“Life is messy. Would that every puzzle piece fell into place, every word was kind, every accident happy, but such is not the case. Life is messy. People, generally, suck.”
Although this is an oldie from 2004, recently resurrected by Amazon for promotion as a Kindle edition, it remains one of the wildest Christmas stories ever created, popular for its wacky humor, its crazy satire of Christmas excesses, and its never-ending ride through what feels like an alternative universe, all part of the style which author Christopher Moore has perfected over the years. In the case of The Stupidest Angel, the setting is familiar for those who have read Moore’s previous books, since Moore is reprising many of the most popular characters from the past in this Christmas-inspired caricature of life in Pine Cove, a California coastal community, filled with “holiday quaintage” and “festive doom.”
As the novel opens, Lena Marquez, divorced from the boorish Dale Pearson, who first appeared in The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, kills the Santa-clad Dale with a shovel during an argument. The local constable, Theophilus Crowe, must investigate the death of Santa. Theo, like Lena, also appeared in Lust Lizard…, and is now married to Molly Michon, formerly a porn star known as Kendra, Warrior Babe of the Outland. Tucker Case, who was the main character in Island of the Sequined Love Nun, also appears, along with his sunglass-clad fruit bat, Roberto. (Yes, the book is that crazy.) Tucker quickly falls in lust with Lena, the new widow.
Lena’s fight with Dale was. unfortunately, witnessed by young Josh Barker, age seven, who is now distraught at the thought that “someone killed Santa.” Soon little Josh is visited by the Archangel Raziel, who appeared in Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, a klutzy angel whose mission it is to “Go to Earth, find a child who has made a Christmas wish that can only be granted by divine intervention,” and do something for him. Josh wants Santa to come back to life.
As always, Moore’s off-the-wall imagination takes over, and the investigation of Dale Pearson’s fate becomes more complicated. Tucker Case, flying a DEA helicopter over the community, has seen a very large marijuana patch belonging to someone “important” who would find it a professional embarrassment if his agricultural pursuits were discovered. The “prints” of Roberto, Tucker Case’s fruit bat, have been found inside the truck of the missing Dale, and Molly, constable Theophilus Crowe’s wife, has gone off her meds for her psychotic problems. She is trying to save up for a hand-made bong for Theo for Christmas, and her conversations with “The Narrator,” show the level of her psychosis.
As the holiday comes closer, Raziel starts to work his bizarre magic to bring about his Christmas “miracle.” The world becomes crazier by the minute. As Moore declares, “If you think anyone is sane, you just don’t know enough about them.” As the reader becomes more and more involved in the zany happenings at Pine Cove, the ironies of the Christmas message and the violence in town are seen in sharp relief, and the questions of whether there are any heroes in this novel and whether Raziel is truly an archangel come to the fore.
A no-holds-barred, let-it-all-hang-out free-for-all which gives a whole new meaning to “the willing suspension of disbelief,” this novel may amuse the zanies on your Christmas list. Youngsters and youngsters-at-heart will not bat an eyelash at its profanity, its vulgar hilarity, and its unexpected satiric twists and turns, though older readers may find that this ten-year-old novel has not “worn” very well, its humor closer to silliness than to the kind of sharp satire so prevalent on late-night TV these days. Christopher Moore’s contribution to the Christmas genre remains unique, however; whether this novel will “sell” to a new Kindle generation remains to be seen.
Photos, in order: The Stupidest Angel was originally published in 2004.
The author’s photo appears on http://tvtropes.org/
The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, first appeared in 1999.
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, was released in 2002.