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Superhero by Anthony McCarten – Book Review

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Written by author Anthony McCarten, the novel Superhero (Also known as The Death of a Superhero) describes comic artist and Leukaemia patient Donald Delpe’s life. Yet, on the contrary of what one may expect of this novel, though Donald’s life is heavily influenced by the effects of his disease, his mind is mostly taken up by unstoppable thoughts of sex, drugs and music. Despite the fact that his condition seems to be improving and the continuous pleas of his mother, Don makes no effort to fight cancer. In an attempt to help their son, Don’s parents take him to psychologist Dr. Adrian King who soon becomes an important figure in Don’s life. However, throughout the book it becomes apparent that Don, in effect, has a strong and lasting impact on his psychologist, perhaps unexpectedly so for Adrian.

The story is told from the view of a number of significant characters in the novel. Written in third person, the perspective switches mostly between Donald and Adrian but other perspectives such as those of Don’s parents and brother, Adrian’s wife and nurse Roy are also given.

Though the beginning can be hard to get into, the book is absolutely worth reading. I spent most of my winter holiday forcing myself to read the first 150 or so pages of the book. I believed that with its pretentious ideas, fancy words and script-style layout it was the most disappointingly boring book ever. However, after those initial first pages it took to get used to the style of the author, I started to love the characters and the very original ideas the novel brings forth. I started to realise that in spite of the partially very rude language and adult themes, the book explored new thoughts and perspectives on life I never had really consciously thought of but suddenly realised I could relate to.

With many unexpected revelations and a storyline which, especially towards the second half of the book, is full of surprises, I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys philosophies and likes to see the world through different eyes.

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