Caca Dolce: Essays from a Lowbrow Life

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Product Details
$16.95  $15.76
Soft Skull
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.2 X 0.9 inches | 0.55 pounds

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About the Author
CHELSEA MARTIN is the author of Everything Was Fine Until Whatever; The Really Funny Thing About Apathy; Even Though I Don't Miss You, which was named one of the Best Indie Books of 2013 by Dazed magazine; and Mickey. Her work has appeared in Buzzfeed, Hobart, Lenny Letter, Vice, and Catapult, and chosen as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2016. She is a comic artist and illustrator and currently lives in Washington State.
Praise for Caca Dolce

"Martin's honest writing exists above the confines of fear and social norms. She is . . . a breath of pure oxygen in a literary environment that often shies away from female grit . . . her writing is sweaty, uncomfortable, and enchanting . . . She taps into the consciousness of her past selves with precision and care, respecting the integrity and desires of those younger women. A sure hit for fans of Sara Benincasa's Agorafabulous! and Lena Dunham's Not That Kind of Girl." --Booklist (starred review)

"For anyone who has ever felt weird or poor or misunderstood or just . . . weird, well, this is the book for you. Martin chronicles her own bizarre upbringing in such a way that the strangeness of it all manages to still feel universal. She recounts everything from her attempt to manifest an alien invasion (she was just 11; what 11-year-old doesn't want E.T. to visit?) to the fights she had with her family, to what it was like to be diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome as an adolescent. It's a wild ride of a memoir, and a true glimpse into the mind of an artist as she's figuring out what life is all about." --Kristin Iversen, Nylon

"Martin's tragicomic essays on everything from 'how to bullshit' to the tormenting tics of Tourette's evoke a misfit's paradise, where the author finally learns to view her 'past selves as if they are my daughters.'" ―O Magazine, "10 Titles To Pick up Now"

"These essays provide a portrait of one narrator's search for identity through a complexity of stories that offer a door into adolescent confusion, pain, amusement, and awkwardness . . . Caca Dolce provides a journey into Martin's personal experience, allowing empathy toward the years we all take to find ourselves while navigating through awkward terrain.'" --The Rumpus

"This collection of personal reminiscences―at turns shocking and yet surprisingly relatable―reveal as many seminal, universal truths about the complexities of coming of age in the digital era as they do the deep contemplations of a truly unique and gifted writer and young woman." ―Harper's Bazaar, "7 New Books You Need to Read in August"

"Martin, a writer who's earned a cult following with her books Mickey and Even Though I Don't Miss You, turns to nonfiction in her debut essay collection, bringing her irreverent voice to tales of childhood, crushes, art school and the California town she grew up in where people just can't seem to leave. "I stopped using spoons one day," Martin writes in an essay about high school. "I was becoming weird, I knew. And it didn't seem like the good kind of weird, like the eccentric arty weird that could be appreciated by other people." If you can relate, pick this one up." --Huffington Post

"This is the book on top of the stack, which means it is getting the most play currently. Chelsea Martin writes great millennial essays that make you forget that 'millennial' is usually treated as a pejorative. This one is good for '80s and '90s babies who grew up with AIM." ―Dayna Evans, The Cut

"The author takes a hard look at her youth, chronicling the tumult and hardship that modern American life visits on the young, thanks mostly to the regrettable behavior of grown-ups who are scarcely grown themselves . . . the arc of growing self-awareness lends the story both gravity and an odd appeal."--Kirkus Reviews

"These essays chart Chelsea Martin's life from her girlhood into her early adult years. They are personal, revealing, funny, and wince-inducing all at once. Martin grew up poor in a poor California town, and here she lays it all out: her struggles with family, love, sex, money, illness, and more. This is a quick read, and one that will stay with you." --Book Riot

"Funny, candid, and searchingly self-aware, this essay collection tells the story of Chelsea Martin's coming of age as an artist. A book about relationships, class, art, sex, money, and family―and about growing up weird, and poor, in the late 1990s and early 2000s." ―The Rumpus

"Martin is an incredibly entertaining writer, one who―as the title of her book suggests―is willing to take a few risks, and to mix the high with the low." ―Jonathan Lee, BOMB Magazine

"In these essays, Martin is bold and unflinching, poking and prodding at herself and her memories and motivations . . . A lesser writer would tell these stories as cute anecdotes, and the result would have been a funny, perfectly enjoyable book. But these essays go further than that, probing deeply into not just Martin's own experiences but what these experiences say about more complex themes such as place, class, and identity. Because of this, Caca Dolce doesn't fall into that often-cited pitfall of the genre as being mere 'navel gazing, ' and is instead incredibly nuanced, relatable, and wholly distinctive." ―Juliet Escoria, Electric Literature

"The essays in Caca Dolce are raw, unflinching and deeply personal, written in a detailed narrative style that places the reader alongside Martin as she relives each memory, interweaving thoughts from the now 30-something author to contextualize her younger self's inner monologues." --Inlander

"I found each and every person you write about in this book as people you love and care about. Deeply. The person I most related to besides the narrator was your father and step-father. I kept thinking what if I was in this situation? What if certain things in my life turned out differently? How would I be? What would it be like to raise a daughter who was ten times smarter than me when she was ten? Life is an impossible situation and folks are just doing the best they can. You show us this in your book. Anyone with any sense can see this. In terms of your siblings―I would have died to have such an amazing artist as a sister. I'm sure they will see this too. If not now, then someday." ―Scott McClanahan, The Fanzine

