Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.
Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.
Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, American Gods takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You’ll be surprised by what – and who – it finds there…
I’m going to be honest with you, when I finished this book about 10 minutes ago I initially didn’t want write this review because my reading of this book was such a personal and intimate experience. It took me over a month to read it because I was so busy and whenever I did get a chance it was always in the few minutes before I absolutely had to sleep otherwise I would fail my exam in the morning. But also because this book goes so deep into what makes America that I feel that it goes deep into what makes someone who they are. All throughout Shadow had to make such hard decisions that I felt as if Gaiman was looking directly into my soul and asking me what I would do in this situation, and frankly that’s quite terrifying. Especially when it’s 11 O’clock on a Monday night and you have two exams in the morning. Finishing this book gave me a sense of calm and completeness that I find hard to achieve anywhere but the yoga mat. And so you see my unwillingness to write about my experience with this book. So instead of giving you my usual review, instead I will give you a list of things that this book both is and isn’t because that feels right for this book as it is both everything and nothing at the same time.
- This book is not gentle. It will drag you in, show you some pretty graphic and horrifying things and then lead you back outside, all the while telling you to have a good night and to come again. Which you will want to, 100%. As soon as you close the pages you will be looking forward to the next time you can open them.
- Shadow is only a puppet. Shadow is the reader and everyone the reader knows, will ever know and will never know. He is only a mirror and I think that he was deliberately named Shadow so that it would become obvious that that was exactly what he was and nothing more. But this is a good thing because you will learn more from Shadow than any god could teach you. And I believe that this was the point.
- This is more than a story about gods and their survival, it is about the survival of everyone and everything. Nothing can exist without some form of belief and that includes human beings.
- I think that this book can show you your truth if you let it, however much like Shadow you will forget everything you learned after the fact, meaning that some fundamental part of you will be changed and you will know what from but you will never be sure how or why. This sounds like a lot from a single book about a roadtrip and some determined gods but it does it as if it is the easiest thing in the world, much like a magician with coin tricks. Or a con artist with a $20 violin and a friend.
- There is not one mention of the Christian God in this book as far as I can tell and that feels new and different even though this book has been out since the early 2000’s – so if that doesn’t tell you something about this society then I don’t know what will.
- This book will show you that it is more than one belief that makes you you. You have to believe in a wide variety of things to even begin to have a personality and the wide number of gods that we and our ancestors have believed in, that are represented here truly show that truth to the max. We are nothing without our beliefs and what I have learned the most from this book is that it is the most important thing that you can do is to stand up for them. Don’t let someone tell you your beliefs mean nothing, because that is a lie because you are nothing without them.
I feel like six points is enough, especially with how deep I got. I really wasn’t expecting that. But anyway, I’m back and I hope that you enjoyed this blog post. If you have read the book tell me what you think and if you took the same things away or if I am just reading too far into it. (I obviously have given it 5/5 stars because it is so incredible and I highly reccomend that you read it if you haven’t yet)