Book Review: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer, loathed by the internet, immensely loved by her fan-base, has written a non-fiction book based on her famous TedTalk. 

I first became aware of Amanda via her band, The Dresden Dolls, I then promptly forgot that she existed until she became engaged to THE NEIL GAIMAN. I then had to figure this chick out to see if she was worthy of my Neil (you see the crazy here right??). I started listening to her music and it touched me in a way that only books had prior. When I started looking into Amanda, I was seriously depressed. Depression seeps into my life and I don’t always realize that its happened until I’m half a year into being a complete nut job. Amanda writes songs that are sometimes crazy, sometimes non-sensical, but most of the time, her music is about accepting yourself for who you are, crazy and all. Amanda Palmer taught me to love myself, and for that I’m incredibly thankful. Anywho…

The Art of Asking is hard to classify, its part rockumentary, part self-help, and part business (business being the smallest part). Like her music, this is mostly a biography of how Amanda learned to accept herself. Her method is not for everyone. 

The Art of Asking, describes how she has crowdsourced to get to where she is today. In some ways, its unsettling, I’m not one to ask for help (ever). I would rather starve with my pride than accept help. Amanda, on the other hand, has no problem asking for help. She accepts gifts and money and love and acceptance from all the people in her life. What I found most interesting in her story was her hesitance to allow her husband to help her. For some reason, and I don’t think this is solely Amanda’s issue, it was harder to accept help from a successful man. Feminists will pounce on Amanda for this, I’ve already seen some of the reviews, its painful. There is no shame in accepting help. Especially from someone who loves you. And what Amanda gives back makes it worth it. Its not a one-way-street. Amanda is renowned for her relationship with her fans. And she speaks of this in her books. The good and the bad. The issue that this implied intimacy causes amongst her fans. I first met Amanda in Florida. And it was incredibly awkward. I knew everything about her, I knew why she was in Florida and who she was visiting. I know things about her sex life with her husband and her open marriage. I know all of this because she shares these aspects of her life with her fans. So the awkwardness of meeting her was that I knew her but she didn’t know me. So this person who meant so much to me, I was a complete stranger to her. The internet makes things weird….

If you have the opportunity to see the book tour that is currently in action, GO. Its worth it. I saw Amanda during the performance at Sixth and I in DC. It was a small venue, which is perfect for Amanda. The performance was a musical performance, peppered with book readings. After the performance, she spent HOURS signing books for her fans. 

Amanda Fucking Palmer, thank you. 


Favorite quotes:

Believe me. Believe Me. I'm real. 

The problem was that I craved intimacy to the same burning degree that I detested commitment. 

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