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Review: American Gods

October 13, 2011

Shadow is released from prison early because his wife was killed in a car accident.   Grieving and feeling at a loss, Shadow goes to work for a man named Wednesday who is isn’t exactly what he appears to be.  Wednesday sends Shadow on a journey to discover some of the Gods immigrants brought to America from other countries –  Gods that have assumed other identities since they’ve been in America.

American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, was originally published in 2001 and has been so popular that a Tenth Anniversary Edition has recently been released.  I was excited to get a copy of this classic book because so many people I know have loved it.

I guess my mind just doesn’t grasp fantasy well because, while I enjoyed the journey with Shadow (and thought he was a fabulous character) I really didn’t understand a lot of the symbolism and nuances of the story.  That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book, because I did – I just feel like there was so much in this book that was beyond my grasp.  I have a feeling that most people will enjoy this book even more than I did.

I listened to the audio version of American Gods and I must say the audio production is second to none.  It’s read by an ensemble cast and they did a superb job.  It was so easy to tell characters apart and I got lost in the story.  I wasn’t sure what I would think of a book read by a cast, but I loved it and think it was the perfect way to narrate this book.

Review copy provided by Harper Collins. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
40 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2011 5:19 am

    My mind is a bit like your mind in this way. But I still am so very eager to read this one.

  2. October 13, 2011 5:37 am

    This sounds like a good book when I’m ready for some deep thought. I’ll put it on my reading list for between college semesters. Thanks for the review

  3. October 13, 2011 6:30 am

    I loved this book! But then I think I am becoming a bit of a Neil Gaiman fan on the quiet.

  4. October 13, 2011 6:44 am

    Haven’t read this one, but I’m with you in that sometimes when I try fantasy/surreal based, I think I miss out on a lot of the message.

  5. October 13, 2011 7:17 am

    This has been on my TBR list for awhile. I was also looking for an audio book to give to my brother for Christmas along with a gift card. I think I just found it. 🙂
    Thanks for the review.

  6. October 13, 2011 7:47 am

    I have the hard copy sitting here and I’m sure I wouldn’t get it if you didn’t!

  7. October 13, 2011 8:09 am

    I’ve only read one Gaiman book. I liked it, but it isn’t the kind of thing I want to read all the time.

  8. October 13, 2011 8:18 am

    Sold. I have yet to read this author and audio sounds like a great way to start

  9. October 13, 2011 8:21 am

    Wow, its been 10 years already! I still have not read this book! Glad to see you enjoyed it…perhaps upon further reflection you’ll uncover some of those “hidden” elements you think you missed.

  10. October 13, 2011 8:52 am

    I read this a few years ago, and remember liking it, but not loving it, which was confusing to me because I had always heard that Gaiman was a genius and that his books were very popular. I think I am in the same camp as you are when you say that there were just certain things that you didn’t get. I think I am going to try again with one of his other books. I am glad that you finally got the chance to read this one!

  11. October 13, 2011 8:58 am

    I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this book before. While I know it’s not for me, I really enjoyed reading your take on it. It sounds like the audio narration is fabulous.

  12. October 13, 2011 9:40 am

    I don’t read much fantasy, so I’m sure it would go over my head, too, but it does sound interesting. The only Gaiman book I’ve read is Coraline, and I think I need to read something else by him to understand why his work is so loved.

  13. October 13, 2011 11:33 am

    I have this, but am afraid to read it, because I’m afraid I’ll feel just like you did! :–) And yes, also, what Anna said!

  14. October 13, 2011 12:22 pm

    I’ve always wanted to read this book but I probably wouldn’t get all the nuances either. I’d likely rely on my daughter for explanations! Great review!

  15. October 13, 2011 12:36 pm

    I’m not much of a fantasy fan either, so I don’t think this one is for me,

  16. October 13, 2011 2:18 pm

    It’s a fun wild ride, though, yes? I can’t wait to read Anansi Boys and am probably holding out for the right audio set up so I can listen to it. I just need to break down and get an iPod, I suppose…

  17. October 13, 2011 2:56 pm

    I tend to have the same issue with books that have fantasy in them.

  18. October 13, 2011 3:10 pm

    I love fantasy but…I have not read this author yet…am I getting this author confused with the author who wrote GraveYard?

