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Story of My Life is a novel published in 1988 by the Americanmarker author Jay McInerney.

Plot and characters

The novel is narrated in the first-person from the point of view of Alison Poole, "an ostensibly jaded, cocaine-addled, sexually voracious 20-year old." Alison is originally from Virginiamarker and lives in Manhattanmarker, where she is involved in several sexual relationships and is aspiring to become an actress. She falls in love with bond trader and Shakespeare expert Dean, but soon they betray each other. The novel implies that the cause of protagonist Alison Poole's "party girl" behavior is her father's abuse, including the murder of her prize jumping horse.


Jay McInerney has said in interviews that the character of Alison Poole was based on his former girlfriend Rielle Hunter, then named Lisa Druck. In the story the character of Alison Poole describes her childhood and tells how her show jumper horse Dangerous Dan had suddenly "dropped dead," which closely parallels real-life horse murderer accusations made against Lisa Druck's father James Druck by FBImarker informant Tommy "The Sandman" Burns, who testified that James Druck paid him to kill the Druck family's own show jumper horse Henry the Hawk, on whose life James Druck had taken out a $150,000 life-insurance policy. McInerney's novel ends with Poole disclosing that her horse was poisoned by her father: There was open speculation that Story of My Life was a roman à clef novel when it first appeared; to New York Magazine's questions "Is it real? Did it happen?" McInerney replied, "I'm anticipating some of that kind of speculation, but I'm utterly confident of not having any lawsuits on my hands. The book is a fully imagined work of fiction. On the other hand, it's not to say that I didn't make use of [pause] … That's why I live in New York. Mine is not an autonomous imagination."

The character of Alison Poole has also been featured in the novels of Bret Easton Ellis, including American Psycho, in which she is sexually assaulted by the protagonist Patrick Bateman, and plays a major role in Glamorama as the girlfriend of protagonist Victor Ward. A reference to Alison Poole's character and the Kentucky Derby — a chapter in McInerney's novel — is also included in Mary Harron's film adaptation of American Psycho in a conversation between Bateman (played by Christian Bale), Elizabeth (played by screenplay co-writer Guinevere Turner), and Christie (played by Cara Seymour):

In 2008, McInerney incorporated Hunter's affair with Presidential candidate John Edwards into the Allison Poole follow-up story "Penelope on the Pond" in his short story collections The Last Bachelor and How It Ended.

Critical response

Michiko Kakutani wrote,

Publishing history

In August 2008, Vintage Books ordered an additional 2,500 copies of the book in the wake of the interest generated by politician John Edwards acknowledging an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter.


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