When I was twelve years old I attended my very first “Word on the Street” literary festival in Toronto. I was thrilled to be there, but the volume of books was overwhelming. I asked a booth seller for a recommendation and he handed me Coyote Blue. Anyone who has read Mr. Moore’s novels knows that twelve is a little young, but I read it anyway. Though I didn’t get all the jokes (I was a very sheltered twelve year old) I did recognize that it was original. And that’s the thing about his books – they’re all really funny and really original.
Which is why I was a little surprised to read his latest book about vampires. It seems a little too pop culture for Christopher Moore. To spice things up a bit, this book is told from the perspective of an Emo-Goth character named Abby Normal (not her day-slave name) who narrates the entire novel with a valley-girl accent. Kayso, like, WTF?
Aside from Coyote Blue, I’ve read Practical Demonkeeping andFool. All were entertaining, but my favourite by far was Fool. I listened to the excellent audio book version of this book on my interminable drive to work. I forget who did the voices, but the man should get an Oscar. Fool is a comic retelling of King Learfrom the perspective of the court jester. Comedy being the twin of tragedy, it works really well. So well in fact that I was heartbroken when it ended and promptly borrowed another Christopher Moore book from the library. Twenty minutes into that I realized something – I can only take so much of Moore-ish prose. He is fantastic at satire, great at ribald jokes and at constructing memorable characters. The problem is that too much Moore gets boring. The characters start to annoy and the jokes seem too forced. Like many authors, Moore’s books are good in small doses.
Bite me is no different. It was very amusing for the first one hundred pages but afterwards my interest fizzled. I have a suspicion he wrote this to make fun of all the vampire-crazed teens and tweens currently influencing fiction. At first the book was hilarious – it was a bang-on adult take on annoying teenage behaviour (the eye rolling, the forced rebellion, the stupid mistakes) and that’s where it misses the mark – the reading audience of his books (parents of teenagers) wouldn’t read this book. They have to live with the real thing, why spend their off hours in the company of another irritating teenager? I don’t live with teens, but I do spend my working hours with them; maybe that’s why this book didn’t appeal for long.
A confession – I didn’t finish it. Maybe I’ll go back to it later, when I need a touch of Christopher Moore’s particular seasoning – bitter juvenalian satire with a heavy dollop of cynicism. Until then, back to the library it goes.