A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

Post #1 of NaBloPoMo!

I’ve read this book many times, and it’s one of my favorites, and always my first recommendation for people looking for a hilarious read. Moore has a swift control over prose that leaves you with a glorious “that just happened” feeling. He excels at both narration and dialogue, giving each character a unique voice stuffed with comedic treasures.

The humor isn’t the only thing that makes Moore’s books special, particularly this one. In this book, we follow beta male protagonist Charlie Asher, a single father raising his newborn daughter, Sophie. To say that Charlie is a likable character is a gross understatement. From his smart-ass banter to his inventive paranoia, Charlie is not only a hero that you enjoy reading, but someone you care deeply about. The more you read, the more you care as you watch this eclectic family of characters grow up over a span of six years. As a reader, I’ve never been more emotionally invested in a story, and despite the fact that I’ve read it again and again, I still cry every time.

The other quality that sets Moore’s books apart is the incredible amount of research he does. Every element in his books is intentional and well thought-out, and has traceable roots in history and culture. He didn’t just throw made-up forces of Darkness into the San Francisco sewer system, he researched all aspects of death and carefully incorporated them into a compelling story. Unlike some of his other books, much of his research is presented in an obvious and didactic way in A Dirty Job. While the plot calls for this presentation, it makes for some slower passages of long, informative monologues, something I’m looking to avoid in my own writing. However, having witty characters like Charlie helps break up these passages at times with the insertions of quick one-liners that help remind the audience that they’re still reading comedy, not a history text. As a whole, though, these passages are few and don’t detract from the wonderful story that Moore presents.

Also, how can you resist a cover like that?

NaBloPoMo November 2015

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