5.5 x 8.3
208 Pgs
$22.95 CAD/$19.95 USD

A dreamy exploration of relationships and jealousy . . . pithy and deadpan . . .
It's no self-help book." —Salon

What's left when a relationship ends? Where does jealousy come from? Delicately and sensitively, Leanne Shapton (Swimming Studies) ruminates on ex-lovers, and our lovers' ex-lovers. A few expressive pencil lines outline a long-abandoned winter coat here, an ineffably alluring Mona Lisa smile there. Each double page describes the way all exes are captured: as impossible to live up to as a Polaroid taken at a flattering angle. 

This new paperback edition of Was She Pretty? brings the reader deep into a circle of phantoms: its intimate liaisons, embarrassing secrets, and sardonic anecdotes. Shapton introduces the obsessives and the dilettantes, the poets and the actresses, the people with great hair and the people with idiosyncratic clothes. As funny as it is insightful, Was She Pretty? speaks to a central human concern: How do we compare? Elegantly drawn and perfectly narrated, the pages of Was She Pretty? are a testimonial to the power of observation and misapprehension.

Praise for Was She Pretty?

Shapton's Was She Pretty? explores that painful behavior that we just can't seem to quit with thoughtful sketches that cut right to the heart of how we love.

XO Jane

Deceptively complex and uncommonly elegant, Was She Pretty? is a series of gorgeous line drawings, most of men and women...Together, these brief encounters with the other tell a story about the difficulty of accepting that those we love have loved before — and of recognizing the ugly truth that they may love again.

Jacob Brogan, Washington Post

It is exactly as devastating as when it was originally published. In as little as three sentences, Shapton can tell us everything a current lover thinks they know about the former. 

National Post

timeless, cosmopolitan art and elegant ... prose


In just a handful of words or a flick of the pen, Shapton stabs you in the gut, bleeding out the pettiness that pulses below the surface of the skin typically hidden behind a thin membrane of decorum.


Was She Pretty? is a great read if you want a voyeuristic tour of other people’s exes, and it may even help you through your own jealousy.


Shapton quietly plumbs all the familiar trappings of the guilty fascinations we develop with those who came before.

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