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.
Although the year has changed, reading must continue For my first book of 2013 I used random.org to pull one from my shelves and it was definitely an experience.
As usual after I purchased the book I put it out of my mind and then when I go to read it I just start without reading anything about the book and thus begin without preconceived notions. This works for and against me all the time, for this book it definitely worked for me because if I had read a synopsis I probably would not have read the book at this time (see paragraph 5).
For a Man Booker Prize winning novel it was relatively easy to read. (It also won the Whitbread Award for First Novel.) I haven’t read any others from the year, but Atwood’s Oryx and Crake (read 09/13) is of course on my list. Overall I think this book serves as a great conversation starter, but as I read it I had to wonder why it won the award. Compared to many of the other Booker winners it felt lacking. Take for example other winning or nominated coming of age stories, such as Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, Room, Never Let Me Go, or any other book with a child narrator, and Vernon God Little just isn’t up to par. I will say however, it does warrant a comparison to A Confederacy of Dunces (on Wikipedia). I can see the similar humor and writing style, but this, perhaps because of the child narrator, is preferable.