Sunday, April 22, 2012

Book Review: Anansi Boys

I have a confession of sorts. I haven't had a chance to read a novel in its entirety this past week.


In all fairness, I am starting a new job (yeah!) and am doing some reading (it's for my job) before I start on Monday. I know... excuses, excuses...

I'll finish the novel later in the week and write a review then. :)

For now, enjoy this review of Anansi Boys. It is a personal favorite of mine that I hadn't gotten around to review yet... until now.


With a name like Fat Charlie Nancy, it was almost expected that Londoner, Fat Charlie would be the blunt of all playground jokes as a child and would be emotionally scarred well into his adult life. And for that, Fat Charlie only has his father, Mr. Nancy, to thank.

Despite their differences and their distance, Mr. Nancy still manages to make his way back into Fat Charlie's life. While on a night out on the town in Florida Mr. Nancy unexpectedly drops dead and Fat Charlie travels to the U.S. for the funeral. Fat Charlie doesn't realize it yet but his father will continue ruining his life, even from beyond the grave.

It isn't long before Fat Charlie realizes that his father kept may secrets from him. Two secrets in particular are difficult for Fat Charlie to wrap his brain around. One is that his father was really the trickster god, Anansi the Spider, and two, Fat Charlie has a brother that he has never met. When his long lost brother, Spider, appears on Fat Charlie's doorstep, it is clear that Spider is the complete opposite of Fat Charlie. It isn't long before Fat Charlie's mundane life, full of order and routine, is turned upside down. 


Neil Gaiman is a wonderful storyteller and author. The whimsical and witty way in which Gaiman writes Anansai Boys really helps to turn this African folktale into a wonderfully entertaining novel. If you enjoyed Big Fish.

It was hard for me to like Fat Charlie's character at first. He has a very mundane life - complete with a dead end job and boring fiance. Fat Charlie doesn't like to take risks or try new things and he consciously works towards avoiding embarrassment.

His brother, Spider, is the epiphany that makes Fat Charlie realize everything he has been missing in his life. While these two go on the adventure of a lifetime and learn more about their father, Fat Charlie also realizes some very important things about himself and learns the importance of balancing life and work.

Despite this being a lighthearted, comical tale, there are some lessons that we can all learn about the bond of family, living life to the fullest, and working towards your goals.

Rating: 4.5/5

Look for Anansai Boys and other books by Neil Gaiman on Amazon or wherever books are sold.


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