeness,” Kilgariff rehashes how it really felt dealing with a mother who had Alzheimer’s. (She compares it to being stuck in the ocean when the shark attacks in Jaws). Likewise, Hardstark stresses that freaking politeness means being able to say no to uncomfortable situations (like when she allowed a creepy old man to take topless photos of her on a cliff).
Later, Kilgariff recalls her own struggle with alcoholism and the subsequent consequence of developing epilepsy from too much drinking. Adding her own childhood struggles, Hardstark relays what it’s like to come from a divorced home during the 1980s, and openly talks about eating disorders and anxiety.
Interspersed throughout the book are homages to the fans who have made MFM a hit. Each chapter opens with a beautiful piece of fan art that was made in response to the chapter titles.
Both hosts live in Los Angeles and share their stories of past jobs in Hollywood’s spotlight. Kilgariff started her career as a stand-up comic and has writing credits on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Baskets. Hardstark co-hosted the Cooking Channel showUnique Sweets. So if you’re 16 or 60, Kilgariff and Hardstark make their personal stories relatable and amusing.