Fat Charlie Nancy's normal life ended the moment his father dropped dead on a Florida karaoke stage. Charlie didn't know his dad was a god. And he never knew he had a brother. In Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman Charlie's nickname comes from his father—Mr. Nancy had a way of leaving an impact. Mr. Nancy was Anansi, a trickster god, the spider god. He spun webs of chaos and lived life to the fullest. Now he is dead, and Charlie is saddled with Spider, his handsome, magical, and lawless brother. Spider and Fat Charlie are polar opposites, and the wild, confused ride they have upends everything in Fat Charlie’s life—his relationship with his fiancé, his job security, what he knows about his family and the crazy old ladies who knew his dad.
Originality: 10. This truly is a mythology for the modern age. It combines African-American folklore, fables, and a sort of everyday magic with a killer sense of humor. Cool!
Absurdity: 2. Magical realism. Suspend disbelief. The mythology vignets about Mr. Nancy and his tricks helped root the story as well. (This book is an offshoot of Gaiman’s American Gods, so if you had read that—we had not—then it would also help orientate the reader).
Level of Paranormal Romance: 3. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it is hilarious how Spider convinces everyone he is Fat Charlie, and poor Rosie, his fiancé, never had a chance. Spider = charm. The romantic pairings were understated but sweet and crucial to the plot.
Level of Harry-Potter-ness: 8. Have you experienced the awesome of Gaiman’s prose and the intricate plot yet? The world loved The Graveyard Book (YAF & WS loved it too). Anansi Boys is also excellent and intricately plotted. This grade also reflects the stellar audio narration. The voices were great and the accents for the little old ladies in particular. Not to mention audiobooks narrated by Brits are just more fun.
My boyfriend and I are BAD road-trippers because of our differing opinions on volume control/Glee songs /the proper way to close a car door. But this audiobook made our road trip to Montreal a breeze. SUCCESS! Thanks, Mr. Gaiman, for being awesome and making vacations fun again.