A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
There is one word that sums up Christopher Moore’s Dirty Job: HILARIOUS!
The book begins with the birth of Charlie’s daughter Sophie. Charlie is completely enamored with his wife and overly protective of his new baby girl. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes when Charlie sees a man wearing a mint green suit standing over his dead wife. The next thing Charlie knows is that he is Death.
Charlie has a difficult time with his new job due to the fact that his “Goth girl” employee, Lily, stole his instruction manual…The Great Big Book of Death. However, Charlie does meet up with other people with his same job (remember the man in the mint green suit?) and he learns what the job entails.
Now every story needs a villain right? Well this book has four of them. The villains live in the sewer system of San Francisco. These “sewer harpies” are ancient war creatures that steal human souls to gain strength. Their ultimate goal is to gain enough strength to allow them to rise Above and take over the world. Charlie and his co-workers are responsible for the downfall of the sewer harpies since the normal, every day citizens of San Francisco are oblivious to their existence. The only being that can truly destroy these villains, however, is the Luminatus, the big Death.
This book is filled with wacky and zany characters. For example: Charlie’s lesbian older sister with a weird affinity for men’s suits and 80’s hairstyles. His ex-cop employee, who cannot turn his head and has an obsession with Asian dating web sites like loveyoulongtime.com. The women who live in Charlie’s building: the Russian who likens everything to a bear, and the Chinese who hopes for the death of Sophie’s pets so she can have a good meal. And let’s not forget Lily, the Goth girl employee who is livid that Charlie got the job of Death over her.
Christopher Moore’s vision of the soul and its passage to the right person is an interesting concept. I will not spoil it for you here…if you want to know what I mean, you have to read the book.
Moore’s writing style is witty and easy to read. He is perverted, funny, and holds nothing sacred. A couple of times I was laughing so hard I was crying and was worried I would wake up Otty. The book had its side of danger as well. The Morrigan (sewer harpies) worked to kill Charlie and almost succeeded at one point. There were attacks on Charlie’s friends and even a kidnapping attempt on his daughter. And what story is complete without the big ending battle? The book also touches on love and death. The death of Charlie’s wife is touching, and his anxiety about having to raise his daughter alone pulls at your heartstrings. Charlie’s job does not give him a reprieve from death either and the death of another family member adds to the gloomy feeling of the book. This book encompasses all emotions. But I don’t want to leave you on a down note…the book was funny! If you are looking for a laugh out loud, humorous novel, this is the one you should pick up!
This will definitely not be the only Christopher Moore book in my library!