“When someone suggested I was cool, I couldn’t help thinking, What the fuck is your problem? But there was part of me that believed that I was the one who was wrong about me. When I was depressed, or felt like a complete piece of shit, there has always been a small but persistent voice saying, You’re actually kind of great.”
Caca Dolce tells the story of Chelsea Martin’s coming of age as a writer and artist. In these essays, Chelsea is an eleven-year-old atheist, trying to will aliens to visit her neighborhood; grappling with a Tourette’s diagnosis as she becomes a teenager; falling under the sway of frenemies and crushes in high school; questioning the point of (and trying to afford) art school; navigating the weirdness of falling in love with a friend; and struggling for independence from her emotionally manipulative father and from the dead-end California town where she grew up. From a cult favorite and indie-press bestseller who has been called “the preeminent chronicler of Internet-age malaise” (Lena Dunham) and “an exquisite original” (Chloe Caldwell), Caca Dolce is a candid, tender, and very funny book about relationships, class, art, sex, money, and family.
A lesser writer would tell these stories as cute anecdotes . . . But these essays [probe] deeply into not just Martin’s own experiences but what these experiences say about more complex themes such as place, class, and identity.
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.
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.
Chelsea Martin is one of the best American writers alive. Savage and sharp, tender and hilarious, Caca Dolce is a book like she’s never written before. You’ll only think one thing after reading it. Chelsea Martin can do anything.
Martin chronicles her own bizarre upbringing in such a way that the strangeness of it all manages to still feel universal. 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.
The author takes a hard look at her youth, chronicling the tumult and hardship that modern American life visits on the young . . . the arc of growing self-awareness lends the story both gravity and an odd appeal.
Chelsea Martin delivers neon electric jolts of reality in deadpan perfection. Refreshing, hilarious, self-deprecating, as far from pretentious as you can get.
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.
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.
If David Sedaris were younger, hipper, and had once subscribed to Cat Fancy, he might write like this.
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.
Martin’s tragicomic essays on everything . . . evoke a misfit’s paradise.
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.
Readers who gobbled down Chelsea Martin’s Mickey should sink their teeth into Caca Dolce, which features the American writer at her candid and erudite best.
Booklist Editors’ Choice Adult Books for Young Adults, 2017
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.
Deeply personal scenes from a riotously dysfunctional quarter-life.
Martin’s honest writing exists above the confines of fear and social norms. She taps into the consciousness of her past selves with precision and care. A sure hit for fans of Sara Benincasa’s Agorafabulous! and Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl.
The person I most related to besides the narrator was your father and step-father. 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.
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.
Martin, a writer who’s earned a cult following with her books Mickey and Even Though I Don’t Miss You [brings] 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.