Addiction is no laughing matter. In the case of Sarah Lassez’s “Psychic Junkie” however, it is nothing short of hilarious. “Psychic Junkie” is Lassez’s own memoir of her addiction to tarot cards and psychic readings.
A struggling actress with a penchant for attraction to all the wrong men and an obsession with high quality bath products, Sarah epitomizes the land of lost dreams that is Los Angeles. However, after being led astray by yet another handsome actor (or “trained liar” as her best friend Gina dubs him), she is introduced to Aurelia, a lovely young lady who just so happens to be a psychic.
After her first psychic reading at the hands of Aurelia, Sarah gradually becomes hooked on the magic of the psychic world. She becomes unable to function without asking the psychic powers to reveal her future — either with a variety of her own tarot cards, or the increasingly expensive calls to Psychicdom. Meanwhile, her career is floundering, her love life is continuously careening off course, and her obsessive tendencies only grow stronger.
This may sound like a bleak predicament to be in, but Lassez somehow manages to turn her zany situation into uproariously funny anecdotes without seeming either pitiable or bitter — a tough balance to strike.
Although Sarah is the main character in her memoir, the rest of the cast rivals her for lovable quirkiness. One of the standouts is Gina, Sarah’s best friend with an overly organized Virgo personality and a penchant for psychic visions who keeps Sarah (almost) sane.
Another is Wilhelm, the source of much of Sarah’s suffering, but also a source of much amusement for readers. Sarah’s descriptions of her German “sex-hating, pink-shirt-wearing, discount-store-window-shopping, balding, self-punishing, pretty boy chef of a boyfriend” and his antics alternate between heartwarming and heartbreaking and are written with a wit that matches the rest of the novel. A wit that made me sympathize with Sarah’s sentiments completely, no matter how ridiculous they were objectively.
Sarah’s reliance on her beloved psychics is so far gone that she is able to create entire fantasies based on their predictions, which, although hilaroius, are beyond far-fetched at times. Lassez avoids the pitfalls of making her story irritating in its absurdity as she is simply so endearing that it is impossible not to root for her. She writes of her misfortunes in a way that anyone who has ever been unlucky in love or their career path can empathize with.
Even as Sarah spirals deeper and deeper into credit card debt and heart-wrenching loneliness, she never ceases to make me laugh. She writes of her “natural state” as being “on the verge of tears and afflicted with constant worry.” For someone who describes a realization that she is truly content as a sensation of “feeling strange” before feeling happy, she writes with an astonishingly upbeat and winning style.
Her road to a normal lifestyle devoid of psychic readings is written with equal humor. As she heads to her parents’ ranch in New Mexico for self-imposed psychic rehab, she joins an online psychic addicts support group and takes on an undercover mission as a psychic to discourage callers. Sarah’s humble and self-deprecating humor never ceases. “Psychic Junkie” is a truly unexpected, quirky memoir that draws the reader into the little-known world of psychic addiction in such a captivating and hilarious way that you may never want to leave.