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Caca Dolce: Essays from a Lowbrow Life

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  229 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Funny, candid, and searchingly self-aware, this essay collection tells the story of Chelsea Martin's coming of age as an artist. We are with Chelsea as an eleven-year-old atheist, trying to will an alien visitation to her neighborhood; fighting with her stepfather and grappling with a Tourette's diagnosis as she becomes a teenager; falling under the sway of frenemies and ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 22nd 2017 by Soft Skull Press (first published August 15th 2017)
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May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
Juliet Escoria
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious, weird, and smart. Chelsea Martin is a national treasure!
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, essays
The last read for 2018 which is weirdly convenient. This year has been a roller coaster in a scary good way. This year I really grew up. And in this book I watched Chelsea grow up.

This book was honest and simple and I enjoyed devouring it to the very last bit. I'm really filled with this bittersweet feeling after I've finished this. And also I feel like I have to say something that I'm not really sure of so I'll just end with this quote:
"I was disappointed, but I had been disappointed many
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book marks Chelsea's transition from fictiony weirdo genius to full-fledged essay master. This book explores the many funny (and sometimes disturbing) elements of the author/artist's young life. Caca Dolce displays a voice that is both vulnerable and assured and it's a thoroughly enjoyable collection.
Mike Young
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Chelsea's best yet, even though I am biased because I figure it is more or less the duty of all my friends to write hilarious, honest, tender books about their life in all its bawling and shrugging and blinking at a million calculations per second, but then again only one of my friends is Chelsea Martin, so...
Ben Loory
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
really enjoyed this, especially the part where she decides to stop using spoons
Kevin Maloney
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Chelsea Martin is one of my two favorite living writers (the other is Scott McClanahan). This is my favorite book by her. It has all the sass and grit and humor of her earlier work, but there's an added layer of vulnerability and honesty. Gonna be hard to beat The Sarah Book & Caca Dolce as my top picks of 2017.
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've read and loved all Chelsea Martin's published books. This one was my favorite. It had all the qualities I liked in the others (except visual art scattered throughout) but was longer giving me more time to get sucked in.
Paige Mcgreevy
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I haven't cackled out loud on the subway this many times in so long. Check out this book. So relatable and well written. I'm a new, huge fan.
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Caca Dolce is both extremely funny and sad. Martin's essays expose both the weird comedy and the awkwardness of growing up as a real weirdo in the 90s/00s of Northern California. If you've ever had estranged family relations, bad college era choices, and encounters with aliens as a pre-teen this is the vibe Caca Dolce is running on! It was a lot of fun to read and a really cool stylistic departure from Chelsea's usual work. Great stuff!
Adrian Shirk
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Caca Dolce is a thrill. For lack of a better phrase, this book caught me off guard. The essays are disarming, simultaneously direct and elliptical, hilarious and devastating, self-reflective and yet phobic of the sentimental -- and though they cover a lot of ground, in some deeply subtle way, they all seem to orbit around experiences of class, art-making, and obsession, all kinds of obsession, in all its sweaty glory. I'm a huge fan.
Adam Harms
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The essays in Caca Dolce explore the author's relationship with her family, herself, her friends and her romantic interests. They are at times heart-breaking, funny, sweet, intense, and/or disturbing and ultimately lead to a satisfying and nuanced conclusion. Highly recommended.
Katie B
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
In this collection of essays, Chelsea Martin discusses her life growing up with not a lot of money and a mother and stepfather who had a tumultuous relationship. She also talks about feeling alone, her awkwardness around boys, and finding out she has Tourette's Syndrome. And when her long absent father reenters the picture, she discovers the father/daughter relationship is going to be on his terms only.

While this book has been described as funny, I found it to be much more
Zac Smith
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am sad that it is only 210 pages because I would absolutely down a full Knausgaardian 5k pages written like this. These are powerful, beautiful, funny, dark, and mesmerizing memoirs.

Solid through and through. Semi-detached, introspective memoir essays ordered chronologically from age 6 to maybe late twenties, focusing on a small cast of characters and settings. Powerful study of the current age in terms of technology, education, relationships, gender. I felt like she captured a lot of the
Sep 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked but didn't love this collection of essays that was something like a memoir in loosely themed chapters. Martin takes us from her earliest experiences with sex (and poop) to a more-or-less stable relationship in her adult life, with stops along with way for a lot of drinking and some drugs, some living with poverty, chasing boys, and making art. She's funny and self-aware and vulnerable, and I think I just wanted this to be a different kind of book than it is, something more topical and ...more
Karen F.
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had read a piece here and there by Chelsea Martin over the past year or so and was pleasantly surprised to find a whole new collection of essays were published under my nose. I really appreciate the style of the essays--they're sort of self-deprecating with a very dry sense of humor, but rather introspective, not overly saccharine or sentimental but with a very palpable emotional center. I was especially surprised by the last piece in the collection, it really brought the book home. The book ...more
Sharon Wishnow-Ritchey
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This provocative book of personal essays gives readers a look at the other side of the tracks. Chelsea Martin opens a vein on her life, and in the process, exposes a culture, community, and lifestyle that is raw, honesty, and at times funny. I cheered for her throughout, wanting her to land on her feet and tell everyone to get out of her way.
Mike Andrelczyk
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Chelsea Martin writes about frustrating situations like estranged parents, uncertain future, being broke, searching through your own pizza-vomit for a mssong tooth mold thing called a flipper with such humor that you forget that life can suck so bad sometimes. This book will increase your happiness by 61-82%. I think it gave me a cavity.
Dave Newman
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great memoir about growing up poor and creative and how those things are at odds, and what it means to pay for an education you can't afford, and a messy family life, and the how romance makes people behave shittily when they should be at their best. If you want to grow up and be a better version of yourself, brace yourself for humiliation. I learned that from reading this. Great book.
Scott Gould
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
It feels like I'm always looking for the right word to describe this kind of thing... Self centered? Egocentric maybe? A kind of un-self aware narcissism perhaps. Anyway, that all seems a little harsh. There is a feeling of suburban youth that permeates, but just nothing that really pushes above the sameness.
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really good stuff! I think the last couple essays maybe jump a little far from the tempo established in the first 2/3 of the collection, which focuses on childhood and adolescence. I would have actually loved if there were two books here, the first focusing on childhood and the second expanding on the young adulthood stuff after moving away from her family.
Geoff Little
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Serious young writer to watch now and later. Martin’s grasp of life as a millennial is heartbreaking and funny. Her style is unique and her quirky personality is fully depicted in this touching memoir.
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best essay collections I've ever read. Period. You know when you read someone's writing and it just clicks with you? That's what I felt reading Caca Dolce. Can't wait to check out Chelsea's other work!
Nick Moran
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Going from Eat Only When You're Hungry's treatment of the Orange Blossom Trail to Caca Dolce's treatment of Clearlake was like low brow overload. Chelsea Martin's given a voice to a whole generation of teens - immediately and sometimes uncomfortably recognizable ones at that.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pleasure to read. Very funny and poignant. I felt like Chelsea was telling my story
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm not a writer but I don't need to be because we have Chelsea Martin whose life mirrored mine in so many ways.

I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book makes you realize that you’re not as weird as you thought you were. It felt like reading someone’s journal and identifying with little parts along the way. Enjoyable and funny.
Bud Smith
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
funny vs. sad, a fine smart book looking at a life.
Ryan Bradford
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Super funny and unpretentious. Martin's ability to articulate the funny downward spirals of anxiety are A+. I loved her image of the man climbing the hill and still laugh when I think of it.
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: summer-2018
Duster, grey areas
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