    Oh no…everything is blending together lately…too many books…

  19. October 13, 2011 3:15 pm

    Yay! I’m glad that you tried fantasy!

  20. October 13, 2011 4:03 pm

    I really should read it cos Stardust was just amazing! So yes I should give it a go

  21. October 13, 2011 6:13 pm

    Kathy, I don’t know how you do it, but you manage to read and listen to an astronomical number of books!! Glad you enjoyed this one–it sounds excellent!

  22. October 13, 2011 6:23 pm

    I think I would love to listen to a book narrated by a cast. It would sound like a movie!

  23. October 13, 2011 6:49 pm

    I had the same problem as you Kathy! My oldest son however loved this one and I often wondered why my brain couldn’t interpret the book like his!! LOL! 😀

  24. October 13, 2011 7:18 pm

    This book is on my “Maybe someday” list. I know lots of people have really liked it, but that doesn’t always mean that I will. Regarding the full cast narration, sometimes that works really well – it makes me think of what listening to radio shows must have been like. But I do also like just one reader, too. It’s just a different kind of experience.

  25. October 13, 2011 7:32 pm

    I read this book and didn’t love it as much as many other people. I wish I’d listened to the audio, that might have been better.

  26. October 13, 2011 7:59 pm

    I haven’t heard of this one. It sounds good but i’m not great with adult fantasy. I’m horrible with audiobooks.

  27. October 13, 2011 8:28 pm

    I’ve not read anything by this author but feel like I should. I wonder if I will feel like I’m missing stuff too!

  28. October 13, 2011 9:43 pm

    My brother recently finished this one and loved it. But then, he is something of a scifi major! I can’t wait to read it either.

  29. October 13, 2011 10:08 pm

    I have had this on my TBR for a long time, and have been thinking about reading it with my mythology-obsessed younger daughter — but now I’m wondering if it might be a big too much for her. Maybe I’ll give it a listen first. Thanks, Kathy!

  30. October 14, 2011 12:04 am

    I read this when it first came out and I loved it. For some reason, though I own it, I haven’t read the second one yet. This may be the push I need to get to it. Glad you liked it!

  31. October 14, 2011 1:49 am

    I’ve got a copy of this sitting on the TBR. I’ve only read a bit of Gaiman’s childrens books- Coraline and Wolves in the Walls. I’m very interested in reading more of his stuff. I’ve barely scratched the surface of his rather prolific output. I know some people who are crazy about him. I’m not much into fantasy either though, but have read a bit of scifi in my time- most of it 20 + years ago.

  32. October 14, 2011 12:07 pm

    Not sure this one is for me although I might like it on audio.

  33. October 14, 2011 3:16 pm

    I read this a few years ago and loved it. I’m not sure if it would have worked for me on audio, though.

  34. October 14, 2011 8:58 pm

    I do love fantasy but with this book I liked the IDEA of the book much better than the book itself. I loved the symbolism but just couldn’t get into the story.

  35. October 14, 2011 9:28 pm

    I haven’t read Gaiman but worry that some of the symbolism may go over my head too. Sort of like when I read Tom Robbins recently. I know I was supposed to appreciate it more.

  36. October 15, 2011 12:14 pm

    I don’t think this is for me. I think the symbolism would probably go right over my head! Thanks for the honest review though. I have been curious about Neil Gaiman but now think he probably isn’t an author for me.

  37. October 15, 2011 9:56 pm

    I was looking at this one on Audible today but I hesitated. I loved when Gaiman did his own reading for The Graveyard Book, so I was hoping he read this one too and was disappointed to see it was a cast reading (I’m not usually a fan of multiple narrators). Given your review, though, I think I’ll have to go give the sample a listen – so glad I found your review!

  38. October 16, 2011 7:44 pm

    Thanks for your thoughts! I’m not even going to attempt it. 🙂

  39. October 18, 2011 1:38 pm

    That’s too bad this didn’t work for you. I really want to read this one but have been putting it off because Gaiman is very hit or miss with me. Don’t want to be disappointed, you know?

    I’ve yet to listen to ensemble cast audio but I imagine it would be good!

  40. October 24, 2011 8:59 pm

    This one sounds interesting. I do like fantasy so I might enjoy this one more than you, and sounds like the audio is one too look for.

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