Thursday 9 July 2009

Hero by Perry Moore

Hero tells the story of Thom, a secret teenage superhero, as he struggles to grow up, deal with his powers, his relationship with his father and find out who he really is and what he stands for.

This has been one of my favourite books of the year so far. Fast paced and emotional the story pulls you in from the first page. And whilst the character types will be familiar to anyone with only the barest familiarity with the superhero genre - healer, precog, strongman etc. - seeing the story through Thom's eyes shows it to us from a different perspective.

Now I think this is YA, but I am not 100% positive, maybe the older end of YA? My copy has 'not suitable for younger readers' printed on the back. There is strong swearing and sexual situations though nothing overtly graphic.

Anyhoo. I picked this up after it was recommended on several blogs, I believe it was Kris who described it as fan-fucking-tastic. Told in the first person, from Thom's point of view, for me the story works best when it deals with the relationships he has with those close to him - his father, Goran, Ruth. Initially the style is very stream of conciousness and backtracks when Thom realizes he has left an important part of the story out. It's realistically written and we share Thom's experiences with him. Some of them absolutely cringeworthy and probably familiar to most of us who hated high school.

He and his father seem to communicate on different wavelengths, no one understands him, and on top of everything he likes guys rather than girls.

Thom is finding his place in the world and finding out that having super powers doesn't necessarily make it any easier. He's finding out you have to make your own place and be prepared to fight for it - and not necessarily with your fists. He has to 'wake up' and realize that life is something to be lived and that not everything can be achieved without experiencing pain. Okay, I don't mean to make it sound completely angst-ridden because actually a lot of it is very funny, Thom has a very self-depracating sense of humor. Possibly my favourite line:-
"Aim for his nads!" Ruth screamed. Aim for his nads with what? My strong sense of integrity?
What I like most about the story is the relationship between Thom and his father. Maybe because my own dad died very recently but some of this hit close to home. Thom has to deal with the fact that his father is somewhat homophobic, but Thom is not (initially) in a position to know the problems and prejudices that his father has to deal with on a day to day basis.

One of the most interesting things about the book for me - was how it highlights how our parents can live separate lives that we aren't even aware of. How the biggest thing they may have to deal with in a day is not that we pranged the car or broke the home computer but that they lost their job or that their best friend died. I think this will be a future comfort read for me and a book that I highly recommend.

I'm not sure Perry Moore will make it as my breakout author for 2009 after all there are still six months to go, but Hero will definitely be ranking in my top 5 books of the year.


Jenre said...

I must read this. I've read several great reviews of it.

Including yours now!

LesleyW said...

Jenre - thank you! And yes you must. :)

Sarah said...

This looks seriously cute! Great review. :)

Kris said...

Great review!

"One of the most interesting things about the book for me - was how it highlights how our parents can live separate lives that we aren't even aware of."

I really like how you said this. I think the thing I loved the most about this book was Thom's r/ship with his father and those few scenes towards the end of the book are extremely poignant; filled with new understanding and compassion.

I'm so glad that you loved it, Lesley. It will definitely be a top 5 for me too.

Tracy said...

Oh I just loved this one. I think a big part of it for me was that Thom had his father, but other than that not a lot of family. The superheroes in his group became his family and it was just wonderful.

LesleyW said...

Sarah - Thanks

Kris - it was the relationship between Thom and his father that made the book special for me. I liked his humour as well, but it was the understanding that developed between him and his father that I loved.

Tracy - Yeah, they were a super-dysfunctional family.

I'd be interested to see what they do with the TV show if it ever happens.

Anonymous said...

Hi, all and THANK YOU!

Perry Moore, here, author of HERO, grateful for all the real-life heroes out there who can relate to Thom.

I'd love to invite you to write me I can give you so many insights to the real-life origins of this fictional story, and I'd welcome any thoughts or suggestions you may have for the sequel.

How lucky we are to live in an era where you can all make a difference in this world -- to be the real life role models that generations to come will embrace!

I never had these positive role models; in fact, I more vividly remember being forced to laugh at Eddie Murphy's AIDS and gay jokes when I was Thom's age.

Now, please write me, or post reviews on sites like Amazon. You are all so passionate and intelligent. Think how many of you can get HERO into the hands of those who need it.

The most eternally grateful fanboy and author in the world,
Perry Moore