#2 – You Suck

May 4, 2007

this skein of skin is all too few to keep me from youAfter hearing good things about Christopher Moore for a long time, I finally checked out two of his books last summer: The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror, and Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. (The man knows how to title books, I’ll give him that.) I found The Stupidest Angel to be kind of goofily funny, if a bit stupid, and Lamb to be witty, insightful and hilarious, if a bit stupid. So I’m really not sure what to make of Christopher Moore, as a whole. After reading his most recent novel, I’m still not entirely sure.

You Suck: A Love Story is a sequel to Moore’s 1995 vampire story Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story, apparently picking up the action right where that one left off. I did not read that one, and I’m kind of glad I didn’t, because the way the events from it are casually recounted here by characters reminiscing is completely hilarious. Bloodsucking Fiends must be incredibly epic, from the quick glimpses of the story you get here. It makes for an interesting narrative technique, starting the book right after the story ends. It would be cool to see it in a book that doesn’t actually have a prequel.

I’ve never read any Anne Rice books, and God willing I never will, so I have no authority for this, but You Suck seems to be an Anne Rice book taken down thirty pegs or so. It’s about vampires and relationships, true, but they’re rookie, untrained vampires, who don’t have any idea what they’re doing. This makes for some hilarious sequences, like the heroes trying to drink blood from a huge cat they rented from a hobo. The main character, Tommy Flood, is a nineteen-year-old from the Midwest, who got bitten by his girlfriend shortly after moving to San Fransisco – he barely knows how to survive in the city as a human before learning he’s undead.

The dramatic “vampyre” culture is completely inverted here, when it’s not being openly mocked, with great skill. The ancient villain from the first book cuts a much less imposing figure than Dracula or Lestat, he spends much of his time mourning a yellow tracksuit he stole that one of his victims inadvertently pissed on. As well, the main characters’ “minions”, two Goth teens, hilariously romanticize every mundane act of their masters in their LiveJournals. Tommy’s increasingly ridiculous lies about his five hundred year old legacy are some of the highlights here.

Moore writes all of these characters very well. Like his other books which I’ve read, there is a constant stream of dry, somewhat absurdist humour, with the occasional hugely stupid joke: I’ll never have the opportunity to use it, but I’m storing “Not unlike the toaster, I control the darkness” away as something I’ve got to work into a conversation at some point. His work is interesting enough that I want to keep reading more; I’ve still got A Dirty Job and Practical Demonkeeping to get through later on my list, after all.


One comment

  1. I just finished reading A Dirty Job and I don’t know how I feel about it. It was funny in some parts, exciting once or twice but…weird in a lot of places. Now, this is not the kind of cool-weird like “Hey! That dude can twist his arms all around his body! Weird!” But more in the range of “Stop doing that to the dog. That’s weird.” There were some things that I thought were really uncharacteristic but I’m not a very good judge of people, I thought a show based only on Joey Tribbiani would have been able to entertain the world for decades.

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