Title: A Field Guide to Awkward Silences
Author: Alexandra Petri
Publication Date: June 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Afraid of rejection? Alexandra Petri has auditioned for America’s Next Top Model. Afraid of looking like an idiot? Alexandra Petri lost Jeopardy! by answering “Who is that dude?” on national TV. Afraid of bad jokes? Alexandra Petri won an international pun championship.
Petri has been a debutante, reenacted the Civil War, and fended off suitors at a Star Wars convention while wearing a Jabba the Hutt suit. One time, she let some cult members she met on the street baptize her, just to be polite. She’s a connoisseur of the kind of awkwardness that most people spend whole lifetimes trying to avoid. If John Hodgman and Amy Sedaris had a baby…they would never let Petri babysit it. But Petri is here to tell you: Everything you fear is not so bad. Trust her. She’s tried it. And in the course of her misadventures, she’s learned that there are worse things out there than awkwardness—and that interesting things start to happen when you stop caring what people think.
It’s nice to break up the steady stream of novels with the light, funny collection of personal anecdotes that Petri’s book provides. A Field Guide to Awkward Silences will resonate with anyone who’s every felt out of place, who’s never gotten the knack of social interaction, or who’s always fully embraced that wacky, fun side without thoughts of social repercussions. Petri often pushes social awkwardness to the extreme, trying to fail on America’s Got Talent, auditioning for America’s Next Top Model, attending the a whistling convention, participating in a pun-a-thon.
I’ve given this book 3 and a half stars because I don’t think that everyone will connect with every essay and story that Petri shares. There were a few stories I couldn’t quite relate with and so the story began to drag. It’s a hard book to read all in one go. I think I could have enjoyed it more if I could have read each individual anecdote as blog posts, or just picked the book up intermittently between other reads.
Aside from this, Petri has a voice that’s relatable. I felt like I understood her and wanted to be friends with her. She seems like a fun and silly person to be around. I loved her description of her friends and family in her life who have come to know her antics and now just go with the flow. Petri will bring a smile to your face with her recollections and with every turn of the page she’ll have you wondering just what she’s going to get up to next.