All My Friends are Superheroes follows the story of Tom, who is married to the Perfectionist.
The Perfectionist is hypnotised by her ex and as a result cannot see Tom. The story takes place on a plane journey the Perfectionist is taking to start a new life in Vancouver and get over Tom – who she thinks has abandoned her. During the plane journey, Tom is trying his best to make her see him again. It’s an interesting premise, and I was intrigued by the different way Kaufman described the characters.
At just over 100 pages, All My Friends are Superheroes is hardly a momentous literary slog. It’s something that can be read in an hour or so. All of Tom’s friends are identified by a “superhero” quality rather than a name. They aren’t bog standard cheesy superheroes, but rather described based on a specific trait, such as the Spooner or the Ear. I’m not sure how I feel about that, I like the different take on superheroes and that it is highlighting the fact that good qualities are precious, but it makes the characters a bit impersonable and not relatable at all. It was almost as if Kaufman was referring to the characters as objects rather than people. Also, some of the descriptions were interesting, but then some seemed to be more of a distraction and used as filler that didn’t really contribute anything to the book. The premise of describing characters in a different way was intriguing, but I don’t think it was executed as well as it could have been here.
Kaufman describes the background of all of Tom’s friends in the book, and also the events which led to the Perfectionist being hypnotised by her ex, Hypno. The book is quirky and funny, but perhaps a bit too whimsical for my liking. Most of the metaphors seemed too forced and it read as a collection of descriptions of his friends and how they attained their superhero status, rather than as a story.
It’s enjoyable in so much as the writing is funny and it is an easy read, it is just that nothing really happened and there was no discernable plot. Perhaps things did happen and they just went over my head, but if that is so, the storyline was too subtle to be enjoyable.
Have you ever read All My Friends are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman? What did you think of it?