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Saturday, August 20, 2011

American Gods

by Neil Gaiman
audiobook: 19.65 hours
narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris, Daniel Oreskes,
Ron McLarty, Sarah Jones (a full cast production)


Why I Read It


Back when I reviewed Stardust I said that even though I enjoyed the book I wasn't really a Gaiman fan. I also said that I still wanted to give American Gods a shot because the idea of the book intrigued me. So when the 10th anniversary edition of AG was offered to me on audio for review I was quite pleased to give it a listen.

About the Book

Shadow is serving his last few days in jail when he gets the news that his wife was killed in a car accident. He is released a few days early and has to decide what to do with his life from here on out.  Having few other options, Shadow takes a job as a body guard/chauffeur by a mysterious man named Mr. Wednesday. During his travels with his new employer he meets an odd assortment of characters and comes to realize that these "people" are actually old world gods who are down on their luck because they don't have enough worshippers anymore. He is drawn into Mr. Wednesday's plot to gather the old world gods to fight for turf against the new gods of America - Media, Computers, etc. But things may not be exactly as they seem ...

Note on the 10th Anniversary Edition

This edition of the book includes all the sections that were originally edited. The book is now the way that Gaiman originally intended it to be.

My Thoughts 

Gaiman fans will probably want to throw tomatoes at me but I have to admit that I was more impressed with the IDEA of the book than with the book itself. I loved the way that Gaiman took America's obsessions with the latest and greatest thing and turned those obsessions into actual gods. I also loved how the old world gods (and their current jobs) were described. But that was about all that I really did like. I couldn't really get into the story and I often felt like I was missing something important. Maybe I just didn't get it?

On the other hand the actual audio production was great. I'm not generally a fan of full cast productions because I often can't recall which character belongs with which voice, but I didn't have that problem here. With only four narrators - and each of those having a unique voice - it was easy to follow the narration.

Your Thoughts 

Did you love this book? If so, what am I missing?! Are you a Gaiman fan? What makes you love him? Honestly most of his books sort of give me the creeps, and that's just from reading the summaries!

16 comments:

Beth F said...

Regardless of your experience, I think I need to at least give this one a chance.

Megan said...

This one is on my shelf awaiting my attentions, and yours in the 2nd "meh" review I've read of it this week. Bummer. I'm not a gung-ho Gaiman fan like lots of bloggers I know but I've had mostly enjoyable experiences with most of what I have read by him. I liked Stardust, too, but I think Neverwhere is still my favorite of his.

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

I have only read Neverwhere by him and I liked it. I've been told by all of his fans that AMerican Gods is THE book to read by him. I like the idea too but i still have not read it!

Marie said...

I don't really get Gaiman either. Oh well! :-)

Kailana said...

I have started this book like 3 times and still haven't managed to finish it. One day I will just to see what it is all about...

Ryan said...

I loved this book though I haven't read Anasani Boys yet. Sorry you didn't like it.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Hi Heather.... I come bearing coffee! I have not read Gaiman yet but I want to.... the audio intrigues me.

Heather J. said...

Beth - I hope you do!

Megan & Michelle - Maybe I should have gone with Neverwhere instead ...

Marie - Glad I'm not the only one!

Kailana - Wow, that's determination! I'd have given up totally by that point. :)

Ryan - Ah well, that's how it goes.

Sheila - How 'bout tea instead? I'm not a big coffee fan (I know, I know, there must be something wrong with me, right?! LOL)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I am a Gaiman fan, but to be honest, this is one of my least favorite books of his. The reason I love his work is his great blend of a good story and a fantastic sense of humor. I felt like this book was missing the humor. I'd try Stardust and see what you think of that.

Heather J. said...

Melissa - I did read Stardust, and it was ok. Not bad but not a favorite either. Ah well!

softdrink said...

This is my favorite Gaiman (so yeah, I'm lobbing a tomato or two your way ;-b)! It was also my first Gaiman. I just loved all of the old world gods and trying to figure out who they were.

Heather J. said...

softdrink - I did enjoy the old gods and figuring them out but that was about it. :(

Evie said...

I read American Gods ten years ago (where does time go). No tomato throwing, but I really enjoyed the idea and his execution. For the time, it was creative and different.

I also enjoyed Neverwhere and Stardust (the movie) and Mirrormask (animated movie from years ago).

I haven't read Anansi Boys or any of his more recent works.

Did you know American Gods may be an HBO series?

Heather J. said...

Evie - I liked Stardust as a movie better than as a book, so if they do make American Gods into an HBO series I'll probably enjoy it! LOL

Dreamybee said...

I felt the same way you did, except that I never finished the book. I got within about...50(?) pages and just didn't care anymore, which is almost unprecedented. Like you, I also enjoyed figuring out the old gods, but the story itself? Not so much. I did read Gaiman's short-story collection, Smoke and Mirrors, and I liked a lot of those better.

Heather J. said...

Dreamybee - I'm glad I'm not the only one who felt that way about this book. I'd definitely have given up if I was reading it rather than listening to it.

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