After my disappointment with American Gods I had a bit of a crisis. I started to question myself and my reading tastes. Do I not like Neil Gaiman any more? Did I just miss something? If I reread his other books would I dislike them now? I was scared to pick up Anansi Boys because of this crisis and because it is set in the same reality as American Gods. Although it did take me some time to get into the novel, I am happy to say that I enjoyed Anansi Boys much more than American Gods and yes, I am still a Neil Gaiman fan. Crisis averted.
Anansi is a god who appears in American Gods, but this isn’t even his story. It is the story of his son(s). Why the parenthesis? A few reasons. One reason is that Fat Charlie Nancy never knew he had a brother and he certainly didn’t know his father was a god. When Fat Charlie meets his magical brother his world gets flipped on its head. Where American Gods seemed distant and more serious, Anansi Boys has the characteristic Gaiman humor and charm. The more Gaiman I read the more “tropes” (themes?) of his I notice– magical old women, everyone being in on a joke except the main character (the lime!), and magic being in the most common places. I loved Gaiman’s use of mythology/folklore from a culture that isn’t handled much in literature. I liked his quirky and diverse cast of characters. I liked pretty much everything. I gave it a solid 5 stars on the ol’ Goodreads. I’m still trying to figure out exactly where American Gods went wrong for me, but I know what Anansi Boys did right. So, if you have read one of them and not the other and disliked the one you read… maybe give the other a try?