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The Secret Life of Copernicus H. Stringfellow: Surreptitious Superhero - Lorin K. Barber Review originally published at Krazy Book Lady

The Secret Life of Copernicus H. Stringfellow is Lorin Barber’s first work of fiction about Copernicus “Nick” H. Stringfellow – a Twinkies-powered, super-genius superhero who lives his life to help others. It is published by Cedar Fort books with a March 13th, 2012 release date. Its target audience seems to be young adult, although all ages could find enjoyment in this book.

Nick Stringfellow is a strange fellow. He drives cross-country in his 1969 Chevy Impala SS 427, picking up hitchhikers and helping his fellow man when/wherever possible. When the wind blows him to Seattle, Washington, he calls in a favor to one of his old friends to get a job at the Harborview Medical Center as a “nurse at large”. While there, he makes new friends and tries to come up with ways to make these various individuals’ lives better.

I found The Secret Life of Copernicus H. Stringfellow to be a very sweet, funny, and enjoyable read. The protagonist, Nick, is a man on a mission to make the world a better place. He goes out of his way to be helpful to everyone he meets and is quite endearing. His backstory is filled with a little bit of sadness, and he reminds me a bit of T. S. Garp from The World According to Garp by John Irving (minus the sex). The Secret Life is littered with a multitude of minor characters, and the housekeeper, Jemima, is my favorite. The best line of the book is when Nick offers her three thousand dollars a month to clean his house a few hours a day. She tells him, “Honey, for $3000 a month, I’d clean between your toes with a Q-tip.” (ARC, Page 30) I laughed out loud. These minor characters are used to show us the facets of Nick and give him opportunities to grow (as much as a super-genius can).

Something I enjoyed the most of this novel was the little tidbits of information that Nick would rattle off randomly. He was a well of knowledge and was quick to share it, whether his listener liked it or not. Mr. Barber had to have researched a good bit of miscellaneous trivia to provide so many extra facts to the story. I also found the Twinkie-related consonance to be hilarious, even if it began to go a little overboard.

On the downside, I had a few problems with The Secret Life. The main one was that Mr. Barber used stereotypes as a crutch. Every character that was introduced in the story had his or her age, height, weight, race, beauty, and level of hygiene presented. The fat, less than hygienic men were the bad guys that had to be punished (and seemed to be drunks also); the less than pretty or older females were waiting to be swept off their feet by the just as unattractive man; and the beautiful, intelligent woman who had a great career was only being successful while waiting on someone with whom she could start a family. Despite them being so wonderfully described, each one lacked development in the book. There were also a few plot points that went absolutely nowhere. Perhaps there will be a sequel to this novel, but that brings me to my last issue. I would say the book stopped more than ended. Each chapter of the book was its own little story that, while fitting in with the flow of the book, mostly wrapped up at the end of its own little section. I cannot say the same for the book. The only end that was even remotely tied was with one of the villainous minor characters, and the book ended with him. I was left staring at my Nook, asking “Is this it?!”

Although I had my problems with the aforementioned items, I found myself enjoying the book. I think anyone looking for a quick, fun read would relish going on an adventure with Copernicus H. Stringfellow.

A copy was provided by the publisher through Net Galley for review.