By Emily Flake. Published by Viking.
Hardcover, 128 pages, Prose with B&W illustrations, 2019.
A Lit Hub “Most Anticipated Books of 2019”
A Read It Forward “Perfect Gifts for a White Elephant Exchange”
From New Yorker humorist Emily Flake, a hilarious, oddly enlightening book of illustrations, observations, and advice that embraces the inescapable awkwardness of two human beings attempting to make physical contact with each other.
We’ve all been there.
You encounter the mother of your recent ex. That guy your best friend dated sophomore year. That friend-of-a-friend who you’ve met once but keeps popping up in your “People You May Know” feed.
Do you shake hands? Do you hug? Do you–horrors–kiss on the cheek? And then the inevitable: The awkward hug. That cultural blight we’ve all experienced.
Emily Flake–keen observer of human behavior and life’s less-than-triumphant moments–codifies the most common awkward hugs that have plagued us all. Filled with laugh-out-loud anecdotes and illustrations, astute observations, and wise advice, That Was Awkward is a heartwarming reminder that we’re all in this together, grasping hastily at each other in an attempt to say: let’s embrace to remind ourselves of our essential and connecting humanity, but also, please don’t touch me for more than three seconds.
“Looking for a laugh? Pick up That Was Awkward, a book of illustrations, observations, and advice by New Yorker cartoonist Emily Flake. Flake chronicles the hilarious awkwardness of two humans trying to connect.”
“Before the eggnog starts flowing this holiday season, arm yourself with Emily Flake’s That Was Awkward. It will make you laugh, cringe, and think twice before you do the handshake-or-hug hokey pokey.”
“The New Yorker’s Emily Flake takes a lighthearted deep-dive into the common horrors of embarrassing physical contact—including, of course, awkward hugs—what these interactions can signify, and what they feel like. (That is, very, very awkward.) It happens to everyone, Flake reminds us, and we might as well laugh about it.”
—Read It Forward
“It isn’t hard to recognize yourself—and everyone you know—in these hilarious portraits of awkward huggers. Sincerely funny, sly and subversive, Emily Flake perfectly captures the plight of our perpetually embarrassing rituals of connection.”
“Wise and wildly funny, That Was Awkward is Emily Flake at her best, deconstructing modern life with a needle-sharp wit but a warm heart. That Was Awkward is indispensable, brilliant, and delightful.”
—Susan Orlean, author of The Library Book
“Brilliant and weird! Yet again, the beloved Emily Flake has nailed it. As a hugger, (awkward most of the time), I feel understood AND simultaneously able to laugh at myself, thanks to this book. If looking for a guide on how to better navigate your way through this world of strange embraces, and also chortle whilst drinking coffee, take Flake’s book home with you pronto!”
—Mira Ptacin, author of Poor Your Soul and The In-Betweens
“Get it as a gift for whoever the last person is that you tried to air kiss, but then you misjudged which side to start on and you box your heads against each other. It’s great.”
—Dan Kois (on the Slate podcast Mom and Dad Are Fighting)