The Satanic Diaries by Krister Jones
|The Satanic Diaries by Krister Jones|
|Reviewer: Gina Garnett|
|Summary: Completely daft but funny as…well, funny as hell, you’ll attract odd looks as you openly snigger for your whole commute and even odder looks when you try to explain what the book’s about. Not for those who are of a delicate disposition or who will be offended by total irreverence and blasphemy.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 188||Date: March 2013|
|Publisher: Belvedere Publishing|
|External links: Author's website|
You know what? I straight up loved this book. My sense of humour is charitably called dark (and sometimes called outright grim) by those dear to me and the Satanic Diaries gets me. There are also any number of utterly stupid hell-based puns (my favourite being a wig shop named Hell Toupee) and the narration drops names like they’re hotter than brimstone.
We travel with Satan through a morose time in his lengthy existence. His wife has divorced him and his Chief of Security (Himmler) seems to be going even madder. To top it off, his therapist is insisting that his anger issues need to be dealt with and is forcing him to keep a diary. Following a disastrous holiday and an even worse attempt to get back into dating, he takes the diary with him as he goes on the lam in disguise and lives for a while paycheck to paycheck as a security guard for a cash and carry.
The biggest charm of this book lies in the fact that the worst things in Hell are not torture or eternal pain but the administration, the commuting and the putting up with people you’d rather not. There’s an Ikea in hell, a place called New Milton Keynes and Satan manages things from an office (although he spends a fair amount of time knocking off to play golf with Hitler).
It’s as clever as it is silly and the only thing that really let it down was the ending. I was hoping that Satan would go back to his roots, as it were, knock most of the admin on the head and restore by force the days of sulphur and fire. What happened made sense, but didn’t quite satisfy as much as it could have.
I’m willing to forgive the ending, however, for three reasons. The first being that the overall themes – what Jones has to say on day to day life – are certainly there and are noticeable but do not beat you around the head. They remain in the subtext where they belong, which is a rare treat these days.
The second reason is the throwaway jokes and set pieces which are arguably by far the best parts of the book. An offhand sentence in, say, Monday’s entry will setup for part of Wednesday’s to be devoted to a situation that will never rise again but will almost certainly be the examples you reach for when telling your friends why they should read it.
This brings me to reason number three – the personality of Satan. Krister Jones has made the Dark Overlord likable. This is an achievement in itself, but he’s done it without making him nice, reasonable or in any way good. He’s relatable because while he cheerfully indulges in all seven of the deadly sins in ways we would if we could get away with (he buys thirty shirts so he can throw them away at the end of the day and thus avoid doing any washing), he’s still useless, frustrated and often utterly bewildered by the life he’s woken up and found himself leading.
Absolutely lay your hands on this and pray (or make the relevant sacrifices) for there to be a volume two.
I had the devil of a time (pardon the pun) searching for something that would be comparable to this book and honestly came up with one thing. While being wildly different in character and setting, Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries are the only other diaries with the same sharp, witty cleverness masquerading as silliness.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Satanic Diaries by Krister Jones at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Satanic Diaries by Krister Jones at Amazon.com.
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