Thursday, January 5, 2012

Blessed are the minimarshmallows

I'm getting into the spirit* for this post about Christopher Moore's Christmas tale The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror. I'm watching my new DVD copy of A Muppet Christmas Carol** which just came in the mail. I used to watch this movie every holiday but I only owned a VHS copy and while I do still own a VCR, it's currently being used as a mirror stand. So I know the holidays are done and whatnot but here's one more for you.

I wasn't going to read any more Moore in 2011. I had already read 5 of his books this past year alone. But then HarperCollins put this ebook on sale along with a preview of his upcoming book Sacre Bleu and how could I turn that down?

The Stupidest Angel takes place back in Pine Cove, the same location for Practical Demonkeeping and The Lust-Lizard of Melancholy Cove. There are a lot of characters from these two works, as well as Tucker Case and his fruit bat Roberto from The Island of the Sequined Love Nun and the titular stupidest angel Raziel from my favoritest Moore book Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. Seeing familiar faces was probably my favorite part of the book. Which is too bad because I wish it had been the story.

It's a typical Moore story with typical Moore humor: irreverent, dark(ish) and absurd. I mean, zombies make an appearance so I think that pretty much covers all of those adjectives. It's funny and I found myself chuckling a number of times. But ultimately, the story didn't have the same heart as some of Moore's better books (Lamb, Fool, A Dirty Job). There's a lot going on, and you never feel like you get into the meat of any of the story lines. Plus Raziel has a much smaller part than I assumed, although in his short time he manages to cause a lot of chaos. I had more fun watching him in Lamb where he spent most of the story sitting in a hotel room watching WWE.

A lot of my complaints with the novel are that I know Moore can do better. Hell, I see him do better here, in the bonus chapters from Sacre Bleu. They are excellent. The Stupidest Angel is still funny, still Moore, and I'm still glad I read it, but this won't be one I regularly re-read. I do want to share one quote, too long for the title, that I enjoyed, to end this on a happier note
"Christmas Amnesty. You can fall out of contact with a friend, fail to return calls, ignore e-mails, avoid eye contact at the Thrifty-Mart, forget birthdays, anniversaries, and reunions, and if you show up at their house during the holidays (with a gift) they are socially bound to forgive you - act like nothing happened. Decorum dictates that the friendship move forward from that point, without guilt or recrimination."
*This is actually just the excuse I'm using. I got super excited when the Muppet movie came and wanted to watch it right away. Then I realized I should probably write a review instead of continuing to let them back up. And when I checked which one is next I saw it was this Christmas one. So everything is coming up Milhouse.

**The best version of A Christmas Carol. Don't bother trying to convince me otherwise. And it's surprisingly faithful to the Dickens original. You know, when you look past the frogs and pigs and whatnot.

Title quote from location 2802

Moore, Christopher. The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror. HarperCollins, 2004. Kindle copy.