Thursday, June 17, 2010

American Gods

American Gods American Gods by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have been reading since I was 4 years old (for those who are counting, that means I've been reading for nearly 50 years). In all that time, this is the first book that when I finished it I immediately flipped back to the start and read it straight through a second time. Really - it's that good! But, it's not just that it was good, it was the story, and how it was told - after reaching the end I wanted to go back to the beginning and re-read it, knowing how it would all turn out. I wanted to catch all of the foreshadowing and symbolism that I didn't get the first time - to understand more of what was going on. Because this is a RICH book. It's rich with characters, the like of whom you've never seen. Rich with places so unique that it's hard to believe that many of them are real. Rich with an idea that is so wonderful for its originality and its simplicity. And that idea is this: think of all of the immigrants to America for all of these centuries; imagine that when they came they brought 'their' gods. Now imagine what happens to those gods when these people forget their old gods, when their descendants turn to the new gods of the automobile, technology, the media, etc. What do those old gods do? How do they live? What do they want?

This is mythology like you've never seen it. From my description above, you may be thinking this is some sort of "Clash of the Titans" or something. You're wrong. This is a novel of every-day America, with every-day Americans trying to get by. There just happen to be a few odd (and I do mean ODD) gods running around, though you'd never know it by looking at them. How some humans get mixed up with the gods' struggles is the meat of the book.

But, hmmm, that doesn't accurately describe the book, either. This book is full of weird sh**, Really weird. Dark, fantastic, bittersweet. I guarantee you've never read a book like this. I haven't, and you know how long I've been reading!

Just go get this book. Read it. It's weird, its funny (I laughed out loud many times), it's sad, it's deep. It's GOOD.

I should mention that I read this book as part of 'One Book, One Twitter' ( It's kind of a global book club. (Well, nearly global - because of China's internet blocking there were no Chinese participants.) People discussed it on Twitter, and Neil did several'Twitterviews' where folks got to ask him questions. It was a lot of fun!

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