Audiobook Review: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
ashley | I’ve had this ongoing obsession with Amanda Palmer for years. I’ve never been a diehard fan of her music, but I’ve loved her as an artist, for how vocal she is and the impact she’s had (good or bad) on everything she touches. I was given a copy of The Art of Asking years ago and I don’t know why it took me this long to read it.
In terms of content, the book initially seems to just sort of regurgitate Palmer’s accomplishments, especially anything to do with crowdfunding. But there’s a lot more between the lines and as you keep reading, you start to see how this all sort of comes together, what it is Palmer is trying to do by sharing these stories. I was in awe reading about some of the responses, both good and bad, that she received on a personal level as a result of this work. These stories were touching and inspiring and beautiful, and even sometimes heartbreaking.
I’m also a huge fan of Neil Gaiman, so their coming together has always been something very sweet for me. I like that Neil was mentioned often in the book. I like that Palmer doesn’t sugar coat it and lays their flaws and miscommunications right out there on the table. She doesn’t pretend they have a perfect marriage or that they always have it together and I admire her honesty and bravery in admitting her doubts, her confusion, her insecurities.
As with any book I read by an artist, I was hoping to wield some form of inspiration from this. I definitely felt inspired after finishing it, but not in the way I expected. I thought I would read a book full of insights from Palmer, pulling inspiration from her life and her journey. And while it’s been an epic journey and I felt a personal deep connection with her, I actually drew much more inspiration from the people in her life and her ability to surround herself with such beautiful, creative and giving people – from friends to fans.
Palmer, like every other person out there, is very transparently just trying to figure out her own life and express herself in the best ways she knows how. She doesn’t have a bag of her own wise insights of self discovery; she shares what she has learned from those around her. She’s still trying to discover herself, live independently within her marriage, trying to find balance between life and art and everything else.
I quickly realized that this book isn’t really about Palmer herself and it isn’t really about art or artistry, it’s about humans and humanity. It’s about that need and desire we all have to connect to someone, to be seen, to feel real. In that sense, this was such a wise and fulfilling book, giving me something I didn’t realize I needed, but am so happy to embrace.
november 11, 2014