When I was a teenager I read a lot of Christopher Moore books. I liked them quite a bit, but upon revisiting A Dirty Job this year I was honestly shocked by how lame, unfunny, and desperate I found a lot of the jokes. I’m pleased to say that I didn’t have that experience with The Stupidest Angel. Though, I still get the distinct impression that Christopher Moore has never done a drug in his life despite his stubborn insistence on including bizarre descriptions of drug use in all of his books for some reason.
I think the cast of characters that Moore creates in Pine Cove works well. The small town Christmas dramedy that he creates between these characters has some genuine chemistry. The shifting perspectives of a series of separate-but-connected misadventures works. I could see them being a bit too wacky for a some readers, but I don’t think it ever devolves into truly random shock humor.
The titular Angel is hands down the weakest element of the story. Christopher Moore may be trying a little too hard with the shared universe/supernatural stuff. The end worked for me but it does feel like it comes from basically out of no where and that The Angel, The Christmas Terror, and the child making the wish are all after thoughts.
Overall there’s a few funny moments. A few charming moments. Mercifully few racist jokes. The portrayal of women isn’t…well it isn’t good, but it’s not his worst. I’ve read worse comedy books. I’ve read better comedy books. On a scale of Christmas Books I was forced to read despite not caring much for Christmas, easily top-10.
Content and Ideas (3/5) – There is a series of character dramas at the heart of The Stupidest Angel. None of them are particularly original or particularly well developed. Each serves its purpose, which is to deliver a few well-timed comedic interactions.
Organization (4/5) – What The Stupidest Angel lacks in originality it makes up for in execution. I was a little unsure whether this would fit better under organization or use of language, but ultimately I think the comedic timing and overall brevity of the book is more an achievement of Organization. The plot points come together at the right time. The story never becomes boring.
Use of Language (3/5) – There really isn’t much to talk about here. Christopher Moore writes as well as you would expect a professional author to write. None of the writing stood out to me as especially bad or good.
Personal Preference (4/5) – Though I think that the finale was a big miss, the heart of the book is people setting aside their differences and being their for one another. This is what Christmas is all about. The Stupidest Angel managed to tell its story with humor. It never became sappy or offensive. I appreciate it for that.
Recommendation Strength (4/5) – This certainly isn’t for everyone, but I think it has a broad appeal. Especially for anyone who is interested in a Christmas comedy.