erasing clouds

Book Review: Andrew Kaufman's All My Friends Are Superheroes

reviewed by anna battista

It's natural for Tom to feel out of his depth, since he is an extremely ordinary guy living in Toronto, where all his friends are superheroes. None of them wears a typical superhero suit, most of them are identifiable by their bizarre names, all starting with a "the" ("The Projectionist", "The Seeker", "The Inverse", and so on) and are actually eccentric characters gifted with useless powers (for example, The Couch Surfer's power is the ability to move from couch to couch of friends' apartments). All of these superheroes are rather comical figures: The Copycat can mimic anyone's personal style; The Frog-Kisser can transform geeks into winners and Mistress Cleanasyougo has the ability of being the tidiest person on earth.

Tom has even married a super-hero, The Perfectionist, and everything was fine with her, at least until their wedding day when her ex-boyfriend, malicious superhero Hypno, hypnotised her into thinking that she is unable to see her new husband. Six months have passed and Tom has remained invisible to her. Convinced he has abandoned her, The Perfectionist decides to leave everything behind and move to Vancouver. She doesn't really suspect that Tom has actually followed her on the plane and has until touch down to break the spell and convince The Perf, as he affectionately calls his wife, that he is actually there.

When the book opens, Tom is in the airport waiting with The Perfectionist for their flight to Vancouver. The story practically develops through flashbacks, during which the reader meets the various superheroes and gets an explanation about their powers. These are the funniest bits of Kaufman's inventive and surreal novella (probably the best way to define this book as it's just slightly over 100 pages). Essentially, All My Friends Are Superheroes is a love story and it's possibly also the perfect read while you're travelling next to your loved one. Kaufman's style is entertaining, and his descriptions of superheroes might even be seen as analyses of the crazes and the fads that characterise many human beings.


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