Real Artists Have Day Jobs
by Sara Benincasa
Expected Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Length: 272 pages
Publisher: William Morrow
Obtained Via: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for honest review consideration. This in no way affected my final opinion of the work.
View at the Traffic light:
While the practical aspects of new adulthood can be nerve-wracking—dating, job-hunting, money-managing—the most important task of all is figuring out who you are and where you fit in the world. Author and comedian Sara Benincasa, now in her mid-thirties, had an absolutely harrowing early twenties and now, on the other side, she has a LOT of hard-earned wisdom and common sense to share.
Real Artists Have Day Jobs includes 52 witty, provocative essays on how to live like a real adult—especially for those who have chosen a slightly more offbeat path to get there. Chock full of information and advice, Sara’s warm, smart, empathetic, and quirky voice is relatable to everyone from twenty-somethings and recent college grads to anyone a bit older who’s still trying to figure things out. While Sara doesn’t have all of life’s answers, this indispensable book has more than its share!
This collection of essays somehow managed to both be exactly what I was expecting and yet something completely different at the same time. While Benincasa’s essays are on a variety of topic, there are some common threads that run through the collection, which really brings it together as a cohesive whole. I didn’t love every essay, but the ones I loved I REALLY loved, and know that I’ll return to again and again.
I also really appreciate that I felt that these were in fact essays, and not something that would be better as a blog post(which is always sort of hit-or-miss with me in this kind of informal, conversational non-fiction). Even though Benincasa talks a lot about her own experiences, she always goes the extra mile and ties it back into the theme, which keeps it from falling into the trap of being a fractured memoir. And of course, she is *really* funny–one of the only authors who can make me actually laugh out loud(I already knew that though).
I’m not going to talk too much about the actual contents of the book because part of reading essays and this particular genre of non-fiction is the discovery and finding out what works for you. I think if you like personal nonfiction and you’re okay with it varying between comedy, self-help, and just a dash of memoir, Real Artists Have Day Jobs is worth picking up. The topics covered are broad enough that there’s something for everyone(and while I love the titular essay, not all the essays are about artists or creative people). For me, the highlights of the collection were the following essays: Real Artists Have Day Jobs, Everything is Intersectional, Elect Your Own Executive Board, When People Tell You Who They Are Believe Them, Listen, and The Darkness is Where the Good Stuff Starts.
Real Artists Have Day Jobs is an excellent essay collection that is worth picking up or borrowing. While there were a few essays I didn’t have strong feelings about, there were a good handful I really, really loved and think other people will too. 4/5 cupcakes.