March hasn’t been the month that I thought it would be. I expected to read way more than I have. The fact that I’m falling behind my target it starting to get me stressed, which is also making it harder to concentrate on reading. It’s a shame. I didn’t manage to finish any of the novels that I’m currently reading for today but, thankfully, I can post a couple of super quick reads. One of them was something I read at the start of the month haven’t been able to get out of my head. The other was one I read on a whim this evening. That’s just how it goes I guess.
The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman
After reading All My Friends are Superheroes last month, I knew that I needed to read more books by Andrew Kaufman. I loved his point of view and his creativity. That book was so much fun and so charming. I couldn’t resist. My next stop on the Kaufman book tour was The Tiny Wife. It was another quick read but another unforgettable reading experience. It’s like nothing I’ve read before and something that I’ve not been looking forward to reviewing. I’ve still not completely come to terms it now.
The story begins with a bank robbery. Although it’s not money that the thief is after. Instead, he takes one meaningful item from each of the people in the bank. This could be a piece of jewellery or a simple memento of a special time. They just have to prove that the item has sentimental value. In the days following the robbery, each of the victims finds their lives turning upside down. One woman’s tattoo comes to life, someone’s husband turns into a snowman, and another’s baby starts to shit out gold.
Stacey Hinterland discovers that she is slowly shrinking. It starts off in tiny and almost unnoticeable increments but the changes get bigger as time moves on. Her marriage was already pretty rocky but this only makes the tension grow. The only thing that unites these people is the man who stole from them. Will their weekly support meetings help them find a cure or is Stacey doomed to shrink away to nothing?
The Tiny Wife is a modern fable or fairy tale. It definitely has a Brothers Grimm vibe to it. There’s darkness but also a real charm within the story. It’s funny and emotional but with a heavy dose of whimsy. Kaufman really does a great job of keeping everything balanced. It never goes too far into the flights of fancy and there’s an important message at it’s core. This is a book that forces you to question what is important in life. It’s about holding onto things for the right reasons and letting go of the things that are holding you back.
As this is more of a fairy tale, it is quite light on the content. There’s not a great deal of story or detail here. The actual narrative does skim over some important parts and it won’t really please readers who demand closure from their novels. Instead, this is the kind of story that demands your own input. You have to join a lot of the dots and make this work for you. It will tell you a lot about modern life and about yourself. This is a beautiful and creative story that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson
I was really excited when this comic book series first came out. It was around the time that I was still getting a monthly delivery of physical comic books, so I think I got every issue. It’s been a while since I read it though. When it turned free on Kindle for Prime, I decided that I’d give the first volume another read. Especially ahead of her first appearance in the MCU later this year. I’m very excited to see how the series goes and think she’ll be a great addition to Captain Marvel 2. Kamala Khan is a very interesting character and one that will bring a much needed new perspective to the superhero movie world.
Ms Marvel was a groundbreaking series when it first came out. This was the first time Marvel was putting a Muslim character in a starring role. It rightly got a lot of attention and the first volume won Hugo Award for best graphic story in 2015. This is a series of comics that not only tell the origin story of a new superhero but one that offers insight into the life of a teenage Pakistani American. Kamala is living between two worlds and finding herself out of place in both. She represents so many teenagers like her and it’s wonderful that her experiences were put in the spotlight.
In terms of the comic book element, Kamala gains her powers in a suitably mysterious way. After defying her parents and attending a party, Kamala finds herself with the ability to shapeshift. She initially takes the form of her hero Carol Danvers, which leads people to assume she is Ms Marvel herself. As she gains control of her powers, Kamala soon becomes able to retain her own image but accepts the Ms Marvel mantel now that Carol is Captain Marvel.
I admit that the superhero/supervillain element isn’t exactly the most original or exciting story that we’ve ever seen but there is still plenty of exciting writing here. There is definite empowerment within these pages. It’s showcasing women and Pakistani Americans in all their glory. It’s also fun that Kamala is as much of a superhero nerd as we are. It’s hard not to like her as a character, which is the most important thing here. The early stages of her series work because she is such a wonderful character. Such an important character. There was a lot of pressure to get this right and I think they nailed it. As origin stories go, this is an incredibly strong one.