Saturday, December 20, 2008

Review: You Suck: A Love Story by Christopher Moore (Audio book)

Christopher Moore writes a unique style of SFF – part satire and all comedy. It isn’t for everyone, but it’s definitely for a guy like me. The primary reason it’s not for everyone is that it’s just not serious enough on the surficial level for a lot of people – that and the large amount of what could be considered juvenile humor. Now, this doesn’t bother me, and if you look past the surface, Moore does offer at least a few serious insights into the world around us.

You Suck: A Love Story (US, UK, Canada)is the sequel to an earlier novel, Blood Sucking Fiends (US, UK, Canada) – a novel that I actually haven’t read. It follows a young couple, Tommy and Jody, who have both recently become vampires in San Francisco. As they sort out their feelings for each other they must learn how to survive as creatures of the night – they must have a minion. Tommy, the just-off-the-farm 19 year old now vampire, comes through with a 16 year old goth chick and wannabe vampire. Complicating their effort to live in peace are an old vampire who is very angry with Tommy and Jody and Tommy’s old night crew (and sometimes vampire hunters) from the local Safeway, colloquially known as the Animals.

As I mentioned above, I haven’t read Blood Sucking Fiends, but I didn’t find that a problem. Yes, it’s clear that I was missing out on a bit of history, but it wasn’t hard to piece together what happened in the that book and I didn’t feel that I couldn’t fully appreciate You Suck. The focus really is on the relationship of Tommy and Jody, but it’s the various subplots that steal the show. Abby, the 16 year old goth minion, slowly becomes a dominate force in the book. Her attitude seeks so much to be so very mature while reminding us on occasion that she really is little more than a child. Another subplot that really works for me is that of the Animals. These are a fun mix of complete slackers – we see first meet them after they’ve blown about $500,000 on a blue-skinned hooker from Vegas and from there we get see them drinking and smoking there way through quite an adventure (and there’s turkey bowling too).

Susan Bennett’s reading of this audiobook brings the story to life in ways that few audiobook readers that I’ve listened to have. She very neatly walks the line of creating unique voices for each character without becoming overly derivative and stereotypical. Her portrayal of Abby the minion is particularly well done.

Christopher Moore’s fiction is best known for its irreverent humor – as it should be – but under the surface it becomes clear that he is also a keen observer of humanity. And what better way to show humanity than through humor? Included in You Suck is a touching love story, a unique view into the adolescent goth world, and a unique view of the homeless in San Francisco. Of course there’s also vampires, a blue-skinned hooker, drunken night-shift stoners, a cornball kid from Indiana, the Emperor of San Francisco, and a giant shaved cat named Chet.

My wife can attest to just how strange my sense of humor can be, so it’s no surprise that I find books of Christopher Moore appealing. They are fun and fast and can make you laugh out loud. Moore’s writing easily translates to the audio form and Susan Bennett’s reading further brings the story to life. You Suck: A Love Story makes a great audiobook and I certainly recommend it for those who enjoy humorous books. I’ll now be on the look-out for more audiobooks by Moore. 7.5/10


SQT said...

I like Christopher Moore. I've read "Bloodsucking Fiends" but not this one. I have Biff too, but haven't read it yet. But I think you're right, you have to like his style. A lot of writers are like that though.

Neth said...

true enough - a lot of writers are like that, but I get the feeling that 'funny' writers are moreso.

I need to find time to read more of his books.

Hagelrat said...

I love Christopher Moore and you've done a brilliant job explaining him, I struggled.

SciFiGuy said...

You captured the essence of Moore very well. Both books are total originals and I think would make for a great movie too.


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