All My Friends Are Superheroes Paperback – Oct 16 2003
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With his debut novel, All My Friends Are Superheroes, Andrew Kaufman officially enters the ranks of Not Your Mother's Can Lit. Like other young Canadian writers who have turned their backs on the tired subjects of forgotten history and family sagas, Kaufman writes not what will sell but what he knows: the mediascape and pop culture. A weird hybrid of fable, urban angst, and comic geekdom, All My Friends Are Superheroes is a light-hearted novel that skewers literary pretensions as much as our banal world of office drones and boring, meaningless lives. It follows the tale of Tom, who is trying to find a way to make his wife notice him again before she moves from Toronto to Vancouver and out of his life forever. While this is hardly an original plot, Kaufman makes it new with a few twists: Tom's wife doesn't notice him because she's been hypnotized into thinking he's invisible, and the urban scenesters who populate the novel all have super powers.
In fact, everybody in Tom's world has a super power--everybody but Tom, that is. However, these powers are for the most part useless, more neuroses than anything else. There's the Perfectionist, who is obsessed with making things orderly; the Businessman, who can assess people's worth just by looking at them; the Couch Surfer, who can survive extreme poverty; and many more. Think Sheila Heti meets Jim Munroe. At a slim 112 pages, All My Friends Are Superheroes is more of a romp through the culture of young urban professionals and our society's accumulated personality disorders than it is a comprehensive or meaningful examination of any serious issues. But Kaufman makes it clear that his goal isn't to write literature with a capital "L"; it's to make literature fun again. And we all know there's nothing more fun than superheroes. --Peter Darbyshire
We have here a very short tale, probably less than 30,000 words, however the laughs are plentiful. One has to suspend disbelief and accept the narrators statement that There are 249 superheroes in the City of Toronto. . . None of them have secret identities. Very few wear costumes. Tom, our narrator, is married to the Perfectionist, whose superpower is an ability to will things to be orderly. On their wedding day, a bad superhero, Hypno, hypnotizes the Perfectionist to believe Tom is invisible. Thinking Tom has disappeared the Perfectionist is heartbroken and six months later decides to fly to Vancouver to start life anew. Tom occupies the empty seat beside her and he has until the landing in Vancouver to convince her he is there or he will lose her forever. A decent premise, however it is imperative that, by whatever means, Tom solve his own problem. This doesnt happen which makes for a real letdown at the end. The positive aspect of the story is Toms descriptions of the superheroes. For instance, The Couch Surfer: Empowered with the ability to sustain life and limb without a job, steady companion or permanent place of residence. . . is not only able to withstand long periods of acute poverty but is also able to nutritionally sustain himself on only handfuls of breakfast cereals, slices of dry bread and condiments. Mysteriously always has cigarettes. The standup comedy aspect of the descriptions of the superheroes is worth a quick glance.
W.P. Kinsella (Books in Canada)
-- Books in Canada
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Top Customer Reviews
Overall a very enjoyable and fun read.
I disliked this book because the story, in my opinion, was too cutesy. Maybe I was expecting too much from a book with the title of "All my friends are superhereos", I don't know. But I struggled to retain interest in the story. Were it not for the interesting characters, I probably would not have finished this book.
An excellent read that holds up over time. I first read it late last year and recently brought it with me on a road trip. Despite knowing exactly how things turn out I found myself falling for the characters again.
Do yourself a favour and buy two copies. That way you won't have to give yours away.
I'm looking forward to Kaufman's next work.
I had a bit of trouble following it, but was constantly surprised and amused at the writer's imagination and quirky sense of the world. Once I finished it, I went back to the beginning to re-read some of it.
It reminded me of The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night which was also a favourite.
I would be interested in further books from this author.
Most recent customer reviews
This was recommended by one of my book club groups. It's a great little story with unique perspective. Sit down with a cuppa and enjoy!Published 14 days ago by Sine_Mairi
This is a sweet, inventive, and well written story perfect for a flight or a free afternoon.Published 12 months ago by Matt
Quite short but worth the read, interesting concept and "super powers". Story is well-executed and the characters are well-developed for such a short storyPublished 21 months ago by Emily Ramsey
Can't think of what to buy someone for Valentine's Day? You don't need to think. It's right here.
Andrew Kaufman has single-handedly (I assume someone of such genius only... Read more
This book can be read in an hour flat. I wouldn't suggest doing that though, take your time walk through the plot with him and get a feel for some amazing characters.Published on Oct. 18 2013 by Ange