The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore
|The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore|
|Reviewer: Lesley Mason|
|Summary: Archangel Raziel is back dirtside with a mission to perform a Christmas miracle...combine the stupidest Angel with the none-too-bright residents of Pine Cove and chaos and terror await. Moore at his silliest - a sheer joy to read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: December 2008|
I'm not sure I recall anywhere in Lamb, the Gospel According to Biff, a certain Angel doing his best Arnie impression and saying I'll be back!
But I might have just missed it.
So yes... at the risk of just one spoiler I'm afraid I have to give away no more than the book cover does and identify the eponymous 'stupidest'...
The Stupidest Angel is subtitled 'a heart-warming tale of Christmas terror', but it could equally have been "The Return of Raziel", which amounts to the same thing.
The Archangel who missed the birth of Christ is back dirtside on yet another mission, to bring yet another miracle for the nativity. At least this time he doesn't have to frighten any shepherds... he'd always felt a bit bad about that.
One simple miracle. How difficult can it be?
Well, for a start, he clearly wasn't reckoning with the residents of Pine Cove.
Pine Cove is coastal California... where the weather at midwinter is not actually that pleasant: cold, damp, fog rolling in of the waters... but not bad enough to be real Christmassy. None of the sparkling white stuff. Pine Cove is where sad people go for Christmas... those who don't want to be at home, and don't really have anywhere else to be. The kind of place where they can actually get away with calling the party for those kinds of people "Lonesome Christmas". I don't mean sad in the true sense of the word, obviously... not the really desperately unhappy poor and afflicted. You need to be wealthy to get to Pine Cove for Christmas. I mean, like, you know "sad"... complete with ironic inverted commas and SUVs.
It is the joyful kind of a place that Christmas creeps into dragging garland, ribbon and sleigh bells, oozing eggnog, reeking of pine, and threatening festive doom like a coldsore under the mistletoe.
And that's our welcome... the opening sentence of the book, so you do have to have a little sympathy for Raziel. Poor chap had no idea. (Admittedly, he never does, but on this occasion... )
Without giving too much away, since many of these characters have had prior outings under Moore's expert guidance, we find within Pine Cove the wonderful combination of:
lawman Theophilus Crowe - one-time dope head, but now sworn off the meds
the Warrior Babe of the Outland - known as Molly Michon when she remembers to take hers
biologist Gabe Fenton... who is taking his squirrel research to extreme and personal lengths
Mavis and her amazing fruit cake
Evil property developer Dale Pearson and his delightful ex-wife who takes a very direct approach to charitable works
together with the kind of villagers often seen waving pitchforks at flaming windmills in B-movies. Good decent people... but easily led.
It is in this delightful setting that seven year old Joshua Barker witnesses the brutal shovel-murder of Santa Claus.
He was already convinced he'd been listed for a few bad words, and being late home... but if Santa was actually dead... Christmas really was gonna be hosed. (As if that isn't bad enough for any kid, he best friend is Jewish and there's the innate one-upmanship going on that's cute in kids, and leads to world wars in adults.) He can't let Christmas not be. So he does what any child would do. He prays.
Meanwhile, helicopter pilot Tucker Case and his Philipino fruit bat Roberto ride to the rescue of a damsel in distress.
And there's an El Niño storm threatened.
Into this ticking chaos-bomb wanders the wonderfully naïve Angel of the Lord - which you just KNOW ain't gonna help the situation one little bit.
What follows is exactly what you might imagine might... and a few surprises. It happens in Moore's usually wickedly, irreverently, silly fashion.
It does carry an Author's warning. Should you be thinking of buying this for your grandma or your kids... read and take note.
This is a Christmas book in every sense. It is about Christmas. It has been released in time for Christmas. It is a silly easy read, and is only 250 pages long, which means that you can sit down in a nicely lit corner after the Queen's speech and have enjoyed the whole frolic before the turkey sandwiches appear. The fact that you'll be giggling and laughing to yourself will be allowed, because it's Christmas.
I'm sure the cynics will talk about 'exploiting the market', so I need to find something to criticise... I thought I had it towards the end as we head into Schmaltz Territory... but...(sorry you'll have to be ready to make sense of the 'but')
No... my only problem with the entire book is that the many talents of Roberto were underplayed, he barely got a fly-on part, and I expect to see this rectified if our paths cross again.
Everyone's Christmas stocking should have something utterly pointless in it. If I hadn't read it already, I'd be delighted to find this in mine.
If you haven't discovered Christopher Moore yet...check out Raziel's previous escapade in Lamb, which will get my vote for the funniest book of the year.
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