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Literary Friday: American Gods

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!  Okay so I know that it's Saturday, and this post is a day late, and I apologize.  Unfortunately, Shanley Belle has been very sick.  She has a severe kidney infection that is antibiotic resistant, and I had to take her to her appointment yesterday for an IV infusion.  She has had a history of kidney infections her entire life, and this one is scary.  Plus, she is moving to Baton Rouge in a couple of weeks to begin her doctoral program at LSU.  We will do all we can to help her move and get settled.  Hopefully she can get some much needed rest this weekend.

When we got to the lake yesterday, the Internet wasn't working properly, but it is this morning and I'm able to post this review.

The irony is that American Gods is Shanley's all time favorite book, and she would be very sad to think that I forgot to post this yesterday morning because I was so focused on her.  She loves mythology and lore, especially Norse mythology.  I think I'll order her Neil Gaiman's book on Norse mythology because she doesn't have that one yet.  She will love it!

About American Gods

Paperback: 576 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; The Tenth Anniversary Edition, with TV Tie-in jacket art (March 28, 2017)

Now a STARZ Original Series produced by FremantleMedia North America starring Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, and Pablo Schreiber | Premiering Sunday, April 30, at 9pm EST

Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life. But just days before his release, Laura and Shadowís best friend are killed in an accident.

With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself. Life as Wednesdayís bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. Soon Shadow learns that the past never dies . . . and that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing an epic war for the very soul of America and that he is standing squarely in its path.

PLUS: don't miss American Gods: The Official Coloring Book, featuring illustrations by Yvonne Gilbert, Craig Phillips, and Jon Proctor. Indulge your inner artist and revel in the stunning imagery of the gods and people, places and artifacts of Neil Gaimanís American Gods.

Shadow Moon and Mr. Wednesday from the American Gods Coloring Book


Purchase Links†for the TV Tie-in Paperback

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by Beowulf Sheehan

About Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains; the Sandman series of graphic novels; and the story collections Smoke and Mirrors, Fragile Things, and Trigger Warning. He is the winner of numerous literary honors, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards, and the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. Originally from England, he now lives in the United States. He is Professor in the Arts at Bard College. Find out more about Neil at his website, find all his books at his online bookstore, and follow him on InstagramFacebooktumblr, Twitter, and his blog.

My Review:

This is a new edition of American Gods, and I wish I could compare this one with the original, but honestly I read the original so many years ago I can't determine what wasn't in the first because I only remembered the basic storyline from before.  I did read that this is the edition Neil Gaiman is the most proud of, and it is also an improvement of the tenth anniversary edition.

Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite writers.  Our daughters love him, too, and when the youngest was in sixth grade and the oldest in the eleventh I took them to see Gaiman speak in Tuscaloosa.  We had so much fun, and both were thrilled when he answered their questions during the Q & A session (notecards had been distributed before his talk and he chose which questions to answer).  Anyway, I digress about Gaiman's rockstar status in our home.  On to my review...

American Gods is social satire at its best.  Basically it's about a war between the old gods from European lore (the ones immigrants brought with them to America) and the new ones indigenous to America:  freeways, internet, TV, etc.  The old gods have lost much of their allure and power when following their native folks to the new world, and they have been reduced to petty criminals like grifters and prostitutes.  But a Norse god has determined that the old gods must win at all costs: Apparently the oncoming "storm" of a battle is for America's very soul as a nation.  Shadow, the protagonist of American Gods, has some humorous and sometimes disturbing run-ins with the "new" gods as he works for Mr. Wednesday.  By the way, Wednesday's name is a big clue to his true identity.

Honestly the character that makes me the most uncomfortable more than any of the other (very colorful) characters is Laura.  Her blasé attitude toward everything is cringe-worthy.  Readers love Shadow: How could she?  How could she have betrayed his trust like she did?  But unfortunately, Shadow's devotion to Laura is what landed him in prison to start with.  What men will do know.... *sighs*

I couldn't help but wonder if the story would have been any different if Gaiman had written after 9/11 and the advent of social media.  I kept thinking about that while reading this new edition. Unfortunately, I think it would have been very different with a much more disturbing ending.  I'm happy he wrote it when he did.

The story is a difficult one to follow with all the subplots, and the language definitely has an R rating. But still it is literary worthy and I highly recommend it.  And if you've never read Neverwhere or The Graveyard Book you really must read them.  There are characters in both books I shall never forget.  If you'd like to read a few of my reviews of Gaiman's other works, use the search widget on my sidebar.


I received a copy of the above edition of American Gods from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. So sorry about your daughter's illness, I pray she is better soon and able to move into her new life must be quite stressful for you, best of luck~

  2. I hope Shanley Belle gets better soon, and wish her all the best in her continued path to conquering the world (seriously, what can't she do???). I love the multiple layers to American Gods- the subplots and vignettes are world-building, but also the messages about love, self-sacrifice, what happens when others choose to sacrifice things of you, etc. I think Laura is blaise because she's dead- to me, she's meant to be horrifically disconnected from everything. Even the most morally corrupt of the gods, who are willing and eager to sacrifice others for their own gain, aren't so disconnected- it's that passion, in whatever form it takes, that binds us and brings us together (all creatures). I recommend the 10th anniversary edition, if you can get it. It's Gaiman's favorite, and he actually includes a blurb about 9/11 in the author's forward.
    Have fun at the lake!

  3. RJ, Hope after a restful Stanley Belle is feeling better. What a great surprise for her to order the book and I'm glad you found a window of opportunity to get this review posted. Do let me know how SB is feeling, that is so scary............

  4. Hope all is getting much better with your girl! I wanted to treat myself to a new book at Target on Sunday and saw this one, knew you had reviewed it, but hadn't read said review yet!

  5. I am so sorry to hear about Shanley Belle. I wish her well at LSU and hope that the kidney problem can be treated once and for all.

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour!

  7. Hope your daughter got ok. Haven't seen a post or anything on Instagram from you in a while. I know life gets busy but I was thinking of you.
    Have a good Fourth. Bonnie@livingwiththanksgiving.


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.


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