Caca Dolce

Essays from a Lowbrow Life

by Chelsea Martin

List Price: $16.95
Paperback | 5.5 x 8.25 | ISBN 9781593766771

“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

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 crushes in high school; going into debt to afford what might be a meaningless education at an expensive art college; navigating the messy process of falling in love with a close friend; and struggling for independence from her emotionally manipulative father and from the family and friends in the dead-end California town that has defined her upbringing. This is a book about relationships, class, art, sex, money, and family–and about growing up weird, and poor, in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

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

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

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.


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

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.


raise 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

raise 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.


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