Book Review: All My Friends are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman

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All of Tom’s friends are superheroes, even his wife the Perfectionist is a superhero, because of this certain parts of his life aren’t like anyone else’s. Like his wife, everyone’s strongest trait is their superpower and so you end up with some interesting heroes,like the Dancer, the Stress Bunny and the Phoney.  I’ll mention now that my copy is a newer edition with even more superheroes and with that, even more great illustrations for them!

All My Friends Are Superheroes is first and foremost about love. Ultimately it is a love story that goes pear shaped and has some invisibility thrown in because of an ex, but a love story none the less. Six months later, when the Perfectionist thinks that Tom has simply abandoned her, she decides that she’s going to move and use all her powers to forget about Tom and make a new life for herself. Little does she know Tom has been by her side the whole time and is racing against the clock to make her see him again before it’s too late.

I loved this story it’s short, funny and cute. Kaufman certainly has a talent for writing, as soon as I finished this (in one sitting no less) I went to my local bookshop to pick up another one. These books are great if you want to read something quirky, fun and short, which is particularly brilliant as a lit student because sometime you need a break from serious books. The character of Tom was brilliant too, he seems to be such a sweet man and genuinely loves his wife, which makes a nice change.

The superhero names were also great and it really did make me think about the people in my life and what superhero they would be. Kaufman has not only created a really funny and well thought out book but also one with heart, one that makes you think about life, which I didn’t expect when I first started reading. It got me thinking about which superhero I would be and which one I’d actually want to be. I’d probably be either the Bookworm or the Worrier, because that’s two of my most defining traits above all else.

I would definitely recommend this book for your shelf because, ultimately, you can read it again and again if you want to. It’s so short that it hardly takes up any time at all and the story is one that you won’t get bored of. It’s because of this, as well as the great writing and illustrations, that I’m giving All My Friends are Superheroes five stars *****. Every now and again even the most determined of us need to wind down and this is the perfect book for that. Keep your eyes peeled later on for other reviews of Kaufman’s work! I can guarantee there will be more!

Book Review: Breaking The Silence by Jo Milne

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For most of us, listening to the kettle boil, the voices of our families or the sound of a bird is something that we take for granted. These are just sounds of everyday life, right? Not for Jo Milne and thousands of others like her who are registered deaf. Jo was born deaf and after it being picked up in her early childhood in the 1970s, Jo was simply known as ‘the deaf girl to those around her who knew and loved her. With the support of a loving family Jo managed to live a relatively normal life and was happy.

All goes well for Jo who doesn’t let her disability stop her, instead spending her life to help others with disabilities. That is, until she is diagnosed with Usher Syndrome, meaning that as well as being deaf, she is also going blind. Her fear of being plunged into darkness and silence is always present (as it would be for any of us!). After battling for years with these feelings a lifeline was offered to her, the ability to hear via a cochlear implant to the brain. A video that went viral on Youtube, prompting interest around the world.

This is a story of determination, courage and love. I read this within 24 hours and was glued to it the whole time. I loved Jo’s spirit and that of her family who merely adapted their lives so that she was always a part of their life. Although it is clear Jo struggles, and some of the tales from school will make your heart fill with anger and sadness, she keeps bouncing back, never letting life drag her down.

I’ve always been fascinated by the deaf community, sign language and lip reading are both beautiful forms of communication. Jo has handled all of this and then has to learn again, this time to cope without her sight, which understandably she struggles with but she is so honest. I think the reason I loved Jo’s memoir so much is that she’s honest, nothing is sugar coated but she’s not bitter either. She constantly fights through and believes in herself with the wisdom her late grandfather gave to her. I think that struck a chord personally too, the connection she has with her grandfather reminded me very much of the connection with mine.

While you would expect this story to make you a little low, I can tell you with certainty it doesn’t. What Jo does is make you realise that each day is different, that even in truly dark times where you feel like your body is betraying you there is a way around it. She has a kind heart and the steely determination of the Geordie roots she is so proud of (and so she should be!).

I’m giving this book 5 stars *****, because if anything it’s one of the most inspirational memoirs I’ve ever read. I remember watching Joanne on TV when the video first came out and I could have listened to her all day, reading her book has made it possible to understand her world. I feel like EVERYONE should read this, if anything just to understand what life is like for someone with disabilities. This is a truly amazing book and I hope you all have the pleasure to read it.

Also, here is the viral video of Jo being able to hear for the first time, prepare to have tears in your eyes! 🙂

 

Review by Chloe Metzger