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Review & Giveaway: Awkward Family Pet Photos Book!

After careful consideration, from time to time I write a product reviews. If you see it here, it's because, at LEAST I think it's worth you knowing about even if I have an issue with it and, at BEST, I think it's amazing and we should all have one, two or more of whatever it is I'm reviewing. I get NO reimbursement for writing these reviews, though to write a review I am supplied with the item, as I was in this case. This review is MY OPINION, ONLY. The result you experience using this product may differ.


I spent the better (or worse?) part of my life being mortified by my Mother. She seemed to have a camera surgically implanted in her hand at all times. For every moment of my life-my first period, crying over my sandwich not being cut in a DIAGONAL, even one amazing bowel movement-my Mother was always there ready to capture it on film. 140 photo albums and 40+ years later and I have a private (meaning PRIVATE, GOD-FORBID-NOT-TO-SHARE) record of my life.

At the time of each photo, I was told to smile nicely, stand up straight, suck in my gut. I never thought about the polyester two-tone jumpsuit I was wearing, along with my big, clunky glasses. I was always pretty, right? Even with home-done white streaks of highlights in my hair. Who cared if it looked like my hair was a hazard sign in the making?

We all have one or two, or in my case a few thousand of “those” photos where we “can't believe we ever looked like THAT.” Today we look, cool, right?

Mike Bender and Doug Chernack have a keen eye for such vintage fashion flops, helmet hair, what-were-they-thinking compositions in their web site and matching NY Times Best Selling book, “Awkward Family Photos”.

Clearly, once realizing the gold mine they were sitting on, Bender & Chernack began their quest for equally awkward pet photos. There were so many submitted to their web site that these savants of the surreal decided to choose the best, or is that worst? of the bunch and create a separate tome; “Awkward Family Pet Photoswhich will hit bookstores on November, 1, 2011.


Do you really care if this softcover book, at 173 pages, is well (or is that appropriately badly?) designed and printed on good quality paper? If you do/did, then this book is for you! If you have more depth and need actual content, then heck, this book is for you, too.

The authors didn't simply grab photos off their web site and reproduce them, though many are featured in the book. They included images not seen on their site, along with behind-the-awkwardness commentary regarding some of the photos from their contributors. They also asked a veterinarian to offer his take on some of the images, which amps up the awkward-factor.


©2011 By Awkward Family, LLC.

As I turned each page, I had a moment, part flashback to my childhood and part WTF! At first glance, many of the photos seem perfectly normal, if your idea of normal is a parallel universe where everything is slightly off-keel. There are families, posed in a group, dressed to the nines, wearing their best fur coat or matching Dutch girl outfits. Some are holding an object, more often than not it's a beloved pet, but that a TIGER? That is not a tabby...that is a TIGER! A longer glance and the true awkwardness washes over, that toddler isn't simply smiling, facing the camera, oblivious, while a soft-focus pair of horny dogs copulate in the background, right?

©2011 By Awkward Family, LLC.

I have to wonder, if maybe this isn't so much awkward as unvarnished? Is this a crystal clear vision of what life is really like behind closed doors? Did all these people vote in the last election? Do photos like this exist of people and pets in other cultures or is this weirdness exclusive to Americans?

big cat.jpg
©2011 By Awkward Family, LLC.

I hope that Mr. Bender and Mr. Chernack are able to answer that question in a forthcoming book. I'd like to know if it's just us or is the whole world is as awkward?

If you like to laugh out loud while simultaneously feel creeped out and worried about the future of our country, stock up on this book. It's a riot and worth studying, carefully...because you never know, one of those photos may be of you.

If you'd like to WIN a copy of “Awkward Family Pet Photos” simply leave a comment, below. Share your awkward moments if you dare. TWO names will be selected to WIN! You can only leave ONE comment for one chance to win per person. Voting ends NOVEMBER 1, 2011 at 11:11 AM EST and is open to residents of the USA, only (sorry guys!).


