Fat Charlie Nancy is not actually fat. He was fat once but he is definitely not fat now. No, right now Fat Charlie Nancy is angry, confused and more than a little scared - right now his life is spinning out of control, and it is all his dad's fault.
Reviewed on 10th October 2010
I picked this up before I had read American Gods (or anything else of Gaiman's sole work) on the strength of Good Omens, and then put off reading it for over two years. I'm kind of glad that I did as I appreciated it more now than I think I would have when I read American Gods.
The story is an odd blend of comic-fantasy-crime-coming-of-age, where Fat Charlie must fight old enemies of his father to stop his brother destroying his life.
I must admit that I had my doubts, but the beginning of this book contained a nice amount of humour and the tone of the narrator (when it has one) is similar to Terry Pratchett's. The second quarter of the book though felt like it dragged a little, focussing more on the fantastical elements that it took me some time to get my head around. The second half though the plot picked up, and the range of characters increased to add more to the comedy and action, reminding me of the style of Christopher Brookmyre.
Gaiman's blended world of physical and meta-physical comes across very well in the end and the interspersion of Anansi stories helps to set the scene and build up some of the characters.
My edition contains a number of 'Extra' features at the end, including a deleted scene (interesting), Gaiman's notebook from when he started writing (fascinating) and some suggested questions for reading groups (to me, boring - trying to read deeper into novels is something I left behind me in school English lessons).
At the end of the book, I have enjoyed reading most of it, but remain unconvinced that Gaiman is an author to add to my regulars list.