Trouble by Marise Gaughan

Marise was nine when she first realised there was trouble, 14 when her Dad tried to end it all, and 23 when he finally succeeded.

In a turmoil of conflicting emotions Marise runs – from Dublin to Amsterdam to Los Angeles, leaving a trail of sex and self-destruction in her wake. Until finally, she finds herself facing what she’s become in a California psych ward, a girl imploding through trying to make sense of her father’s suicide.

As she retells her unravelling, from child to adult, Marise strips back her identity and her relationship with her father, layer by layer, until she finally starts to understand how to live with him, years after he has gone.

Written beautifully, with wit and unflinching honesty, Marise has produced one of the most powerful coming-of-age memoirs of recent years, a brave new voice in Irish writing.


Trouble by Marise Gaughan is an incredibly powerful and moving read. Both hard to read and yet life-affirming, it is her account of how her fathers alcoholism, depression and his suicide shaped her childhood and adult life. Her increasingly destructive decent in depression and dependence on drinking and drugs, stemmed from the trauma of living as a child with an alcoholic father whose chaotic and self absorbed actions, left her carrying crushing guilt and anger.

What I found so astonishingly compelling about Marise Gaughans writing was her candour. She lays bare for us her life at it’s most shocking and we come to understand how her behaviour was shaped by her father actions, having to carry acute trauma around with her as a constant companion. So often when writing about mental health in memoirs, it can come across feeling sterile and lacking the crushing reality it has on those who live with and those that suffer from it day in and day out. In Trouble she gives us a brutally honest depiction of how she came so close to repeating history, of allowing his death to claim and destroy her life as well. She doesn’t hold back and the raw, painful narrative, details events that show how she seeks approval and affirmation from men, through sex and money.

It is though also about the power of humanity to find the strength to live and thrive. In Trouble Marise Gaughan shows us how she found within herself the ability recognise and accept that although she carries her father legacy in her very genes, as a unit of heredity inheritance, she is more than her father’s daughter, she is a gifted and beautiful women for whom life holds endless possibilities. It is not an easy journey for her or the reader, but it is a tremendously rewarding one, as she take the steps towards a life, she so richly deserves. In coming to terms with the fact depression will always be with her, but won’t always define her, she can live.

She is a remarkable women and Trouble an incredible read.

You can purchase this book from Amazon and Waterstones

About the author

Irish writer and comedian Marise Gaughan started her comedy career in the open mic nights of Los Angeles and quickly made waves with her dark and honest style. Now based in London and Dublin, Marise continues to perform in all the major UK clubs, and has supported Rob Delaney, Ari Shaffir and Jim Norton on tour. She also presents a weekly radio segment on Ireland’s and has written features for The Irish Times and The as well as online American magazines including Tasteful Rude, Windmill(mac)ro(mic) and Hobart.

Her debut show Drowning discusses her father’s (successful) suicide attempt and her own (unsuccessful one). It premiered at the Dublin Fringe Festival in September 2018 and was awarded the Women’s Irish Network Arts Bursary to take it to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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