Book Review: Andrew Kaufman's All My Friends Are Superheroes

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With a title like that, how could I turn this book down?

Andrew Kaufman's All My Friends Are Superheroes is a short tale of a regular, superpowerless man named Tom living in a world of superheroes. His wife is a superhero (The Perfectionist), and so is his best friend. It's a pretty normal thing. On the day of his wedding, Hypno (obviously a supervillain, and The Perfectionist's ex-boyfriend) uses his powers to make Tom invisible to his new wife. Through the book we experience Tom's attempts to make The Perfectionist see him once again as she is on the verge of leaving the husband she hasn't seen for six months, assuming he has deserted her. We also get to look back on Tom's struggles integrating with a world where he is one of the few different to everybody else. 

All My Friends Are Superheroes is a very odd tale, but one that is also very entertaining. Coming in at just over one hundred pages, I think it's the perfect length for what it is, and anything longer would have removed its charm. Integrated within the story we get lists and descriptions of superheroes and what their powers are, many not actually that 'super' and rather tragic. For example, The Inverse, whose hand you shake and the whole opposite of your life will flash before your eyes. Others are more profound, like Mr Opportunity, who 'knocks on doors and stands there. You'd be surprised how few doors get answered.'

This is a wonderfully crafted book, fitting an immense but not overwhelming amount of detail in so few pages, and creating characters who you actually feel empathy towards. Tom and The Perfectionist both go through a great deal of pain in the story and you can feel it through Kaufman's writing. I'm excited to pick up more of his longer fiction; this world was such an interesting one to experience, I'm interested to see what other images he can conjure up so clearly in my mind as I read. I've heard a lot of good things about his novel Born Weird (mainly by Jen Campbell in her video 'Recommended Summer Reads' back in May) another story about 'powers' and the relationships between people. Watch this space.

M x

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