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Awkward Family Photos Paperback – May 4, 2010

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Editorial Reviews Review

Jennifer Weiner Reviews Awkward Family Photos

Jennifer Weiner was born in 1970 on an army base in Louisiana. She grew up in Connecticut and graduated with a degree in English literature from Princeton University. She is the author of the novels Good In Bed (2001), In Her Shoes (2002), which was turned into a major motion picture starring Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley MacLaine; Little Earthquakes (2004), Goodnight Nobody (2005), the short story collection The Guy Not Taken (2006), Certain Girls (2008), the sequel to Good in Bed, and her most recent, Best Friends Forever (2009). Her next book, Fly Away Home, will be published by Atria Books on July 13, 2010. There are more than 11 million copies of her books in print in 36 countries. She can be found on Facebook, on Twitter, and, in real life, in Philadelphia, where she lives with her family. Read her review of Awkward Family Photos:

Samuel Butler once said "Every man’s work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself."

If that’s true, than God help Mike Bender and Doug Chernack, who waded into the toxic slurry of bad mullets, spiral perms, skin conditions, leg warmers, wet pants, creepy Moms, funny uncles, and truly disturbing Santas, and came back with this hilarious collection of awkward family photos. Awkward Family Photos reminds anyone with a dusty shoebox full of snapshots of unfortunate fashion choices, band trips, braces, bad bridesmaids’ dresses and that one time you got talked into dressing up and going to the Renaissance Faire, that you are not alone. This isn’t just a book, it’s a public service on the page, a living, breathing, laugh-out-loud reminder that no matter how badly you dressed, how oddly you posed, and how weird Uncle Dave who lived in the basement was, somebody out there had it worse. Particularly the girl on page 77.


"This is the best book of embarrassing and strange photos of people who look like my family that I have ever seen."
—Judd Apatow 

"Being a test tube baby doesn't seem such a bad idea after looking at these folks. I laughed till it hurt. To paraphrase Tolstoy... every family is freaky in its own way. There's so much love here- but maybe a little more pain, or desperation, or bewilderment. I often feel slightly sad or guilty that I'm not closer with my own family- but looking at this bunch I sense we all have something in common and I'm far from being alone."
—David Byrne

"Awkwardness has never looked so cool.  Finally there's a book that celebrates the cringe-worthy family photo we all have buried in an album somewhere."
— Amanda Goldberg, New York Times bestselling author of Celebutantes

"Anything that both makes me laugh and think my family isn't so embarrassing deserves to be a book."
—Joel Stein, Time magazine columnist

"I wept with laughter fourteen times while reading this book and snorted aloud twice. I dare you to find a higher weep/snort ratio in any other publication."
—Karen McCullah Lutz, screenwriter of Legally Blonde and The Ugly Truth

"Awkward Family Photos is the funniest book that I've read in a long time. It reminds you that it's okay to laugh at yourself and celebrates the family that made you awkward in the first place."
—Mia Kirshner, The L Word 

"Awkward Family Photos is absolutely hysterical, yet at the same time, it's a stunningly accurate photographic record of the late 20th century American family.  Now I can be certain I was not alone in my awkwardness."
—Adam Herz, Writer, American Pie I, II, III

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View sample pages from Awkward Family Photos. [PDF]

Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; Reprint Edition edition (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307592294
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307592293
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Related Media

More About the Author

Mike Bender is a screenwriter whose credits include "Not Another Teen Movie" and the MTV Movie Awards. He created the hit website with childhood friend Doug Chernack in May 2009 after seeing an awkward vacation photo hung in his parent's house.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By JKT TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love the website and I had known about that before knowing there was a companion book. So when I saw there was a book too I knew I'd enjoy it.

The book takes all the old family photos you remember and displays them with funny and sometimes very apt comments. A very delightful read, and it may bring to mind some of your own less fantastic family portraits. I especially love the ones from teh 1970's. That seems to be the funniest decade to me, and I have some doosies from back then too.

