Sometimes life deals you a bad hand. Sometimes life deals you a series of bad hands. Like, a never-ending series of bad hands where it’s just one headache after another. This is such the case of the central character of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Shadow Moon.
At first glance, there isn’t much that stands out about Shadow Moon. Though his exact racial makeup remains unknown it is confirmed that his mother was indeed Black. Growing up, Shadow was small and kind of dorky, and was often bullied by his peers. When puberty took hold of him, Shadow grew significantly. As a grown man he would be described in the novel as “big enough and looked don’t-f@#k-with-me enough.” At the beginning of the novel, Shadow is let out of prison earlier than expected; the reason being his wife has died in a car accident. That’s terrible…but it gets worse. It turns out that his best friend, also died in a car accident the same day as his wife. That’s terrible…but it gets worse. Shadow discovers that his wife and best friend were having an affair and that the car accident more than likely happened because of their…how do I put this delicately…sexual exploits while driving.
In his grief, Shadow reluctantly made a deal with an individual named Mr. Wednesday to become his bodyguard. So he begins traveling with Mr. Wednesday from city to city. This doesn’t sound too bad, right? Here’s the catch: traveling with Mr. Wednesday and acting as his bodyguard resulted in Shadow being caught in an oncoming war between The Old Gods and The New Gods. Shadow’s adventures would put him in life and death situations day-in and day-out with very little reprieve. However, as time goes on, he’d learn quite a bit about himself along the way.
Brandon Blackmon was born and raised in Clinton, NC. After high school, he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; graduating with a bachelor’s in psychology. He attended Pfeiffer University where he received a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and is currently a licensed marriage and family therapist. Brandon is a proud blerd (Black nerd) and a firm advocate and believer that representation matters in all forms of media.