Benjamin Anastas is the author of Too Good to be True, a memoir described by The New York Times as “smart and honest and searching,” and “so plaintive and raw it will leave most writers… with heart palpitations.” He has written two novels, An Underachiever’s Diary, and The Faithful Narrative of a Pastor’s Disappearance, as well as multiple reviews and essays, one of which, “Boys with a Synth,” is published in Issue 06 of The Common. Melody Nixon talked with Anastas about his skepticism for social media, the role of the writer in society, and memoir as fiction’s “whiny and embarrassing stepchild.”
The Overachieving Underachiever: An Interview with Benjamin Anastas
I went to buy the Roland Juno-6 with my best friend Michael the summer I was sixteen, before either one of us had a driver’s license. Other boys saved their house-painting money and bought an electric guitar with a starter amp. Or a five-piece drum kit, if they had the kind of parents who tolerated an unholy racket in the basement. Michael and I had earned eight dollars an hour for two weeks to stain a cottage on the Cape, a mythic payday that had sent us whooping and hollering into the waves, and I wanted to buy a synthesizer with my share of the windfall.