Monday, December 5, 2011

The Stupidest Angel (A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror) by Christopher Moore

Back of the Book Blurb:  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.
'Twas the night (okay, more like the week) before Christmas, and all through the tiny community of Pine Cove, California, people are busy buying, wrapping, packing, and generally getting into the holiday spirit. It is the hap-hap-happiest time of the year, after all.
But not everybody is feeling the joy. Little Joshua Barker is in desperate need of a holiday miracle. No, he's not on his deathbed; no, his dog hasn't run away from home. But Josh is sure that he saw Santa take a shovel to the head, and now the seven-year-old has only one prayer: Please, Santa, come back from the dead.
But hold on! There's an angel waiting in the wings. (Wings, get it?) It's none other than the Archangel Raziel come to Earth seeking a small child with a wish that needs granting. Unfortunately, our angel's not sporting the brightest halo in the bunch, and before you can say "Kris Kringle," he's botched his sacred mission and sent the residents of Pine Cove headlong into Christmas chaos, culminating in the most hilarious and horrifying holiday party the town has ever seen.
Only Christopher Moore, the man who brought you the outrageous lost gospel Lamb and the hysterical fish tale Fluke could have devised a new holiday classic that tugs at the heartstrings and serves up a healthy slice of fruitcake to boot.
Move over, Charles Dickens—it's Christopher Moore time.

I discovered Christopher Moore some 15 (gasp!) years ago, when I picked up a copy of Practical Demonkeeping and fell in love.  Snarkiness, sarcasm, wit, a nutty story and great writing made a perfectly entertaining book.  Published in 2004, I somehow missed this little gem.  The Stupidest Angel is classic Moore - it's deliciously twisted satire blended with literary lushness.  I mean, who else writes about dumbass angels, redneck Santas, horny pilots, giant talking Micronesian fruit bats and zombies using the most descriptive combination of cusswords and multi-syllabic vocabulary words?  It warms my heart and tickles my funny bone.
The book begins with the following:
"Author's Warning - 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."
Ha!  And the fun begins.  The Stupidest Angel is a lovely little reunion for many of Moore's characters, but the two I love best are Molly Michon, the currently off-her-meds psychopath/warrior babe and her loving husband, Theophilus Crowe, town constable and recovering pothead supreme.  The nod to O. Henry's classic Gift of the Magi is evident in their storyline, and much appreciated.  The way Moore writes about these two characters is a perfect example of loving satire.  There's a lot of respect for Molly and Theo (and most of the others, with the exception of the occasional complete moron), so even as we're entertained by Molly going off her rocker, she is depicted with such a core of decency, bravery, and matter-of-fact love for her husband.  She is crazy with dignity.  And that respect is what keeps the book from being mean-spirited or bitchy.
Another great section is when Tucker Case, pilot and horndog extraordinaire, comes upon Lena right after she has accidentally killed her homicidal Santa-suited ex-husband.  In a haze of lust and loneliness, Tuck doggedly and with total focus talks Lena into going out with him after they bury the body, which he considers to be a necessary nuisance akin to, say, fixing a flat tire.
I realize this is not so much a review as a list of reasons why I love Christopher Moore's writing.  But if it convinces you to check out one of his books that's a good thing.  Because you will laugh.  Unless there's something wrong with you.

For more information visit the author's website at