In honor of Awkward Family Pet Photos, I thought I'd share a few of mine with you. I left out the photo of me with the striped hair or crying over my sandwich mishap (when I was 4).

©2004 Robin A.F. Olson. One of the worst photos I ever took. Guess Cricket's butthole is powered by the sun.

©2004 Robin A.F. Olson. My dear Stanley, humping Santa Bear. Good times...good times...

06 Mayor of Miami_R,Olson.jpg
©1970 Robin Feminella. This is out of the vault. Yours truly (center) receiving the key to the City of Miami Beach from the Mayor. I had just arrived at the Delta gate from Minnesota to attend The All-American Glamour Kitty Contest with my cat, Tsu Tsu Gamuchi-just moments after she nearly escaped the tarmack a the Miami Airport. And yes, that's a Playboy bunny (left). The “contest” was held at the Playboy Plaza Hotel in Miami Beach. And yes, the telling of this story should be my next book project.

Oh, and make sure you check out Page 134 if you get a copy of the book...I'm just sayin'...


I would love to win a copy of the book but even if I don't you have certainly peaked my interest in buying a copy. Thanks Robin for sharing your photos.

What a brilliant collection! And here I carelessly thought I was the only one who can't seem to photographically navigate my way around a cat butt. Ps your photo has inspired me: I'm bringing my cats with me to accept all future medals/awards!

Looks hilarious! I am sure our pets were more photogenic than the people in my family.

I'd love to have this book if for the only reason is that it makes my familky seem normal!!!

I don't know how ackward this is, but I worked for Nordstrom in the 80s. Yes, the 80s of shoulder pads, dragon lady nails, and earrings the size of hubcaps. A glamor photo was taken of me, apparantly I was considered "Miss Thing" and all that. I found it 8 yrs ago when I going thru my mothers things.

There I was, short spikey almost black hair, very pale skin, smokey eyes, Mac Russian Red lips & nails, HUGE earrings, tons of bracelets. Showing it to a long time friend who shared the 80's with me, we started remembering how we looked. You know when you laugh so hard tears run down your face and you could pee your pants, we kept one-upping each other on bad 80's looks. Good times!

That book looks hilarious, I'd love to add it to my design and "fashion" library. Robin, your blog left me in hysterics. I love any occasion where we can make fun of ourselves, especially now when times are so tough.

I wish I could see that!!!!! Now that you remind me, I used to wear TEAL BLUE eye shadow, then I'd add ORANGE POLKA DOTS to my lids-as if the teal wasn't enough! I had short spikey hair, too and gobs of "madonna-esque" rubber o'ring bracelets! I am almost glad I didn't get many photos of myself back then! :-)

Ya know, I can't think of any one in particular, but I'm sure it has something to do with humping and some friends leg...

I'd like to enter! I love the awkward family photos site :)

That book looks freakin' hilarious! I'd love to have one!!

We rescued a husky/shepard who was a good dog...but she hated my one brother. Every family gathering for years, she would lower her head and growl when she saw him. All we could think is that he reminded her of whoever had mistreated her all those years before.

we had an American Eskimo. She was yappy, but faithful and loved to be with the family. One day, while swimming in the lake ( to where she had been infinite number of times), she was standing at the top of a 20 foot hill next to a set of steps down to the pier. We called to her to come join us...She took a flying leap off the hill and landed on the cement pier. no broken bones but sprained herself pretty much all over. This same dog was dog napped a few years later. and returned to a local dog shelter about 4 days later with a hoarse bark. She was apparently too annoying even for dog nappers.

I'd love to win the book and share with dad and my pet loving children!!! Who doesn't look back at the pictures of the 80's (and 70's for some of us) and laugh at how we looked? We looked great - or so we thought!!!

I want to enter! I didn't realize my cat Mickey was humping my arm, I thought he was just being friendly! A very awkward moment!

My Benny is young, so we have plenty more years to create some embarrassing moments. But Benny and I want this book so we can cuddle in bed and giggle at the pictures while keeping my boyfriend up =)

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