The book opens with an explination of songs and their importance in the creation of the world. Every part of the world was sung into being. This transitions into a description of Mr. Nancy and his love of karaoke, which connects to Charlie, and the story begins.
Fat Charlie, the book's protagonist, is planning with Rosie, his fiancée, whom they are going to invite to their wedding. Rosie inquires about Charlie's family. Charlie informs her that his dad is his only living family because his mom died of cancer, but he would not invite his father to the wedding because he is too embarrasing. He explains to Rosie how embarrasing his dad is by retelling the stories of how his dad tricked him into wearing a costume of President Taft to school, tricked him into thinking Mermaids were real, disrupted the peace of the hospital by walking in with a band to play music to Charlie's dying mother, and stuck him with the nickname Fat Charlie. Rosie believes that the wedding will be the perfect place for Charlie to make amends with his father and forces Charlie to invite him.
Charlie hasn't spoken to his father in years and doesn't even know where he lives or what his phone number is so he calls up an old family friend who used to be his neighbor when he was growing up in Florida, Mrs. Higgler. Mrs. Higgler informs Charlie that his father has died and that he needs to fly from England, his current home, to Florida right away for the funeral.
Charlie flies to Florida and races through the cemetary because he is late for the funeral. He makes it to the funeral and gives a speech. Mrs. Higgler then cathces up to him and tells him that, to Charlie's embarrasment, he is at the wrong funeral and has missed his own father's funeral. Charlie then goes to his father's grave and Mrs. Higgler makes him fill it with dirt himself.
After Charlie has finished filling his father's grave, he goes back to Mrs. Higgler's house for food and to mourn with the other people who knew his father. This is where Charlie sees Mrs. Dunwiddy, the old women who he is afraid of, and remembers breaking her mirror ball in her garden when he was a young boy. Mrs. Higgler insists that he stay at her house for the night. The next day he looks at the pictures in Mrs. Higgler's house and asks about his father. Mrs. Higgler explains that Mr. Nancy, Charlie's father, was a god. His name was actually Anansi, the god of trickery. She also explained that the picture of Charlie and his reflection in a mirror wasn't really a reflection. The second boy was Charlie's brother. Charlie denies that he ever had a brother, but Mrs. Higgler explains that he did in fact have a brother who inherited all of the god parts of Anansi and all Charlie had to do was ask a spider and his brother would come.
Charlie flies back to England and spends the night drinking. Rosie comes over to take a shower because her water isn't working. Charlie hears Rosie scream from the bathroom and runs in. She is screaming because of a spider in the tub and orders him to take it out, but not to kill it. Charlie picks up the spider and takes it outside. He asks the spider to tell his brother to visit, and the spider scurries away.
That night Charlie dreams of a cool guy that he calls the Fly Guy. The Fly Guy is the life of the party and everyone loves him. Charlie wakes up and that day his Brother arrives. His brother introduces himself as Spider. Spider is the Fly Guy. Spider explains that he knew about Charlie and planned on visiting, but always got distracted. Charlie informs Spider that their father is dead. Spider checks out the situation himself by walking into a picture of a house back in Florida.
When Spider returns, he is upset about the death of his father. He convinces Charlie that they need a night out of "wine, women, and song." Spider takes Fat Charlie to a bar and they drink a bottle of the darkest and oldest wine Charlie has ever seen. They then go from bar to bar picking up girls. Once Spider is surrounded by women, Charlie follows the group to a karaoke bar. Charlie, who is compltely afriad of singing in public, gets up to sing but passes out.
Charlie wakes up in bed with one of the girls from the night before naked in bed with him. She informs him that she did not sleep with him, and that she was just there to take care of him. Spider goes to work for Charlie and pretends to be him. He figures out that Charlie's boss, Graham Coats, is involed in embezzlement. He also goes out with Rosie, who believes he is Charlie. Rosie falls in love with Spider, believeing that he is Charlie but something is different.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Noah, Rosie's mother, shows up at Charlie's house and sees the girl there with Charlie. The girl, Daisy Day, comes into the kitchen half naked and Charlie lies and says that she is his cousin. Mrs. Noah leaves and informs Rosie of Charlie's "cousin" and Rosie believes Charlie that Daisy is his cousin if he says so.
Charlie goes back to work and his boss, Graham Coats, gives him two weeks off. Coats needs the time to frame Charlie for the embezzlement. Spider likes Rosie and continues to go out with her, still pretending to be Charlie. Charlie sees them together on the street and is infuriated. He confronts Spider and tells him to stop, but Spider refuses. Spider then goes a step further and sleeps with Rosie. Charlie demands that Spider leave, but Spider refuses to do this too, claiming that he likes it there and likes being Charlie. Charlie then flies back to Florida to seek help from Mrs. Higgler.
Mrs. Higgler says that she can't help, but that Mrs. Dunwiddy could. The women send Charlie to the Beginning of the World to look for help among the gods. All of the gods refuse because they are still angry at Anansi for tricking them. Tiger and Bird are especially angry. Anansi had tricked Tiger into killing his grandmother. Also, Anansi owned all of the stories instead of Tiger, and Tiger wanted them back because whoever owned all of the stories determined the nature of the world. Bird was angry because Anansi had tricked her into a boiling pot of water, cooked her, and ate her.
Charlie meets Bird and she makes him a deal. Bird will get rid of Spider if Charlie gives her Anansi's bloodline. Charlie agrees and Bird gives him a feather to seal the deal. Back in England. Spider is going to meet Rosie. He takes her to a restaurant. Rosie opens her mouth and birds fly out and start attacking Spider. Spider then realizes that the women was not Rosie, but Bird Woman. The owner of the restaurant shoos all of the birds out of the reaturant and Bird Woman is gone. The owner confesses that he doesn't remember Spider being with anyone, but he wouldn't have sat him at a table for two if he wasn't.
