Andrew Kaufman, Fiction
Comment 1

All My Friends Are Superheroes

SYNOPSIS:

All Tom’s friends really are superheroes. Tom even married a superhero, the Perfectionist. But at their wedding the Perfectionist is hypnotized by her ex, Hypno, to believe that Tom is invisible. Nothing he does can make her see him.

Six months later the Perfectionist is sure that Tom has abandoned her, so she’s moving to Vancouver. She’ll use her superpower to leave all her heartbreak behind. With no idea that Tom’s beside her, she boards the plane. Tom has until they touch down to convince her he’s there, or he loses her forever…

I begin my first book club session by choosing a short novella, All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman. Why the novel choice? I was instantly intrigued by the title. At first glance, it appeared to be a quick and enjoyable read. A great way to start a reading group with friends.

All My Friends Are Superheroes is a fun and quirky novella. It’s not everyday you find a little book that charms you from beginning to end. Furthermore, it makes the reader think about themselves; who they are as a person, and what their friends think of them.

Tom’s first superhero girlfriend was Someday. She had red hair, a compact frame and two superpowers: an amazing ability to think big and an unlimited capacity to procrastinate.

Andrew Kaufman creates a world where superheroes exist. They are not your usual superheroes that magnify human powers, such as strength and godlike abilities; but their powers are based on individual personality traits. For example, there is The Stress Bunny; she has the ability to absorb everyone’s stress, relaxing anyone in her path. This makes the superheroes more ordinary, realistic, and ultimately relatable to certain readers.

We then come to Tom, the protagonist. A normal human being without any superpowers that has to deal with the fact that he’s just ordinary, just like the rest of us; which makes us love him more. In more ways than one, I think Tom is somewhat glad that he doesn’t have a superpower. He clearly has to endure and suffer with all the “superheroes” around him. Undeniably though, he’s the only sane man in the novel.

There are 249 superheroes in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. None of them have secret identities. Very few wear costumes. Most have their powers don’t result in material gain.

The central theme in this novel undoubtedly is love. Tom, being invisible, does everything in his power to convince his wife, the Perfectionist, that he hasn’t abandoned her. A rather familiar situation that most of us have been through in life, i.e. unrequited love. What makes matter worse is the fact that they both love each other deeply, but cannot be together, which can be a torture. But as Barbara de Angelis once quoted: “Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible – it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.” This is what makes the novella engaging. It’s more or less a book about human life, relationships, jealousy and invisibility. One way or another, we’ve all lived through it.

‘Ahhhh,’ said Tom. A pain shot through his heart.
‘What is happening?’
‘Pain in my chest.’
‘Sharp and enduring?’
‘Yes.’
‘But recurring?’
‘Yes!’
‘In great frequency?’
‘Less then ten minutes now.’
‘I’m sending over a doctor.’
‘What is it?’
‘He’s the best there is.’
‘Tell me what it is!’
‘Your heart is breaking,’ the Amphibian said.

Overall, All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman is a highly imaginative and original book. It’s perhaps the shortest book I’ve read, yet it’s also the sweetest. It definitely will bring a smile to anyone who reads it. I would’ve loved the novel even more, if it was little longer. However, I still highly recommend you read it once. It won’t take you long at all, and maybe, you’ll find your own “superpower”.

4 Stars

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: The Tiny Wife | The Literary Boutique

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