Over and above the photos there are humorous anticdoes people have sent in about the funny moments that happened in their families, many I think we can all identify with. The dad who makes an awkward joke, the aunt who always says exactly what is on her mind, or the cheap grandparents who regift presents.

I would recommend this book to anyone. The humor is pretty universal and you won't find much offensive. Just poking fun at family photos and our family quirks.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Marblehead VINE VOICE on April 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It was inevitable that the folks at awkward family photos would convert their popular website into a book. For the most part, it's hilarious. It's more or less just like the website with photo after photo of people of all ages showing off their highly questionable tastes, and then capturing these low moments for eternal posterity. If I had one complaint it would be that the captions seem less creative and biting than those you find on the website. Maybe I'm imagining this, but part of what makes the website so funny is the commentary through the captions, and the book seems to be a little more family friendly.
Something new that gets introduced in this print version is the authors letting some of the people in the photos make comments on their own pictures. While this is a good idea in theory, it doesn't really work. The random people make pedestrian comments on their own photos, and the book loses a lot of its humor and charm in the process.
Having said that, if you're a frequent visitor of the website, this book is a must buy. The photos in this book all seem to be exclusive to the print version, and there are some definite classics in here!
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Theresa M. Studer on April 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As you start reading the introduction to this book you'll find yourself chuckling but as you get futher into it you will be laughing out loud to strange looks from your dear hubby or dear children or for that matter anyone within hearing distance. Some of the pictures are just above and beyond hysterical and the captions with them are perfect. I can actually picture myself in some of the circumstances with which the photos had been taken. I'm sure if I went digging through my family photo albums I would find some hilarious moments trapped in motion that will never be forgotten. Oh and I'm sure there will be a few that I wish would be forgotten but good gosh if you can't have a sense of humor and laugh then you're missing out on a major joy in life. This book will give you joy, laughter and a number of looks from those you love or are near to gain there interest. The one thing I suggest is that you have a box of tissues to wipe those tears of laughter and make sure there is a bathroom nearby as you might just piddle by accident. Enjoy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By P. Kingsriter on April 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Let's face it: Chances are good that somewhere in a shoebox in the crawlspace of your parents' place is a photo you wish no one would ever see. EVER. Be it your once high-style haircut, that "amazing" sweater, that time when the camera snapped at exactly the wrong time to capture your weirdest face ever...

Well, you're in luck! One quick flip through AWKWARD FAMILY PHOTOS, and that picture is gonna look a whole lot better!

This is a case when the title really says it all. The photos contained in this book are truly remarkable in that they put us all on hilarious (and cringe-inducing) display. Based on the popular website of the same name, AWKWARD FAMILY PHOTOS is an homage to the family album, the one you wished didn't exist. Organized by category (ie: The Family Portrait, Mom & Dad, Grandma & Grandpa, The Vacation, Weddings, The Family Pet, etc...), each photo has something to smirk at. See the family black sheep on proud display! Marvel at the horrific matching outfits! Be amazed by the person who really THOUGHT they were cool! Wonder at the oddly inappropriate expression! What father in their right mind would ever wear THAT?! Mullets, mullets, and more mullets! View the pose that at one time SEEMED like a good idea! And the most frequent question of all: "WHAT THE HECK?!"

The photos range from sublimely delightful to downright painful (in a snort-its-so-funny sort of way). You'll laugh. You'll want to share this with friends so you can suffer together. You'll probably see shadows of yourself in more places that you imagined. Well, at least you'll see your crazy Uncle Chuck.
Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Adrianne on May 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
Love the pictures but really love the short stories that are added in. Mike and Doug did an amazing job encouraging people to share their very personal and embarrasing stories. I would love to see what these people look like now. I can't wait to go through my photos and submit them for the follow up book.
This is a great book to give to your extended family to help the "awkward" family dinners.
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