Synopsis from Barnes & Noble:
When Fat Charlie’s dad named something, it stuck. Like calling Fat Charlie “Fat Charlie.” Even now, twenty years later, Charlie Nancy can’t shake that name, one of the many embarrassing “gifts” his father bestowed — before he dropped dead on a karaoke stage and ruined Fat Charlie’s life.
Mr. Nancy left Fat Charlie things. Things like the tall good-looking stranger who appears on Charlie’s doorstep, who appears to be the brother he never knew. A brother as different from Charlie as night is to day, a brother who’s going to show Charlie how to lighten up and have a little fun . . . just like Dear Old Dad. And all of a sudden, life starts getting very interesting for Fat Charlie.
Because, you see, Charlie’s dad wasn’t just any dad. He was Anansi, a trickster god, the spider-god. Anansi is the spirit of rebellion; he is able to overturn the social order, create wealth out of thin air, baffle the devil, and cheat Death himself.
Exciting, scary, and deeply funny, ANANSI BOYS is a kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth, a wild adventure, and a fierce and unstoppable farce, as Neil Gaiman shows us where gods come from, and how to survive your family.
I have a couple of admissions to make before I talk about my reactions to the story itself. First, this is my first Neil Gaiman read. Second, the reason it took me so long to pick up one of his books – regardless of the fact that nearly everything I’ve heard and read about his work has been positive – is because I was a bit intimidated. I was expecting something that was so intricate, involved, and epic that it would almost be difficult to follow. Now, I’m not saying Anansi Boys was bad or anything. In fact, I really enjoyed Anansi Boys, it just ended up being different than what I had imagined.
As soon as page 27 rolled around, I simply knew that this book would be a favorite and that I would have to go back for more Gaiman. I read about Fat Charlie going to his fathers funeral and spilling his heart to the funeral goers, and Fat Charlie realizing that he ended up at the wrong funeral and a bunch of people he didn’t know just watched him forgive his father at the wrong funeral. There was a part of me that felt bad for Fat Charlie and a part of me that couldn’t help but laugh.
…And thats only the beginning.
Fat Charlie thought he had all the answers, he was going to get married and work in accounting and live out his life, but the death of his father and meeting the brother he never knew he had turns his life upside down. Essentially, Fat Charlie ended up with more than he ever bargained for and he has to find a way to dig himself out of the hole he ended up in. And that is what I loved most about this book, watching someone whose life changed so dramatically so quickly learn to navigate new ropes, to figure out what the right decisions are, to learn to deal with things in new ways. It was a fun ride.
Another thing that I absolutely loved about Anansi Boys is the myth behind the book. The old stories of Anansi were very entertaining. The world that Fat Charlie never knew existed, and the way the people and creatures in those worlds reacted to Fat Charlie also made for good reading.
I didn’t really know where Gaiman was going to take things towards the end. Of course I had my suspicions and I knew what I wanted to happen, but in the end I was completely satisfied. I absolutely loved the way everything turned out for Fat Charlie, Spider, and his boss.
Bottom line, Anansi Boys was a great book. I really liked Gaiman’s writing, it was entertaining and easy to read. I definitely recommend Anansi Boys and I’ll definitely be checking out his other works.
I picked this up in hardback when it first came out–I’d loved American Gods–but I got distracted and after starting in, wound up forgetting about this for about a year. Eventually went back and finished it, but reading your review just made me realize how little of it actually stuck with me. Not in a bad way, necessarily.
Anyway…enjoyed your review & thoughts on this!
From what I’ve been told, Anansi Boys is a sort of spin-off from American Gods and from what I’ve read it seems to be a bit overshadowed by American Gods… and sometimes things just don’t stick. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed American Gods though, as I’m hoping to read it soon.