I have to admit that I wasn’t actually planning to read another Neil Gaiman for a while. I mean, I liked the books of his that I’d read, but I wasn’t super-excited about them… whatever, you know? But then I got roped into (not really, it was kind of exciting!) being in a podcast all about Neil Gaiman, and even though I say like ten words in it, it was fun. And before we started, Beth was going on and on about Anansi Boys and how great it is and how the audiobook is the most greatest thing ever and I was like, okay. I guess I could check it out.
And… I’m still not that excited. Again, it was a good book, like his others, and it was completely different from his other books that I’ve read, and it was interesting, but I’m just not that excited about having read it. I’m not sure why.¹
Anyway. In this story we find ourselves following along in the life of Fat Charlie Nancy, who, despite all attempts to remove that first word from his name, cannot get rid of the nickname that his father gave him as a kid. His dad’s just got a way with words like that. But then Fat Charlie’s dad dies! Oh no! Fat Charlie goes back to his childhood home in Florida (from his adulthood home in London) to pay his respects and his told by his old and possibly a bit batty neighbor that he has a brother. And that if he wants to meet up with this dude what went away so long ago that Fat Charlie can’t remember, he should just talk to a spider. No big deal. Also, Fat Charlie’s dad was a god. The god Anansi, in particular.
Fat Charlie, not really believing any of this, nonetheless tells a spider to go find his brother. The spider does, the brother (who conveniently calls himself Spider) shows up all demigod-like, havoc is wreaked, Fat Charlie tries to get him to go away, adventures ensue!
It was a good time, for sure, and once the adventures started happening, I was hooked. I also liked all of the references to the Caribbean god stories, though they got a bit heavy-handed in the end (like all such stories do, I suppose). I think part of my problem with the book is that there’s a person in it who dies and comes back as a ghost, and after the disappointment that was Her Fearful Symmetry I was just not amused. Ah, well. I will say that if I could have a house inside my spare room, that’d be just brilliant. Can we work on that?
¹ An aside — Neil Gaiman is kind of like the Johnny Depp of novel-writing, isn’t he? It’s like, in general, everything he writes is pretty good and totally worth reading, just like almost everything Depp acts in (with some very notable exceptions) is pretty good and totally worth seeing. Clearly the two of them should get together. [A quick search of the internets tells me that this almost happened; maybe the universe is preventing it somehow?]
(Countdown Challenge: 2005)
Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.