Under the Cover: Wedding Bells & Books, a match made in superhero heaven!

In celebration of the tenth anniversary of Andrew Kaufman’s All My Friends Are Superheroes, Coach House Books publicist Evan Munday shares with All Lit Up a sweet story of how this book became a big part of a very big day for two couples.


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In celebration of the tenth anniversary of Andrew Kaufman’s All My Friends Are Superheroes, Coach House Books publicist Evan Munday shares with the LPG a sweet story of how this book became a big part of a very big day for two couples.


Summer is peak wedding season. Odds are, if you’re reading this post, at least one (or more) of your summer weekends have been overtaken (i.e., ruined) by a friend or relative’s nuptials. That is valuable book-reading time! But dressing up in formal wear and dancing to Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies‘ need not be mutually exclusive to literature.

The average wedding will involve at least a little something literary: maybe there’s a reading from a book (often Corinthians 13 from The Book), maybe you’ll write a message in a guest book at the reception – we’ve even seen wedding photos taken at a charming bookstore. But only the most unapologetically bookish have thought to use books as their party favours. Instead of the more traditional candles, boxes of candy or CDs, some bookworms have actually used copies of their favourite book as favours for their wedding guests. At Coach House Books, we’ve witnessed at least three couples buying books in bulk for their wedding, and it’s always the same title: All My Friends Are Superheroes.

First published in 2003, All My Friends Are Superheroes is the first book from talented writer Andrew Kaufman (Born Weird, The Waterproof Bible). Now available in an illustrated, tenth anniversary edition, the sweetly romantic book concerns the troubled marriage of newlyweds Tom and his superhero wife, The Perfectionist. See, at their wedding, the Perfectionist was hypnotized (by her ex-boyfriend Hypno) to believe that Tom is invisible. Six months later, she’s sure that Tom has abandoned her, and she boards a plane to Vancouver, leaving the life in Toronto she and Tom hoped to build together. And Tom has just until the plane lands on the west coast to convince The Perfectionist that he’s visible, or he loses her forever.

We contacted two of the three couples to find out exactly why Andrew Kaufman’s debut novel spoke to them as a wedding favour. What about his idiosyncratic novella made it the perfect symbol of their marital unity?

Edwin and Jenn were married in Vancouver in 2009. They contacted Coach House via email about a bulk order of All My Friends Are Superheroes a few months before the big day. ‘I took Sheila Heti’s comments on the back cover ("I expect this story will replace boxes of chocolates and flowers in courting rituals to come") to heart,’ Edwin says. ‘So in place of sweets for our first date, I shared the book with Jenn.’ Given the central role the book played in their early courting (yes, we just used the word ‘courting’), it became a natural choice for party favour. ‘Once Edwin suggested All My Friends Are Superheroes as a wedding favour, we knew it was the ideal gift,’ Jenn says. ‘It’s a sweet love story that involves a wedding. The book and its characters mean a lot to us … it’s light-hearted, quirky and had a happy ending.’

Another couple took inspiration from Edwin and Jenn’s lead. Leigh and Andrew were married in Toronto in 2011. ‘I work at Coach House (nepotism alert!),’ Leigh admits. ‘I’d heard about someone else buying the books for wedding favours. Given that we’re both writers and avid readers, it seemed like a natural fit. We wanted to give our guests something that would last longer than candied almonds.’ The wedding setting and quirky, heartfelt romance also appealed to them. ‘For me the best part is when The Perfectionist presents Tom with two boxes, one marked Friend and the other Lover,’ Leigh says. ‘What Tom does with those boxes is, in my mind, the perfect metaphor for what a marriage is.’

Edwin and Jenn took their All My Friends Are Superheroes love a step further, incorporating it into the reception’s theme. ‘We made guest tags for our friends and family that read things like, "You’re our superhero friend who fights cavities, tartar and bad breath!,’ Edwin remembers. (Let’s assume that was about a dentist friend of theirs.) The superhero thing has come up more than once in their marriage. ‘We often stress the fact that marriage is about teamwork,’ Jenn mentions. ‘I joke that Edwin is "Big Ideas" and I am "Fine Print." That’s why we work well together.’

How did the guests at both weddings like the unorthodox party favours? ‘Most folks loved it,’ Andrew says. ‘And we got to watch with joy as our friends and family read the book for the first time after our wedding. One of my favourite parts of the wedding was when one of the servers sheepishly asked us at the end of the night if she could have one of the extra copies of the book.’ Andrew and Leigh, obviously, obliged.

The missing component of the story is the author, Andrew Kaufman. How does he feel about his first novel being given out to wedding guests across Canada?

‘I totally get it and I kinda love it,’ Kaufman says. ‘I wrote it because I was scared to get married — the whole story is just working through my fears around making a life-long commitment, trying to figure out if it’s a good thing to do and then how to do it. So when people give it away at weddings, it makes me feel like I pulled it off, that I captured something.’

But perhaps more than anything, All My Friends Are Superheroes makes a good favour because it also, as Edwin and Jenn note, provides solid wedding advice: ‘Do not, under any circumstances, invite ex-partners to the wedding!’

So, if you’re in the midst of wedding planning, or know a book lover who is, maybe a favourite book could be the memorable wedding favour they didn’t even know they were looking for!

Evan recommends some other Canadian books that could make good wedding favours:

DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains by Natalie Zina Walschots – this book is especially perfect if one of the couple is a supervillain. Like if you were attending the wedding of Aunt May and Dr. Octopus.

Pulpy and Midge by Jessica Westhead – the sweet couple of Brian ‘Pulpy’ Lembeck and Midge … is threatened by more unusual work stresses than normal, but (spoiler alert), their love perseveres.

Love Ruins Everything by Karen X. Tulchinsky – Nomi, a sweet but broken-hearted lesbian, gets involved in AIDS activism and maybe starts to believe in love again after a few chance encounters at her mother’s second wedding.

The End of the Alphabet by CS Richardson – a beautifully designed little book for lovers of love and words. Older couple Ambrose and ‘Zipper’ embark on an A to Z journey (Amsterdam to Zanzibar) around the world when Ambrose learns he’s contracted a terminal disease.

Mambo Italiano by Steve Gallucio – perfect for the many Italian same-sex weddings you’ll be attending. The groundbreaking play looks at family dynamics and the gap between old world and new in what manages to be both a touching comedy and powerful drama.

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch – you’ll want your wedding guests to know that your love will last forev — wait! What is this book about?


Thank you to Jenn & Edwin and Leigh & Andrew for giving us a peek inside their special days; to author Andrew Kaufman for his thoughts; and Coach House Books staffers Evan Munday and Heidi Waechtler for putting this all together!

_______Edited from the original post, published on the LPG blog