I knew that this was, essentially, a love letter to the Golden Age. That's what drew me to the book in the first place. And all of those sections are really fantastic. It sure seems like Chabon is knowledgeable about the subject, and certainly loves it. The behind-the-scenes look at the creation of a (fictional) classic comic hero is huge fun for a comics fan to read.
I did not entirely expect Chabon to give my heart so thorough a pounding. Between Joe losing his family, one at a time, while powerlessly safe himself and Sammy's conflict between being himself (that is, being a gay comics writer in the 40s and 50s) and being "normal", parts of this book had me an absolute wreck. (Protip: When you know
the audiobook you're listening to has a major dose of heartache coming, try to listen to it on the way home from work, instead of on the way there.) I think what made this all so effective is the way Chabon chose to tell his story. He uses simple, direct language and just writes what happened. I had become so connected to the characters that I didn't elaboration to feel what was happening to them.
The ending was ambiguous, which was fine by me. Is it a happy ending? Maybe. I want these characters to be happy. But there are enough loose ends and questions that I can construct my own theories about what will happen, after. I like that.