Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Review: The Stupidest Angel by Christoper Moore

A Heartwarning Tale of Christmas Terror

The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas TerrorThe Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror by Christopher Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the third time I've read this book. It's becoming something of a Christmas tradition. I'm not the sort to get a lot of saccharine stories about the true meaning of Christmas, though; give me a tale of a jerk real estate developer dispatched with a shovel, only to be resurrected as a zombie on Christmas Eve, and I'm good.

The real estate developer in question is Dale Pearson, and he's dressed as Santa. The seven-year-old boy who witnesses this thinks this means no presents, so he wishes Santa back to life. Unfortunately for Pine Cove, the setting of our tale, Raziel, the title angel, is in town. (Readers of Christopher Moore will recognize Raziel as the angel who missed Christ's birth in Lamb and showed up a decade later.) Raziel is there to perform a Christmas miracle, and so he resurrects Santa and everyone else in the graveyard on Christmas Eve, just in time for the Christmas Eve party.

Pine Cove is the setting of Practical Demonkeeping and Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, so the residents know a thing or two about dealing with weirdness. We get reappearances by Molly Michon, the B-movie actress with a tenuous hold on reality, Theo Crowe, the pothead constable, and Mavis Sand, the old-as-dirt owner of Head of the Slug, the town's bar. Tucker Case, who starred in Island of the Sequined Love Nun, is there flying a helicopter for the DEA.

This is a really short book, so you'd think there wouldn't be a lot I could miss in earlier readings. And yet, I only now noticed that Tuck and his island love are divorced, while Molly and Theo are still going strong. Apparently, if you find yourself in a Christopher Moore novel, you're going to wind up happiest if you can keep things interesting.

There are references to many Christmas stories throughout The Stupidest Angel. "The Gift of the Magi" forms a subplot around Molly and Theo, and a paragraph on Dale Pearson's fate references A Christmas Carol. There's a lot of satire around Christmas themes, and some cynicism about the commercialization, as one might expect. Mostly, though, this is what you might expect from Christopher Moore.

Though this was the third time I'm reading this book, I still laughed out loud at some of the lines, though probably not the same lines I did the other two times I read it. I don't know if I'll read it again next year, but another reread is in my future. Until then, I have a movie to look forward to next November. I hope it's good.

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