The books you like most are often the ones that are most difficult to review. That definitely seems to be the case with American Gods by Neil Gaiman, one of my all-time favourites, which I decided to reread recently as I explained in this post. It was the first of Gaiman’s novels that I read (way back in 2004 or so), after I had finished reading his Sandman series, and those two remain my favourite of his works.
Now here is an odd confession: I have had a review of Sandman sitting in my drafts folder, unfinished, for about 18 months now. Back in December 2009 I started to reread the series and posted about it here; it took me less than a month to get through the books, but it has been well over a year and I still haven’t finished that review. It just taunts me every time I open up the drafts folder to write something else. At this rate I’ll have to reread the comics again before I can finish it.
I am frequently frustrated by my inability to express myself, particularly when talking about books and writing these reviews. (In fact that is one of the reasons why I started writing these little reviews in the first place, and I do think I am slowly improving; if you look back at some of the old ones you may agree.) But it seems to be especially difficult for me to discuss books and authors that I am particularly attached to, and this one falls under that category.
I don’t know what it is but I can never fully sum up what it is that I like about Gaiman’s writing (be it his comics or his novels or his short stories). Sometimes I’ll be talking about books and his name will come up and someone will tell me that they didn’t like this book, and even though I love it, I just can’t seem to find the words to defend it, to explain why I think it is so great. Fortunately this is rare, because usually when Neil Gaiman comes up in conversation everyone agrees that his books are great and we don’t have to discuss the details because we all just know!
I didn’t want to end up with another unfinished post tormenting me, so this is not a review of American Gods, because I don’t think I can write one. There are lots of great reviews out there, if you are interested then you can find them yourself. If it wasn’t already clear, I love this book. It may very well be my favourite book. And that’s all I have to say on the subject.