Sometimes, for whatever reason, you wake up just feeling… off, and it takes all of your will power to leave your comfy warm bed and face a day that already is off to a bad start. That happened to me this morning; I didn’t get enough sleep last night, for which I partly blame my Ke$ha-loving neighbours (it hurt me to type that stupid dollar sign in her stupid name) and–to be honest–my new obsession with the website “Pinterest.”
By the time I was able to drag my butt out of bed, it was only to discover that I had forgotten to buy coffee during my weekly grocery shop yesterday, and horror of horrors, I was going to have to go to class and discuss theory that I only had the faintest of grasps on without any caffeine in my system. I barely made it through; I even succumbed to drinking the horrible coffee available in our department’s communal kitchen, tragically discovering afterwards that it was DECAF and that’s why my headache had yet to disappear.
After class, me and my pounding head went back to my apartment in order to get on the phone with Financial Aid and spend the next three hours on an emotional roller-coaster ride encompassing rage, confusion and panic attacks. When the emotions finally went away and left me feeling dead inside, I decided to leave my apartment for a bit of fresh air to help clear my head. And then… I saw it. There it was, waiting in my mailbox, a package that I knew contained the cure to all my ailments. It was the book I had ordered from Coach House Press a couple of weeks ago, All My Friends Are Superheroes. I grabbed it, sprinted up the stairs, ripped it open, dive-bombed my couch and began to read.
It was lovely, exactly what I needed on a day like today. It’s short, tender, and true. Kaufman gently tells a story about Tom, a man who has literally become invisible to his wife, the Perfectionist. As she boards a plane to Vancouver, prepared to use her superpower to forget the husband she thinks has abandoned her and all the heartbreak she feels, Tom follows, desperate to make her see him again. Kaufman’s storytelling is unique and original, unlike anything I’ve ever read. His characters and their relationships are unreal, yet painfully familiar: a girl cries TVs while the Wild Mood Swinger makes you feel a bit self-conscious. If you had told me yesterday that a brief description of a superhero named “The Spooner” would leave me choked up and on the verge of tears, I’d have raised a quizzical brow and pointed it in your direction. This book manages to be hilarious and poignant all at the same time, as it describes superheroes that I promise you will recognize in the people around you, and maybe even in yourself. All My Friends Are Superheroes is one of the best stories I’ve read in a very long time; it made me feel things, which I think is one of the greatest things a novel can do. It’s my new go-to-for-comfort book. Forget flowers and chocolates this Valentine’s Day, give a copy of this instead.
Listen to Angus and Julia as you ponder YOUR favourite comfort books, and let me know about them in the comment section!