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All My Friends Are Superheroes

All My Friends Are Superheroes

On superheroes, Andrew Kaufman writes in his charming All My Friends are Superheroes:

Okay, there's this thing you can do, a thing you can do like no other person on this planet. That makes you special, but being special really doesn't mean anything. You still have to get dressed in the morning. Your shoelaces still break. Your lover will still leave you if you don't treat her right...

Interspersed with short biographies of the 249 superheroes in Toronto, his superheroes are real. They could be you or me, and they are a delight to read about. The core of the novella (or novel, I can't decide) tells the tale of Tom (not a superhero) and the Perfectionist (a superhero; in Kaufman's world, they all go by the summation of their powers i.e."The Battery" or "The Dancer").

On their wedding day, the Perfectionist was hypnotized to believe Tom was invisible; six months later, she has boarded a plane to Vancouver. Tom has the plane ride to convince her that he's hasn't abandoned her. The story, therefore, takes place over the course of this plane ride. I won't spoil anything. You will enjoy it, it is romantic, and it is delightfully grounded in the real world. Here is a snippet of a description  of a "superhero," to give you a sense of the universe within which Kaufman is writing: "The Couch Surfer: empowered with the ability to sustain life and limb without a job, steady companion or permanent place of residence..." The tenth anniversary edition was released in 2013 ("with new superheroes!" the back cover proclaims) and it is definitely a charming and enchanting read. It also makes you wonder what your superhero "power" would be Kaufman writes, in an aside:

It’s true most superheroes have funny names. But they have to come up with these names by themselves. Think about how hard it is. Try it, right now; boil down your personality and abilities to a single phrase or image. If you can do that, you’re probably a superhero already.

Rating: ★★★★★

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