Coming back to Maupin’s San Francisco is like going home after a really long vacation. There’s something comforting and something genuinely nice about being back on Barbary Lane. (See the first quote under Additional Quotes).
I can’t believe it’s been almost three years since I binge read Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, Further Tales of the City and Babycakes. And like everyone else who has ever read a single one of The Tales of the city books, I’m finally taking the time to catch up on the series, which has spanned five decades so that I can read the final (I’m assuming) novel in the series The Days of Anna Madrigal released at the beginning of 2014. I won’t binge read them, but they’re such quick reads I plan to read them all this year.
What a great book! I’m not sure where or why I decided I needed to read it but I’m glad I did. I think it was on one of the blogs I follow or one of the podcasts I listen to (I think it might’ve been Pop Culture Happy Hour, but I’m not positive), but either way I’m glad I read it.
One reason I thoroughly enjoyed this book is that it reminded me a lot of Perry Moore’s Hero. The heroes in both of these novels are not your standard superheroes, they have unique talents and abilities. What this novel did differently than Hero was to explain why the most mundane tasks are actually superhero worthy. Kaufman talks about choosing a superhero name and speaks to the mundane portion of superheroes regardless of their talents and reminds us that they are (mostly) all human.
“The final stage of finding your superhero name is accepting how little difference it really makes. Okay, there’s this one thing you can do, a thing you can do like no other person on the planet. That makes you special, but being special really doesn’t mean anything. You still have to get dressed in the morning. Your shoelaces still break. Your lover will still leave you if you don’t treat her right.” (77-78)
In general, I have steered clear of self-published works and I have done so for two reasons: fear of a horribly written novel and fear of a horribly edited novel. In this instance both of those fears were proven wrong. T. B. Markinson (link to her new author blog), aka TBM as I’ve known her from her wonderful personal blog, asked me to provide a review of the novel, for which I received no compensation. So let’s get on to the book and my thoughts.
Once again I either didn’t fully read or, most likely, misinterpreted the blurb for the story. For some reason I got it into my head that this was going to be a traditional mystery novel. Clearly, I was wrong; I mean you could argue there was a bit of mystery, but if anything it was more just the suspense of romance. What this novel is, and what it was great at, was a fast-paced and entertaining romantic comedy of errors.
Over the past few weeks this book started appearing on a lot of the book blogs I follow. As I noticed the ‘score’ of the book pretty much unanimously being high and the general excitement and fervor surrounding the reviews and responses I knew I had to read this book sooner rather than later and I am very glad I did.
If you haven’t read this book yet, you should. Everyone should read this book; and I do mean everyone. I honestly believe that any reader can find something to identify within this book. And as an added bonus not only is it hilariously laugh out loud funny, but it also wrenches many of your other emotions whether you want it to or not. Smith has created such a tongue-in-cheek character you can’t help but identify with him and love him and want him to do well.
Apparently this was the perfect time to read this novel. If I would’ve read it any sooner I probably would’ve been upset or bothered by it, but I wasn’t and it was quite enjoyable.
I would never have picked this book up on my own, but it is our February book for Books into Movies book group at the local library. I enjoyed the book more than the movie, shocker, but mostly because I didn’t see the need to move it from London to the US or the rather odd way they had the protagonist, Rob, interact with the camera/audience.
Primarily, this novel is about break-ups, but it’s also about reflecting on one’s life (and love life) in your mid-30s. Now I’m not quite there yet (two more years to rock out my 20s), but I can definitely sympathize with the Rob and questioning everything about every previous relationship and whether it all has to do with him. However, I REALLY hope I don’t go through this sort of soul-searching because I can only imagine how awkward it could be.