Saturday, February 02, 2008

Have a Zombie, Jolly Christmas

Title: The Stupidest Angel
Author: Christopher Moore
Bookmark: a two-year old thank-you card advising that I sleep with chicken guts under my pillow

If you're buying this book as a gift for your grandma or a kid, you should be aware that it contains cusswords as well as tasteful depictions of cannibalism and people in their forties having sex. Don't blame me. I told you.

Like that? It's not even really a part of the book. That's the "Author's Warning." The real story starts on the next page:

Christmas crept into Pine Cove like a creeping Christmas thing: dragging garland, ribbon, and sleigh bells, oozing eggnog, reeking of pine, and threatening festive doom like a cold sore under the mistletoe.

...and it just keeps getting better from there. I first learned of the book at a library-related comic strip, spent several minutes at the library looking at Moore's other titles, and finally settled back on this one because it was the smallest, and I didn't have much free time in the following weeks. Now, dammit all, I have to go back and read the rest.

It's hysterically funny, both in one-liners and broader humor-of-the-situation jokes. There's so much going on I had a lot of trouble deciding what to write about here.

I could mention the spectrum of characters, which include 1) the town constable and dope fiend Theophilus Crowe, 2) his wife, off her meds and having trouble deciding whether she is Molly Michon or Kendra, Warrior Babe of the Outlands (as it turns out, both are handy to have around), 3) a biologist who, distraught over his recent dumping by an unattainable and highly fashionable psychiatrist, glues electrodes to his scrotum, 4) Raziel, an angel who is deemed by various townspeople at various points in the book to be a pedophile, retarded, and/or a Terminator, and 5) Tucker Case, a helicopter pilot working with the DEA who blackmails our pot-growing lawman and responds to the discovery that a local beauty has accidentally killed her ex with a shovel by falling immediately in love, burying the guy, and diving directly into her pants.

There's the Gift of the Magi subplot, which taken with the rest of the book, creates a story that would make O. Henry, Dave Barry, and George Romero proud. There's an angel so stupid that he showed up over thirty years late to the first Christmas, and delivers the message of the coming of babe to the (adult) savior himself. Embarassing to say the least, but this year his job is the Christmas miracle, to be distilled from a child's wish. Unfortunately, the kid he picks is the one who just saw that pretty lady kill her ex-husband, who was still dressed as Santa for a holiday party. Raziel, misunderstanding the kid, and without a clear idea of where the Pseudo-St. Nick is buried, raises the entire graveyard to new-found zombie life. They are as intelligent as they ever were, though in gravely (ha!) decayed states, and they've been listening to the secrets of the living ("Gabe Fenton watches squirrel porn!" "Ignacio Nunez voted for Carter!").

I laughed through the entire book, determined to read any other Moore books I could find. The only disappointment was the last chapter, which wrapped things up a little too tidily and seems to imply a sudden 300 point jump in Raziel's IQ. Still highly recommended. Oh, and did I mention the swordfight between the warrior babe and the angel?

Labels: , ,

posted by reyn at 12:23 PM


Blogger Megan said...

I can't believe this is your first foray into Moore! He's just so you I would've pegged you to already own the whole collection. That not being the case, I recommend Lamb next. And seeing him in person - he's somehow even funnier and nicer and awesomer in person than on the page.

2/02/2008 6:49 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

There's a Christopher Moore book sitting on my shelf in the "Too Read" stack. It's called You Suck: A Love Story and it's about vampires. Feel free to borrow!

2/02/2008 7:23 PM  

Post a Comment