All My Friends Are Superheroes
by Andrew Kaufman
Published: 19th October 1999
All Tom’s friends really are superheroes.
There’s the Ear, the Spooner, the Impossible Man. Tom even married a superhero, the Perfectionist. But at their wedding, the Perfectionist was hypnotized (by ex-boyfriend Hypno, of course) to believe that Tom is invisible. Nothing he does can make her see him. Six months later, she’s sure that Tom has abandoned her.
So she’s moving to Vancouver. She’ll use her superpower to make Vancouver perfect and leave all the heartbreak in Toronto. With no idea Tom’s beside her, she boards an airplane in Toronto. Tom has until the wheels touch the ground in Vancouver to convince her he’s visible, or he loses her forever.
I first came across this book through Carrie Hope Fletcher’s youtube channel. She’d spoken about this book, and said that it was amongst her favourite reads. It’s not the first time I have taken a recommendation from Carrie. She had recommended One Day to her viewers, which I ended up reading and loving so I added this to my wish list and eventually picked it up in Waterstones.
My first thought when I picked it up in the book store is that it’s incredibly short. Page count wise it’s just over 100 pages. I wondered how the author would portray a full narrative arc in such a short space of time. One in which is satisfying and worth paying the price to read. To say I devoured this book would be an understatement. I raced through it in one sitting, within an hour and I loved it.
This book, despite its length, packs in a lot of punch. I loved it from page one, and I was really impressed with the narrative. All of Tom’s friends are superheroes, and he hasn’t developed any powers. The plot follows his relationship with his wife, The Perfectionist – who cannot see her new husband because of her evil ex hypnotising her. The opening chapter sets up the plot nicely, there’s no messing about and we’re straight into the thick of things. We’re immediately introduced to Tom’s world and the characters that surround him.
Every other chapter in this book explains some different superheroes – I loved these chapters because each superpower was unique and they weren’t predictable. I appreciated that not all powers were glamourous, some being completely random and probably ones most would rather live without. This addition really does add a lot of depth and humour to the book, and it allows the story arc to be prolonged. In fact, I’d say this was probably my favourite part of the book.
In terms of the writing style, it read a lot like the style in which the Scott Pilgram graphic novels are illustrated. The writing produces a lot of vivid imagery, and use a lot of literal humour. For example, there’s a moment that Tom must face the ghosts of his past – in fact he has to literally hoover them out of his heart, like some sort twisted exorcism.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it’s a book I’ve recommended to people already. In fact, I’ve encouraged Stewart (who isn’t a big reader) to pick this up and give it a go. I think this would be quite a universally liked novel, and I’m quite glad I purchased it and wasn’t put off by the price for it and its shorter length. The author has done a fantastic job of making me invested in the characters and developing a fulfilling story.
I’d recommend this read to anyone that liked Scott Pilgram and is looking for a quick, well written, humorous read.