Rosie gets in contact with Spider and asks where they are going out to eat. Spider explains that he just wants to go home. Back at Charlie's house, he explains to Rosie that he really isn't Charlie, but Spider. Rosie is able to see who he truly is and wonders how she could ever think that he was Charlie. She asks if Charlie knew and Spider says yes. Rosie is so upset, disgusted, and confused that she calls off the wedding with Charlie and breaks up with Spider. She then goes home and tells her mother what happened. Mrs. Noah. suggests that they go on a cruise to get away from the whole situation.
Charlie returns from England and again demands that Spider leave. Spider refuses once again and an argument begins. The argument ends when the police show up and arrest Charlie for embezzlement. Spider ges back to his room, but is attacked by flamingos. Spider then realizes that something is wrong and it has to do with Charlie.
Daisy is the police officer who interrogates Charlie. She realizes that he is innocent and wants to prove it. Charlie realizes that birds are taking a special interest in him when hundreds if them settle on the fence surrounding the outdoor area of the prison. They just sit there an stare at Charlie.
While this all happens. Graham Coats is visited by a client, Maeve Livingstone, who has figures out his embezzlement scam. Coats then kills her and stashes her body in the hidden room behind the bookcase in his office. Coats then assumes an alternate identity and fleas to the island of St. Andrews in the Carribean. The ghost of Maeve does not move on to the after life even when her husband begs he to through the phone and the television. She is determined to get revenge on Graham Coats.
Spider teleports into the jail and breaks Charlie out. They teleport to many places, getting attakced by birds every place they go. Spider explains that the birds are after him and Charlie and Charlie confesses to the deal that he made with Bird. Charlie decides to call off the deal with Bird and asks spider to teleport them to Mrs. Higgler's house so that he can get the feather from Mrs. Higgler. Spider explains that he can't teleport to Mrs. Higgler, but doesn't explain why very well. Spider returns Charlie to jail because that is the only place where the birds cannot get Charlie. Spider remains on his own to fend off the birds.
Charlie informs Daisy of the hidden room in Coats's office. Once the police find the hidden room and the body of Maeve, Daisy is taken off the case since it is now considered a homicide case. The police believe that they can never convict Coats since he has gone to St. Andrews. Daisy believes that everyone deserves justice and travels to St. Andrews to find Coats even though she is no longer on the case. Charlie is free to go.
Charlie reunites with Spider and Spider realizes that they can't both get away from the birds. Spider sacrifices himself to the birds so that Charlie can hopefully call off the deal with Bird. The birds decend and carry Spider off to the Beginning of the World were Bird rips out his tongue and delivers him to Tiger. Spider uses the blood from his mouth and the dust of the ground to form a spider and sends that spider for help.
Charlie travels back to Florida to Find Mrs. Higgler. He goes to Mrs. Dunwiddy who is dying. Mrs. Dunwiddy explains that Charlie used to be one boy, but the day that he broke her mirror ball, she split him into two boys, Charlie and Spider. Spider is the boy with all of the bad qualities and she banished him. That is why Spider couldn't teleport to to Florida because Mrs. Dunwiddy had banished him from there. Mrs. Dunwiddy also explains that Mrs. Higgler moved back to her original home, St. Andrews. Charlie then travels to St. Andrews.
Charlie rides a bike throughout the island, lookign for Mrs. Higgler. He gets to the door of Coats, but Coats doesn't answer. Rosie and her mother's cruise stops on St. Andrew's for a day. They see Graham Coats there and he invites them back to his house. He believes that they are spies sent by Charlie and locks them in his meat locker, planning to kill them.
Charlie runs into Daisy and they decide to have dinner together. Graham Coats shows up and threatens Daisy with a gun underneath the table. To get out of the situation, Charlie gets up and sings and then proposes marriage to Daisy. The staff overwhelms her and brings her up to the stage. Coats hurries out. Charlie sees Mrs. Higgler at the back of the room and retrieves the feather from her. Daisy goes to the police station to get reinforcements to go to Coat's house.
Mrs. Higgler helps Charlies back to the Beginning of the World. There Charlie uses trickery and wit to get past the gods. He gives the feather back to Bird and Bird gives Spider's tongue to Charlie. Meanwhile, Spider is fighting against Tiger. The spider that Spider constructed returns with an army of spiders and helps to defeat Tiger. Charlie then shows up and gives Spider his tongue back.
Tiger is defeated but decides not to give up. If he can't hurt the bloodline of Anansi directly, he will hurt them indirectly. This is how he decides to go after Rosie and her mother. Tiger enters into the body of Graham Coats and begins to attack Mrs. Noah. Just then, the ghost of Maeve Livingstone shows up to get her revenge on Coats for murdering her. She begins to attack Coats. Daisy shows up with the police.
Mrs. Noah and Rosie are sent to the hospital. It doesn't seem like Mrs. Noah is going to make it and Rosie is very upset. Charlie and Spider decide to do something about this. They go back to the Beginnign of the World and Charlie sings, recreating reality into one where Mrs. Noah makes it. Spider also traps Tiger and Coats in a cave together.
Charlie and Spider return and are pleased to find that Mrs. Noah is completely healthy. Rosie ends up marrying Spider and they live on St. Andrews. Charlie marries Daisy and they have one son, Marcus. Maeve Livingstone can move on to the after life and reunite with her husband now that she has gotten her renvenge.
The book ends with Charlie and his son on the beach speaking with a mermaid, dancing, and singing.