How to Be Awkward by Amanda Turner
What's it About?A humorous yet insightful collection of essays, taking readers through some of the author’s most humiliating and awkward life experiences.
In a world where we are constantly striving for perfection, held to high standards and compared to others, Amanda Turner reminds us that it is okay to laugh at ourselves every once in a while. In How to Be Awkward (Fever Streak Press), a laugh-out-loud collection of essays, Turner takes readers through some of her most humiliating and awkward life experiences.
“Disclaimer: This book is not intended for the super cool,” the back cover reads in large letters, warning readers that this will not be your typical self-help book. Quite the opposite of cool, Turner explains that “if your spirit animal is a blobfish or you regularly and inexplicably choke on your own saliva,” then this may just be the book for you.
A Laugh-Out-Loud Read
Many of the essays in How to Be Awkward have appeared previously in other publications and while each can be enjoyed separately, the author brings them together to create a comprehensive and lighthearted account of her life. She takes everyday experiences and tasks, always managing to put a humorous twist on the way we think of them, detailing her own awkward experiences.
From broken glasses and bad haircuts in her childhood, to shopping for mattresses with her mother and boyfriend, to being a mother herself, Turner makes it clear that her life has not been lacking in embarrassing moments. She writes about each experience in a clever way that proves relatable to any person who has experienced embarrassment or awkwardness in his or her life.
Valuable Lessons to Be Learned
Though she is often self-deprecating in the recounts of her life experiences, Turner does offer some real insight and good advice to readers, despite her rejection of “self-helpers.” It turns out that her awkward interactions and experiences did not come without valuable life lessons.
She writes of playing card games with her parents. Her father would never let her win, while she found it quite easy and effortless to beat her mother. While these may not seem like “great lessons that prepared [her] for the corporate world or the real world, they were equally valuable.”
Turner explains that “regardless of whether you win or lose, a situation can be any combination of unbearable, pointless and aggravating if you don’t know how to navigate it with a sense of humor.” She reminds us not to take life too seriously as we will all make mistakes and humiliate ourselves. In these instances, we can choose to be upset or we can choose to laugh at ourselves and make the best of a seemingly bad situation.
The author’s work as a vacuum salesperson also taught her a valuable lesson in pushing the boundaries of her own comfort zone. She humorously details her experience knocking on doors and selling vacuums, ultimately realizing door-to-door sales was not her calling.
“Eventually, I came to terms with the fact that while it’s healthy to go outside your comfort zone, that doesn’t necessarily mean that what you do on a day-to-day basis, how you make your living, should be outside your comfort zone.” She implies that you should love what you do for a living. You should not dread getting up for work every day. It is this realization in light of her awkward sales experience that prompts Turner to begin writing, because that is what she truly loves to do.
Awkward Is the New Cool
In her final essay of this collection, titled “I Just Realized I’ll Never Be Cool,” Turner has accepted that she may never be “cool.” “I’ve made peace with a lack of cool, because I’ve got awkward down pat.” She emphasizes that being cool is overrated and that no one is perfect. Even the “coolest” people have their fair share of awkward encounters. Amanda Turner concludes How To be Awkward by exclaiming, “Well, I have it on good authority that awkward is the new cool.”
About Amanda Turner:
Amanda is the New York Times bestselling author of the Vagabonding with Kids series (Brown Books) as well as This Little Piggy Went to the Liquor Store, Mommy Had a Little Flask, and Hair of the Corn Dog (Fever Streak Press). Her works have received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, IPPY Awards in Humor and Travel, a Foreword Indies Award, an Independent Press Distinguished Favorite, and listing in BookLife’s Top 5 Indie Books of 2014. She’s traveled to Greece, Ireland, France, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, and Italy, and completed extended trips (two months or more) to Russia, Palau, Vanuatu, Mexico, Morocco, England, Spain, Australia, and Brazil.
Amanda speaks at conferences and in live comedy events. A former Writer-in-Residence for the City of Boise and Idaho State Parks, she lives in Idaho with her husband and two children, but travels frequently as a part-time digital nomad.