"Ever since she started garnering praise in the 'alt lit' scene, Chelsea Martin has stood out as one of the most honest, unpretentious, and hilarious authors alive, and her new book, sub-titled 'Essays from a Lowbrow Life' exemplifies each of those qualities. It is a brutally self-deprecating, yet entirely relatable and moving memoir of an eccentric child of the Internet. If you don't believe it, just read the introduction and see if you can walk away without wanting more." ―The Brooklyn Paper

"Chelsea Martin's essay collection Caca Dolce is filled with reminiscences funny, shocking, and totally relatable." --David Gutowski, Largehearted Boy

"Readers who gobbled down Chelsea Martin's quirky novel Mickey (2016) should sink their teeth into Caca Dolce, her latest collection of essays, which features the American writer at her candid and erudite best." ―Drawn & Quarterly bookstore

"The strangeness of a child normally doesn't make sense to anyone else, but Martin finds a way to present her childhood curiosities logically and with deadpan delivery. She is honest and self-deprecating while maintaining a certain aloofness to her humor that keeps readers unflinchingly by her side." --Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction

"After WORK was already sent to the printer, I read Caca Dolce by Chelsea Martin, and I thought, Wow, her book is like a sibling to mine. Caca Dolce and WORK are kinda both these weird animals that stepped in [the] same mutagen on the way to their own fun deformity." --Bud Smith, Vol. 1 Brooklyn

"Caca Dolce is indie lit star Chelsea Martin's finest work--nuanced, intelligent, emotionally vulnerable, and, as always, hilarious. Do not read in public unless you want to look like a cackling lunatic."--Juliet Escoria, author of Black Cloud

"I'm probably not Chelsea Martin's biggest fan because I'm sure she has legitimate stalkers, but I'm way up there. Gold, gold I tell ya." --Mary Miller, author of The Last Days of California

"Chelsea Martin is one of the best American writers alive. Savage and sharp, tender and hilarious, Martin's Caca Dolce is a book like she's never written before. She's given us poetry, prose, novels, and comics. Now she's given us a perfect personal essay collection as well. You'll only think one thing after reading it. Chelsea Martin can do anything."--Scott McClanahan, author of Hill William

"Caca Dolce explores the discomfort, melancholia and absurdity of taking up space in the world when we aren't sure if we really deserve it. Deeply human--it's a lonely book that made me feel less alone."--Melissa Broder, author of So Sad Today

"I highly enjoyed Caca Dolce--a weird, funny, moving, complex memoir that's excitingly like if Diane Williams edited a 500-page novel down to 200 pages."--Tao Lin, author of Taipei

"Chelsea Martin delivers neon electric jolts of reality in deadpan perfection. Refreshing, hilarious, self-deprecating, as far from pretentious as you can get--you will find you're no longer alone with your weirdness after reading this book."--Molly Brodak, author of Bandit

"This is my favorite book by Chelsea Martin and I've read every book by her and even published one. If David Sedaris were younger, hipper, and had once subscribed to Cat Fancy, he might write like this."--Elizabeth Ellen, author of Person/a, editor of Short Flight/Long Drive Books

"Martin's essays are confessional. And they are political. In writing them, in deciding to tell her story, on her terms and in her voice, the author has exerted her power--even as she writes about so many instances of powerlessness, often a powerlessness unique to being a woman." --Shameless

Praise for Mickey (2016)

"Chelsea Martin continues to prove herself the preeminent chronicler of Internet age malaise and I fucking love it. Mickey takes her provocative poetry long form, weaving the tangled tale of a breakup that shouldn't be as confusing as it is. This has replaced Anne of Green Gables as my cozy times reading. Who the fuck knows what that says about me, but it says a LOT about the power of Chelsea's writing." --Lena Dunham

"There is no other writer who makes me laugh out loud more than Chelsea Martin. Both hysterical and heart-wrenching, Mickey is a well-rounded, hyper-realistic portrait of heartbreak in the age of the Internet." --Mira Gonzalez, author of i will never be beautiful enough to make us beautiful together

"Beyond superlatives but I'll use them anyway: intelligent, hysterical, elusive, an exquisite original. If you enjoy thinking, laughing, and self-loathing, read this book." --Chloe Caldwell, author of Women and I'll Tell You in Person

"Mickey is an arrestingly immediate and personal work. The experience is less like that of reading a traditional narrative, and more like flipping through the open tabs of the internet browser that is the nameless first-person narrator's brain." --Chicago Tribune

"Chelsea Martin's anxieties and thought processes, complex while stylistically concise throughout Mickey, were fun for me to read and think about. I felt amused by the way she seemed to reframe conventionally bleak thoughts and unexciting downgrades (job to no job, boyfriend to no boyfriend, bedroom to no bedroom) into refreshingly intricate and interesting musings." --Jordan Castro, Entropy magazine

"By the end of the book, you can't help but think you've taken a journey with the protagonist, watching her catch her stride artistically and honestly, through sadness, sarcasm, and success." --A.V. Club

"Mickey . . . [is] funny, tragic, relatable, fantastic, dark, but also, in its own unique way, weirdly hopeful . . . She [writes] with a precision that shows real, learned technique, an ability to satirize with deeper meaning." --Electric Literature

Praise for Even Though I Don't Miss You (2013)

"Martin's a brooding minimalist who is great on relationships, the choreography of neurosis, and the feedback loop between selfishness and self-abnegation." --Justin Taylor, Vice

"About halfway through, I said, 'This book is giving me feelings.'" --Mary Miller, author of The Last Days of California

"Her deceptively relaxed prose perfectly captures the Facebook-guzzling void that constitutes modern heartbreak."--Lena Dunham, Wall Street Journal

"You know that emotion after a breakup, where you feel like you've been punched in the stomach? Martin somehow manages to capture it and wrap it up in a tiny book of words, except it's not depressing--we swear." --Nylon