Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore: Take 2

Seeing how Leah has already written a review for this great, great book, I thought that it might be nice to take a trip through some of Christopher Moore's many fine books, of which there are many. But first, an Ode to Christopher Moore:

Mr. Moore, you are so very funny. Your grasp of the absurd has brought us everything from squirrels in Elizabethan garb to the 30 lost years of Jesus's life. You have a way with words that makes me blush, knowing that I could never turn a phrase with such ease and, best of all, your books don't take very long to read and so I feel like a smart little reader-bee. I bow to you, C. Moore, and request that you kindly write another book. And, um, hurry up already. Make with the funny.

Now that I've revealed my non-sexual man-crush, how about them books? Personally, I've read a half dozen of his books. They are, in chronological order (of my reading, not his publishing):

Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
Fluke: Or, I know why the Winged Whale Sings
Practical Demonkeeping
The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror
Island of the sequined Love Nun
A Dirty Job: A Novel

It all started with Lamb. This is the story of those thirty odd years that are not included in the Bible, the years between swaddling clothes and the sermon on the mount. And they are told by Jesus's childhood pal, Biff, who stood by Jesus during those times while the Son of God was finding himself. Of course, it's never easy being the best friend of Christ. While this sounds all blasphemous and stuff, it really isn't. So if you are a diehard Christian and all that, you shouldn't worry about reading this book and feeling all unclean. Jesus comes off in a good light throughout.

A confession: Much to the consternation of my wife, I don't LOL all that often. I'm just not much of an LOLer, especially while reading books. But let me tell you, my friends, this book caused much LOLing and a bit of ROTFLMAO.

Fluke is a great book which, as an added bonus, involves whales (who, incidentally, as smarter than all of us, even dolphins. You just wait, the next democratic president's going to be a humpback whale). The basic story is that Nathan Quinn, a whale biologist, is doing his usual biology things when he notices the words "Bite Me" on the fluke of a whale. After that, things get weird. Granted, I positively ooze liberal guilt, so I'm all over the decline of the whale population (which is sort of the point of this book), but the real point of this book is the funny. Which this is. Funny.

While Fluke may have been about an important topic, whales, it pales in comparison to the message you will find in Practical Demonkeeping. The message being: never have a demon as a traveling companion; it just makes for bad times. How that never make an NBC The More you Know is beyond me. I've always said that they should have nipped that traveling demon problem in the bud back in the 80's, but nobody listens to me. You can tell that this book is his first as there are some subtle differences in writing style between this book and his more recent books, but it is still very excellent. And people get eaten, which always makes me smile.

Which is why I loved loved loved The Stupidest Angel. As much as I loved Lamb, this is probably my favorite novel. I would go into details, but I'd hate to give away the punchline of this novel. Suffice to say, Raziel, the stupidest angel, unwittingly causes a ruckus that results in much trouble in the little hamlet of Pine Cove. Hilarity ensues.

The Stupidest Angel features Tucker Case and his sunglass-wearing fruitbat, but this was really just a reprisal from Island of the Sequined Love Nun where Tucker Case has a staring role. Rather down on his luck Tucker Case, a pilot, takes a job with a doctor and wife team flying mysterious packages to and from a remote island. He is instructed to never leave the doctor's compound on the island but, of course, he does and there is much craziness as he meets the islanders. And, as you might have guessed, much hilarity.

It is incredibly hard to do any kind of justice to these books in just a paragraph, especially since I'm trying really hard not to give anything away. The important thing to know is that he writes truly excellent characters who end up in remarkably absurd situations, all written superbly. He often has recurring characters and many of his stories involve Pine Cove, so one is able to get to know places and people (and, occasionally, things just to round out the different categories of noun) and then root for those people right up until the time something bad happens to them and you have to find a new character to root for.

Seriously, grab one of his books, you'll be happy you did.

Alright, kids, that's all from me on the book front. I'm heading out for a 6 mile run around Fermilab in about 10 minutes. After that, Leah and I head home for some sleep.


Anonymous said...

I think it is time I pick up another Moore book...I'm due for a little hilarity. Thanks for the brief run down of the titles.

Scott said...

I just finished 'Bloodsucking Fiends' and , yes, I LOLed too. Must be inherited!


Full Metal Lunchbox said...

Good book review.  I'll give Moore a try.  I could use something new to read since I cancelled all my magazine subscriptions.