Friday, April 5, 2013

Book Review: All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman (1999)

I was browsing the new release section of my local Indie bookstore last week when I came across Born Weird by Andrew Kaufman, another in a line of charming if a little hip stories that stretches back to 1999 with the release of one of my favourite book discoveries of 2012, All My Friends Are Superheroes. A very slight book it is filled with smiles and deserves to be read by everyone, a truly charming romance. So I dusted off an old book review to give you a little nudge.

All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blurb: All Tom's friends really are superheroes.

There's the Ear, the Spooner, the Impossible Man. Tom even married a superhero, the Perfectionist. But at their wedding, the Perfectionist was hypnotized (by ex-boyfriend Hypno, of course) to believe that Tom is invisible. Nothing he does can make her see him. Six months later, she's sure that Tom has abandoned her.

So she's moving to Vancouver. She'll use her superpower to make Vancouver perfect and leave all the heartbreak in Toronto. With no idea Tom's beside her, she boards an airplane in Toronto. Tom has until the wheels touch the ground in Vancouver to convince her he's visible, or he loses her forever.

Thoughts: This book is totally adorable. It's not going to change your life, it's not Earth-shattering prose, it's just plain unadulterated pleasure to read.

I wish I could've finished it in one sitting but it's difficult to finish 107 pages on the bus journey to work. But then again if I had finished it without pause I wouldn't have known what it was like to put it down and feel the need to pick it up again.

There's not much I can tell you without spoiling it BUT it is a wonderful love story AND the superhero metaphors work really well 98% of the time.

To list some comparitive adjectives may be the simplest way to review it: funny NOT hilarious, nice NOT brilliant, short and sweet NOT epic and overly descriptive, playful NOT absurd.

My least favourite aspect are the short interludes where Kaufman introduces some other superheroes, most of which are trying too hard to be funny and fail completely and I do mean eye-rollingly bad attempts at jokes that might have been funny if i'd read this when it was first released in 1999 and I was 17.

Andrew Kaufman is Canadian. Maybe that explains things? In Canada he might be known for writing reality TV, perhaps the perfect medium for developing bizarre yet inherently real stories that have become his literary canon, so why not check out his other novels or an episode or two of Rescue Mediums when you get a few minutes?

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  1. Read this book a couple of years ago and I too was surprised by its whit and charm. Agreed that it isn't life changing, but very few books, films, music, comics and other art rarely is. Great review btw!

    1. You're so right. Actually I just watched Trouble With The Curve, it's possibly the film equivalent of this book. Wit, charm, good film making. Nothing amazing.