Saturday, 20 August 2016
Review Time! - Last Night, A Superhero Saved My Life By Liesa Mignona (Ed.)
Editor: Liesa Mignona
Genre: Non-fiction, Essays
A few starting notes:
I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.
Frequent readers of this blog will be aware that yours truly is a nerdgirl extraordinaire with much-love for the superpowers and the capes.
Superheroes are more than just characters to me - like books in general, they are a lifeline.
This book - about how superheroes can be real-life heroes too - was calling out my name.
Superheroes can be a huge part of our lives - in this compilation, contributors from Neil Gaiman, to Jodi Picoult, to Leigh Bardugo, write about what superheroes mean to them.
I dare anyone to not find something here which speaks to them.
Whether you're a superhero fan or not, you will find one essay at least, among the many here, which shows how the deepest meanings can be found in the pop culture we drink in every day, often without giving it a second thought.
And it will serve as an explanation, I hope, to all of the people who look at cosplayers, comic-conners, and fandom, with disdain.
There are reasons we love this stuff. Heroes matter.
Those of you already converted to all things labelled 'Marvel' and/or 'DC' will love this book. It's a celebration of the things we love, by others who love them too.
This book shows that superheroes are as versatile as their readers - often fun and light-hearted, with a variety of traumas and complexities in their histories, who, at the end of the day, are human. (Yes, superhuman counts as human too.)
And, as most of the contributors are already writers of a pretty high calibre, the whole thing manages to flow pretty damned well.
I read it straight-through, but the beauty of an essay book is that it's easy to dip in-and-out of. If you don't connect with one essay, just find one that's more interesting to you :)
Not so great bits:
OK, so, there were superheroes discussed here which won't be known to the general public (i.e. the non-nerdy,) and there were a couple that left even me wracking my brains for reference-points.
I managed to muddle through, but readers who are less knowledgeable on all things hero may wind up skipping the odd essay here and there.
And, obviously, when given a book with this amount of voices you aren't going to agree with all of them.
The essay about Wolverine promoting 'real' masculinity? Yeah... I wasn't a fan. Especially as 'real' masculinity here seemed to involve promoting violence. Just not my thing, pal, sorry.
For people who dislike such things, I should mention that there's swearing.
Also, this book deals with a lot of issues which people may find themselves coping with.
Including (but not limited to): bereavement, mental health problems, sexual abuse, child abuse, and a huge amount of family issues.
It's all handled very well, but I thought that I'd give you the heads-up: this is a beautiful book, but it deals with some very hard subjects.
Any fans of superheroes (or those who want to understand the proper care and maintenance of your nerd,) will find a beautiful and inspiring collection of personal experiences.
Sometimes, superheroes are real heroes too.
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