Books — The Stupidest Angel


The Stupidest Angel

By Will Stewart

A weak x-mas outing 

The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror, by Christopher Moore, William Morrow, 2004, 288 pages

“No one knows why, but second only to eating the brains of the living, the dead love affordable prefab furniture.”

Whenever I read, I like to learn something. Usually I prefer that knowledge gained through reading benefit my life in some regard. But with Christopher Moore, I’ll settle for useless knowledge, such as the loves of the undead.

Moore’s above-mentioned nugget of wisdom was gleaned from his latest tome, The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror. Having only read two of his previous books, I picked up his latest offering on the strength of his last book, Lamb:The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. That semi-sacrilegious gem was probably the funniest and best book I read all summer. In comparison, The Stupidest Angel was, to say the least, disappointing.

Perhaps I set myself up for disappointment before I even read the book. To be fair I should mention my prejudice against all things commercially related to Christmas. My initial reaction upon seeing the book and its holiday theme was disgust.

“Another holiday sell-out capitalizing on the holiday spending frenzy,” I thought.

Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try. Like a junkie needing a fix, I am desperate for good books, which seem to be in short supply these days.

The Stupidest Angel is set in the small coastal village of Pine Cove, Calif., the setting of Moore’s book The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove. Making return appearances this time around are the pot-smoking sheriff Theophilus Crowe and former B-movie actress Molly Michon who, when not on her meds, thinks she is Warrior Babe of the Outland, a former character she played.

New to readers, besides Roberto, a talking fruit bat, is little Joshua Barker, a 7-year-old who sees Santa take a shovel to the noggin. As he was a moderately good boy for the whole year and wants his share of the loot come Christmas day, Josh wishes for a Christmas miracle to bring Santa back to life.

But, as we learn, you must be careful what you wish for, especially when archangel Raziel is on Christmas wish-granting duty. The book’s namesake, Raziel does not sport the brightest halo in the choir. So instead of just raising Santa from the dead, he also manages to bring a whole cemetery out of the ground. And as one might surmise, this is does not bode well.

As is Moore’s style,  The Stupidest Angel does not center on the plot, however. It’s there, of course, and it plays out in the weirdest Christmas party ever, but the real story is that of all the characters and their assorted neuroses and proclivities, which Moore can spin in a very funny and entertaining way. Perhaps the most interesting of the character’s proclivities is biologist Gabe Fenton’s penchant for rat porn.

That Moore allows his characters to like watching rats get it on is one the reasons I’ve become a fan. But, as noted above, The Stupidest Angel, rat porn notwithstanding, was a letdown. Like so many holiday albums put out by performing artists who simply slap together their own crappy versions of Christmas classics, The Stupidest Angel has the feel of a ploy of a talented writer out to make a few extra bucks from fans during the holiday season.

If you’re a Moore fan already, go ahead and read it; you will be moderately entertained. For the uninitiated, check out Lamb or any other of Moore’s works instead.

- Will Stewart

2004 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH