I just finished Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys, the 12th title I've completed from my Fill in the Gaps list. (Yes, I know... I am very far behind many of the readers here!)
I really enjoyed the book. Gaiman is always good for a fun read (I've got several of his novels on my list — more than any other author, I think). He's funny and he's smart, and that gives his humor a level of depth and his more profound thoughts a rather light touch. Over all, the effect is wonderful.
The story begins with Fat Charlie and his embarrassment over his father. And aren't all of us mortified with embarrassment by our parents? Well, Fat Charlie is just like us in that regard... with the added layer being that his dad is a minor deity, the trickster god of West African and Caribbean traditional folklore.
I love how the folklore weaves into this story. It's Rudyard Kipling without all the trappings of colonialism. It's fun to enter into a tradition other than the one I was brought up in, and yet to have it brought near to the experiences of my own world. That is what Gaiman does so effectively in this novel.
Fat Charlie doesn't start out as a very sympathetic character, for me, but something about the story still managed to suck me in. It is a page turner. For me, I think it is Gaiman's writing (fantastic!) and humor (hilarious!) that kept me turning the pages, even though Fat Charlie didn't immediately strike a chord with me. Anyway, whatever kept me interested, the characters all began to grown on me, the more I read, and made it so I didn't quite want the story to end.