Author: Andrew Kaufman
Publisher: Telegram Books
Publication Date: February2006
Paperback: 108 pages
Why did I chose to read this book? Quite simply the title and the front cover’s photo – both are genius.
Where to read this book? It’s a quick and quirky book to read (took me about 2hrs) so if you can I would certainly head down to the utterly unique ‘Magic Garden Bar’ one Sunday lunch time in Battersea and if it’s not too cold get comfy in their wonderful outdoor area.
Refreshments? If you have managed to find the Magic Garden bar indulge in one of their homemade scotch eggs. If not then purchase yourself a scotch egg selection box or go for other snack items like hummus and pitta or cheese and biscuits. To drink, cups of tea.
Which ‘Kaufman’ superhero am I? I’m not sure whether this is a good thing or not but I think I’m 50% The Battery and 50% The Seeker.
‘Boil down your personality and abilities into a single phrase or image. If you can do that, you’re probably a superhero already.’
Tom is a regular, all his friends are superheroes including his new wife The Perfectionist. Unfortunately for him, on their wedding day, her ex-boyfriend ‘Hypno’ turned Tom invisible to her. Fast forward 6 months and The Perfectionist believes that Tom has abandoned her, so she’s bought a one-way ticket to Vancouver. Using her superpower she will create the perfect new life away from all the hurt and misery. Boarding the plane she has no idea that Tom is sat right beside her, willing her to see him, he has until they land to convince her he never left or he will loose her forever.
I am not a fan of comic book superheroes they’re predictable and wear too much spandex. However, Kaufman has created the perfect troupe of superheroes ranging from ‘The Couch Surfer’, who always manages to have a packet of cigarettes, to ‘The Stress Bunny’ who absorbs everyone’s stress and is therefore invited to all the parties. The genius behind these characters is that you’ll see yourself, your friends, colleagues and family reflected in each one. I believe I am the product of a three-way between ‘The Battery,’ The Opportunist’ and ‘The Seeker.’
One of the most visual scenes is that of dealing with Tom’s heartbreak of becoming invisible to The Perfectionist. By portraying it as an actual surgical procedure to cure, ‘ Ambrose snapped a rubber glove on his right hand. He put one finger up Tom’s anus…Tom felt a pop in his chest… his chest had released, come open like the hood of a car.’ The doctor then rummages around until he has released all the shadows of girlfriends passed. Unfortunately this procedure isn’t available on the NHS, however, Kaufman has poignantly portrayed that we carry baggage around and for the majority of the time we just need to let it go.
There’s a lot of life lessons sneakily hidden within the pages which are beautifully positive and straight talking which will brighten up your day. Take for instance, ‘The Businessman,’ he can see into everyone’s bank accounts by just looking at them only to conclude, ‘there is only one amount of money – just not enough,’ therefore, just get on with it and enjoy yourself instead of being like ‘Someday.’ There’s another one concerning the future, but I’ll leave you to discover that one for yourself. Throughout the story, I found myself smiling to myself (and chuckling) on the London underground not something to be undertaken lightly.
This might not be everyone’s cup of tea but the witty and whimsical, almost childlike nature of this love story I found utterly enjoyable and something that I will pick up again and again. Roll on my purchase of ‘The Waterproof Bible,’ dropping through the letterbox.
Rating: 9 out of 10