Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: 541 c.
Released: February 5th 2013 (10th Anniversary Edition)
Goodreads Rating: 4.10
Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.
But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.
Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined—it is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own.
To be perfectly honest, when I started reading this book it took me a long time to get into it. I put it off for months, reading anything else – generally more easy-to-read books. I think a lot of it had to do with timing – I was reading it while I had a lot of work to do in my program and my brain just couldn’t handle anything like American Gods at the time.
Once I finished classes I knew it was finally in the right mindset to sit down and finish the book – so I did.
And I loved it.
This book was so beautifully written and Gaiman creating absolutely stunning imagery. American Gods deals with (in my opinion, but everyone has their own ideas) cultural shift from old to new and how easily we forget our beginnings and early beliefs once something new and more exciting comes along.
I loved the themes and little stories that flowed through Gaiman’s amazingly well-crafted work. It was complex, but not complex enough that it was a burden to read. I can honestly go on and on about how much I loved this book, but I’ll spare the words if you just pick it up and read it.
I had read a few reviews that said a connection wasn’t able to be formed with any of the characters. I felt the complete opposite.
While I couldn’t really connect with Wednesday – which makes sense considering how mysterious he always is – I was completely intrigued by him that I wanted to keep reading about his life and his adventures.
I can honestly say I had no idea where the story was going at times, but I was so happy with the way things ended. It was so amazing see these characters reveal themselves to be ancient gods that we are all aware of – like Loki and Odin.
But I would have to say that my favourite character was, hands down, Shadow (Sam gets an honorary mention). I LOVED him. I was so invested in his story and everything about him. He was both hard and soft in his character. I felt myself become completely invested in his story and wanted to see him happy in the end and letting go of his dead(ish) wife. Shadow rocks…it’s as simple as that.
I really don’t want to talk much more about the book – other than saying that I loved it and everyone should read it – because I think that going into this book with out a clue of what happens makes the experience that much better.
That being said, this is definitely an adult book so viewer discretion is advised…especially that first sub section. That scene may hold up to be one of the most random, confusing, surprising, and slightly disgusting scenes I have ever read.
I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars. It was the first Neil Gaiman book I’ve read and I will cherish it and everything about it forever. Definitely an instant classic for me.
“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore it knows it’s not fooling a soul.”
“All your questions can be answered, if that is what you want. But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them.”
“Even nothing cannot last forever.”
“People believe, thought Shadow. It’s what people do. They believe, and then they do not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust the conjuration. People populate the darkness; with ghost, with gods, with electrons, with tales. People imagine, and people believe; and it is that rock solid belief, that makes things happen.”
“Religions are, by definition, metaphors, after all: God is a dream, a hope, a woman, an ironist, a father, a city, a house of many rooms, a watchmaker who left his prize chronometer in the desert, someone who loves you—even, perhaps, against all evidence, a celestial being whose only interest is to make sure your football team, army, business, or marriage thrives, prospers, and triumphs over all opposition. Religions are places to stand and look and act, vantage points from which to view the world. So none of this is happening. Such things could not occur. Never a word of it is literally true.”
“Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.”
[Insert Sam’s ridiculously long, but epic speech here]