kat's Reviews > The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help

The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let... by Amanda Palmer
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review

liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2015, owned-ebook

I wouldn't call myself a fan of Amanda Palmer. The Dresden Dolls was never really my jam; when she ended up on my radar it was because she married Neil Gaiman -- of whom I definitely *am* a fan, and whose blog and Twitter I've followed for years and years.

The vast majority of what I know about her is what I've learned through the words of a fantastic writer who loves her. Thus, I already want to like her... but while I don't dislike her, I'm not sure I like her. It's complicated.

What I think of Amanda Palmer is this: She's fierce. She's independent. She's brave. She's imperfect. She doesn't always practice what she preaches (showing up, really hearing what others are saying to her, being compassionate). She's raw. She's unapologetically herself (for better or for worse). She puts herself out there. She's contradictory.

I know she's said some bullshit. I know she's fallen into the trap (seen often with stand-up comedians, but a danger to any performer) of, secure in the reality-distorting bubble of her fanbase, writing off those who point out problematic behavior as trolls or haters merely looking for something to be offended by.

I also know that a lot of the criticism of her is distinctly gendered. She's loud. She's unashamed of her body. She doesn't do what she's told, she doesn't know her place. She breaks the rules. She's emotional, self-absorbed, confrontational.

For better or for worse, AFP is indeed a Personality. But unequivocally, I do like what she's preaching: radical empathy, vulnerability, gifting instead of profit, opening up to each other instead of closing each other out. The radical notion that authentic human connection is more valuable than money.

In the end I do want to like her. Because Neil loves her, because of the odd song or story that speaks to me, because I think her anti-capitalist radical empathy is revolutionary and interesting and important. But I mostly want to like her, somehow, paradoxically, for all the reasons she makes me uncomfortable: because she's abrasive, she's messy, she overshares. Because I disagree with her about some things. Because I'm not sure I "get" her. Because parts of this book did strike me as disingenuous, self-indulgent, or myopic. Because I'm maybe a little jealous of her fearlessness and her honesty, of her willingness to confront the world head-on. Because I can't easily sort her into a neatly-defined little box.

I realize this is more a review of the person than the book, but hey, it's a memoir, so the lines get blurred.
64 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

July 3, 2015 – Started Reading
July 5, 2015 – Shelved
July 5, 2015 – Shelved as: read-in-2015
July 5, 2015 – Finished Reading
January 2, 2018 – Shelved as: owned-ebook

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Melissa Stacy Fascinating review! Thanks for sharing! :D

message 2: by Che (new) - rated it 1 star

Che Well written review

back to top