Book Review — All My Friends are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman
Rating — 4.8/5
If you’re looking for an easy, feel-good read that isn’t sickly sweet, then look no further! All My Friends are Superheroes, is a short, simple, and gorgeous read that doesn’t quite make much sense, but also makes perfect sense. Loaded with metaphors and symbolism that are easy to pick up on, I found it to be a nice little book to curl up in bed with a cup of tea with.
It’s a short Novella about a guy called Tom. He’s a regular guy that’s surrounded by superheroes, including his lovely wife, The Perfectionist. On the day of their wedding, the Perfectionist’s jealous ex-boyfriend, Hypno, hypnotises her into thinking that Tom is invisible. He spends the rest of the novel trying to get his wife to see him again. We get given snapshots of how their romance blossomed, his support network of loving friends with strange powers, including an amphibian, a guy that’s totally invisible, and a woman who can absorb all the stresses of the people around her (who apparently holds the best parties).
What’s weird about the so-called ‘superheroes’ in this book is that they’re not all exactly like the superheroes we imagine. Sure, there are some that can breathe underwater, hypnotise people and go invisible, but there are also some mundane and not so helpful ones. There’s Mistress Cleanasyougo, who is just naturally always on top of her shit, and there’s The Sloth, who has the magical ability to just say ‘Fuck it’ and chill out without shame. For the most part, most of the superheroes don’t exactly have superpowers. Instead, they have fine-tuned personality traits. Tom himself is sure that he doesn’t have a superpower, but does he not have a superpower like the others? Or does he just not believe that he’s special?
That’s my takeaway from this book. It isn’t exactly a book about an ordinary guy surrounded by superheroes, it’s about a guy that can see and enjoy the talents of everyone else around him, but he can’t quite notice his own talents, not yet anyway…
I loved this little book so much that I had to hop onto Goodreads to find some bad reviews and see what they said. And from what I gathered is that it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Admittedly it is a bit weird, and not a whole lot happens in it. Some people thought the metaphors were clumsy, and that there was no strong narrative. Admittedly, the plot arc is very simple, and the metaphors aren’t exactly deep and philosophical, but they are fun and relatable.
If you’re going to read this book, don’t go into it thinking that there is going to be a profound story, because it isn’t. And that’s okay, not every novella has to be like Siddharta or The Alchemist. Sometimes, it can just be simple, quaint, and fun to read.
What’s wrong with that?