cover image The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help

The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help

Amanda Palmer. Grand Central, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4555-8108-5

Performance artist and Dresden Dolls singer Palmer reflects on her career and shares insight into the economy of shared resources in this sometimes insightful but overly self-indulgent memoir. Beginning in Harvard Square performing as a human statue, Palmer first observed a “subterranean financial ecosystem” of sharing. She found a similar environment at the “Cloud Club,” an artists’ commune where her band performed its first gigs and shot a music video to which residents loaned their various talents. As a touring musician, Palmer became familiar with asking fans for “crash space” and meals, as when a Honduran family in Miami offered the crew their beds and treated them to “tortilla lessons” in the morning. Palmer delivers a master class on harnessing technology for artistic purposes, explaining how to turn crowdfunding, Twitter, and digital music downloads to your advantage. She makes valid points about the controversial Kickstarter that raised 1 million dollars for her solo album, but remains utterly obtuse regarding the poor reception of a poem written in the voice of one of the Boston Marathon bombers she posted to her blog. Palmer’s worthy message that “asking is an act of intimacy and trust” is often obscured by an overly confessional, borderline narcissistic tone unlikely to placate her critics.[em] Agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House. (Nov.)[/em]