alice grass

American Gods by Neil Gaiman-Review

Sunday, August 25, 2013
I listened to this audio book on another one of my roads trips.  This book is crazy.  I didn't even know what was going on half the time.  Here is the goodreads description: 

American Gods is Neil Gaiman's best and most ambitious novel yet, a scary, strange, and hallucinogenic road-trip story wrapped around a deep examination of the American spirit. Gaiman tackles everything from the onslaught of the information age to the meaning of death, but he doesn't sacrifice the razor-sharp plotting and narrative style he's been delivering since his Sandman days. 

Shadow gets out of prison early when his wife is killed in a car crash. At a loss, he takes up with a mysterious character called Wednesday, who is much more than he appears. In fact, Wednesday is an old god, once known as Odin the All-father, who is roaming America rounding up his forgotten fellows in preparation for an epic battle against the upstart deities of the Internet, credit cards, television, and all that is wired. Shadow agrees to help Wednesday, and they whirl through a psycho-spiritual storm that becomes all too real in its manifestations. For instance, Shadow's dead wife Laura keeps showing up, and not just as a ghost--the difficulty of their continuing relationship is by turns grim and darkly funny, just like the rest of the book. 

Armed only with some coin tricks and a sense of purpose, Shadow travels through, around, and underneath the visible surface of things, digging up all the powerful myths Americans brought with them in their journeys to this land as well as the ones that were already here. Shadow's road story is the heart of the novel, and it's here that Gaiman offers up the details that make this such a cinematic book--the distinctly American foods and diversions, the bizarre roadside attractions, the decrepit gods reduced to shell games and prostitution. "This is a bad land for Gods," says Shadow. 

More than a tourist in America, but not a native, Neil Gaiman offers an outside-in and inside-out perspective on the soul and spirituality of the country--our obsessions with money and power, our jumbled religious heritage and its societal outcomes, and the millennial decisions we face about what's real and what's not. 


OY! This book! So for me this book did not work. I wouldn't have even have finished it if I hadn't been on a long road trip and brought this audio book to listen to. I have read Gaiman before, Coraline, The Graveyard Book, Stardust, and Neverwhere. I enjoyed all of them. I have tried Sandman but didn't really like that one. I thought for sure I would enjoy this book. Everyone I know (well on goodreads) loves this book. It must've went straight over my head. I have to say it is a good thing I have read other books of his or this one would've turned me off from his writing. I have noticed for me some of his books are great and others are just well all over the place.

For me this book just had plot lines everywhere. One minute we are reading about some slaves that were sold and follow their story (I have no idea why) and the next minute we are following out main character Shadow around). Apparently, after reading a lot of reviews on this book there is a lot of deeper meaning to this book about America. Those types of books are not for me. I just want to read a story and not have to figure out what it is symbolizing. I thought this book was going to be more magical and have an epic battle of gods at the end. Nope none of that.


 One of the reasons I really wanted to get this book read was because of the rumors that it's going to be a 6 season series on HBO. I don't even see how this is going to be successful on there. I can't decide if it's because I was listening to it on audio and not reading it. Though I did listen to Under the Dome by Stephen King and thought that was fantastic.  After listening to this audio and reading all the reviews I feel a little... well dumb.  Like how did I not get out of this book what everyone else go out of it.

I don't know whether to recommend this to people or not.  Lots of people love it... I loathed it.  I am still confused about what I just read!!!

The crystal ball says: 



Thunder is booming!! Run inside and don't bother reading!

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10 comments:

  1. I didn't like this one either, but I've also realized (after reading this, Stardust, and Neverwhere) that I just don't really like Gaiman. I want to like him. He's very imaginative. I like his ideas. I just don't like the way he puts his stories together, I guess. They're not for me.

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    1. I wanted to like this too! I wanted to like it sooo much. I just guess I didn't get everything he was saying about America. You are supposed to find things about it in the story and it was OUT THERE!

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  2. I must agree with you.. I choose this book as a requirement for one of my classes, and had to choose another, because I was soo confused and didn't finish it!! :/

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    1. I am surprised I made it through. If it weren't for my road trip or the fact that I didn't have another audio book with me I wouldn't have finished it.

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  3. Sadness. I really liked American Gods. Though I've noticed that those who love Coraline, The Graveyard Book and Stardust are usually not fan of his (adult) urban fantasy/Sandman books. I enjoy his YA books, but the ones I love are his UF stories :)

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    1. I think this is true. I really wanted to love Sandman but just didn't get into it. Though I did enjoy Neverwhere. I won't give up on Gaiman.. I will try more of his books!

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  4. Glad I read your review before I checked this out. Maybe I will try Audio at some point, but I have other books by him that I would rather read first.

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    1. I just don't know... I mean I listened to it till the bitter end even though I just wanted to give up on reading it. It is way out there to me.

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  5. I read this when it first came out, and I remember enjoying it, but I don't remember much else. I may have to revisit it at some point in time. Sorry you didn't like it all that much.

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    1. A lot of people like this book. I am so surprised I didn't. I am suspicious that it was the audio... since it was only my second audio book I won't know!! But it sucked to me so I don't even want to try reading the physical book.

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