I fell a little in love with this novella – page by page, pathetic superhero by pathetic superhero. All My Friends Are Superheroes is a whimsical and unexpectedly charming ode to love and life, but also a heartfelt exploration of the human condition. It's simply extraordinary.
Author: Andrew Kaufman | Publisher: Telegram | Pages: 106 | Source: Library |
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.
MY THOUGHTS: "There are 249 superheroes in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. None of them have secret identities. Very few wear costumes." Yet, despite the abundance of superheroes residing in Kaufman's alternate Toronto, our tale naturally revolves around an ordinary and non-super being. His name's Tom and he's extraordinary in his ordinariness.
Essentially, the novel revolves around Tom's flight to Vancouver with his superhero wife (to whom he's currently invisible), and it follows his desperate attempts to persuade her he's visible. As the novella unfolds, flashbacks explain how it came to this situation, and the relationship between Tom and his wife evolves into a wonderfully affecting tale.
The touching vignettes of Tom's life, focussing largely on his tragic relationship with a superhero, are wonderfully weird, and full of idiosyncrasies. For example, one scene revolves around the process of 'curing a broken heart' being an actual anatomical procedure, whilst another involves the 'anxiety monster'. Every aspect of the novella, although briefly touched upon, is just fantastic.
To touch upon the superheroes themselves, they are far from your traditional spandex-wearing, muscular men – but, instead, they are apparently normal human beings who have one unique quality that defines them. Throughout the tale, we meet a mixture of these (hilariously pathetic) beings; in fact, a couple of chapters are solely dedicated to introducing and defining the bunch. Take these examples…
All her through youth, the Battery had two things: an overpowering father and an over-rebellious mind. In combination, these forces gave her the ability to store great amounts of emotional energy and release it in one blinding bolt. But beware: the Battery's allegiances aren't to good or evil, but simply against whatever stands in her way. Friend, foe or innocent bystander – the Battery's emotional energy bursts are unpredictable and she will strike at will.
He knocks on doors and stands there. You'd be surprised how few doors get answered.
Copycat has the ability to mimic anybody's personal style. Which wouldn't be so bad, perhaps even a compliment, if she wasn't able to perfect her subject's style to the point where they start looking like less successful versions of themselves.
"There are two ways to get rid of an anxiety monster, my friend-you either have a bath or a nap."
in One Word?
This eccentric and quirky read is whimsical beyond belief. In an attempt to sum it up to my friend, I described it as 'a merge of Scott Pilgrim and Wes Anderson films… in a book' – and I think that's an apt description of how fantastical it is.