Friday, March 16, 2012
Fool: A Novel by Christopher Moore: Hit that shit.
I don’t normally review well established authors because, frankly, what’s the point? They already have a mass of followers who get all juicy down there over every witty turn of phrase and well placed adjective, all sufficiently lubricated and happy to spread the good word.
That being said, after reading Fool: A Novel by Christopher Moore I felt the need to proffer a review for the sake of my fellow readers and writers who have not yet partaken. Yes, I know I’m late getting to this gang bang - in fact so many of my author friends recommended it, knowing it was right up my alley, given my propensity to adore all things irreverent and funny - particularly that of a cheeky nature.
Their collective suggestions had become a nattering mantra in my head to which I’d reply, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll GET TO IT !” My “to read” list is a long and winding road paved with good intentions, not enough hours in the day, and two autistic kids who are sucking the life out of me as we speak.
Only after reading something online regarding its sexual content did I add Fool to my Kindle, under the guise of “research.” My work-in-progress has a great deal of sexual content and is written in first person from the male POV, so I’ve spent months reading all kinds of books with similar content in order to see how other authors handled it. I should also note, I’m a 43 year old woman sidling up to menopause with all the grace of a cat having been launched down a Slip-n-Slide with a shuffleboard stick.* But the truly disturbing and unexpected side effect resulting from the onset of the shriveling of my uterine walls (and girlhood dreams) has to be my naughty bits resonating like a tuning fork. Yes, sir, my bunny cunny* is, all too often these days, hopped up on Red Bull and ready to rumble.
Reading this glut of coital literature probably isn’t helping matters any, but I do want to mention that I don’t think the sex in Fool is even close to being over the top. Bawdy, perhaps, but certainly not vulgar or titillating. At least by my standards. But I just finished reading Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer and all three installments of The Rosy Crucifixion (Sexus/Plexus/Nexus) so having plumbed the depths and debauch of all that is Mr. Miller, perhaps my not-so-delicate sensibilities have just been numbed to the point of delirium by all the cunt he described, revered, manhandled, masticated, sautéed, flambéed… yeah, that guy liked him some va-jay-jay.
But who among us…
Wait, where was I? Oh yes, Fool - a re-telling of Shakespeare’s King Lear, narrated by Pocket, the court jester or “fool.” Along with his amusing but slightly daft sidekick Drool, there are a myriad of other characters, including the king’s daughters, plenty of buxom laundry women, a full court of hangers-on, and a ghost… because, apparently, there’s always a fucking ghost.
Let me just say that while I can appreciate The Bard as much as the next gal, while his works are often funny, more often than not, getting through Shakespeare’s offerings is as laborious as trekking through a shallow river of molasses - against the current, wearing a snow parka and cement Timberlands.
That said, Moore’s retelling is extremely accessible, with laugh-out-loud lines aplenty. My first hearty guffaw came with the opening of chapter two. I laughed so hard, so long, and so loudly while sitting outside Thing One’s middle school, awaiting the final bell, that a group of football players lifting weights congregated on the lawn, directed a collection of looks at me that would have been more appropriate had I pulled down my pants and shat upon their school mascot while humming Clair de la lune.
“I found Drool in the laundry resolving a wank, spouting great gouts of git-seed across the laundry walls, floors, and ceiling, giggling, as young Shanker Mary wagged her tits at him over a steaming cauldron of the king’s shirts.”
I think this line perfectly illustrates the tone and tenor of the sexual content, so if this offends you, Fool probably won't be your cuppa tea. Also I assume you’ll be voting for Rick Santorum, so you and your moral superiority can kindly skip away from this review now, and keep your ten inch vaginal wand away from my who-ha, thank you very much.
The thing that stands out about the writing is Moore’s seemingly endless self-assurance within his craft. That, or he’s as good at faking it as a hooker who’s already been paid and is now yelping with wild abandon in the hopes of getting a big tip.
This being the first of Moore’s work I’ve had the pleasure of reading, I plan to go back and sample more, in an effort to find out if this confident writing style is something he’s always had, or something he’s nurtured over the years. Either way, no matter. He creates an atmosphere so the reader can feel certain he’s got the reins well in hand and we’re free to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Moore’s firm grasp of how humor should play out on the page is no more evident than when he parsimoniously peppers the “thirteenth-century speak” with modern day phrases that deliver a one-two punch with glaring accuracy and delectable wit.
My only question is why Hollywood hasn’t pulled her head out of her fat ass and turned this gem into a movie, already. If dialogue is king, Moore’s already done all the heavy lifting. It seems a no-brainer. Think a Merchant/Ivory production meets Mel Brooks - if they met somewhere in the middle, the result would be brilliant.
VERDICT: Hilarious, unparalleled one-liners aplenty, and lots of naughtiness. A classic example for writers to study with regard to hitting the comedic beats.
There are few humor writers who are able to sustain the laughs, as well as my attention, from cover to cover. For me, his book falls into that category, along with A Confederacy of Dunces, and all of David Sedaris’ work. This isn’t because I’m some humor elitist, but because humor is my reading preference of choice, whatever the genre, and I hold its writers to a higher standard, however unfair that might be. To me, humor is that important.
A writer friend, author Greg Crites, said this to me recently: “Make someone laugh and you’ve earned your oxygen for the day.” God, but that’s the truth. There is no more universal language than laughter. We might not all agree on what’s funny, but I think we can all agree how important it is to laugh - to find the humor in the absurdities of life.
To be the person who makes someone else laugh is as much a privilege as it is to be the one doing the laughing. So, good on you, Mr. Moore. You’ve earned your oxygen for the day - and then some.
Friends, if you haven’t already read it, hit that shit. Hit it!
* Blatantly swiped from Fool.
* Have I used this line in a blog post before? I can’t remember, thanks to the memory loss that accompanies the hot flashes and heart palpitations.