Because Practical Demonkeeping was the very first book I pulled out of my new TBR jar, I have been revisiting several thoughts on the author Christopher Moore, and I can’t help but feel overwhelmingly skeptical about his methods of writing.
Before AIA was AIA, it used to be AIO- Apollonia in October. Even though I adore Halloween and all the beauties of the fall season, I didn’t feel that October was the right month for Apollonia, and I wanted to change my blogging approach as well. But during this first blogging attempt of mine, I had reviewed Christopher Moore’s The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove after reading it at the beach one summer vacation. I questioned whether or not it’s good for people to read basically anything- even writing that is less than superb- just as long as they’re reading anything. Naturally, this blog draft has disappeared into thin air, but I will continue to search for it and post it should I come across it again.
I should put my disclaimer here that I really hold nothing against Christopher Moore. I think his work is a lot better than a great deal of trash that is selling in bookstores these days, and he does have an excellent knack for goofy storytelling. He also has an impressive bibliography, stemming all the way back from the early 90s. Reading some of this books is sort of like peering into a time capsule or watching Boogie Nights; it’s hard to imagine life used to be like this back in the 90s.
However, after reading several (but not all) of his novels, it is extremely easy to begin to notice patterns in every novel, patterns that ultimately create a boring and predictable reading environment. I’ve listed the top 4 below, but I’m sure others exist.
One. It Takes a Village [of Characters]
Obviously, a story is nothing without its gaggle of interesting, compelling characters. We want several characters that range from the good to the bad to the ugly. However, in Moore’s case, his novels tip the scale when it comes to having a balanced amount of memorable characters. There’s simply too many characters to keep track of, and having to remember all of them, their roles, and trying to determine their importance detracts from the true purpose of Moore’s tale. It’s not unlike animal hoarding; it becomes difficult to become attached to any one character because we have to be concerned about giving them all attention. As we will see in reason nombre deux, it also becomes problematic at times trying to follow each character line through to the end of the novel.
Two. Ping Pong Storytelling
I sort of imagine that Moore pictured each of his novels as films when writing them, which could explain the ping pong, back-and-forth nature of his books. They’re written almost as if they were a film, but in less of an effective way. We go from one character to the next constantly. This isn’t ineffective; in fact, it’s a great method for capturing each character’s point-of-view. The problem is that it is constant, appearing in most of his work, allowing the reader to contemplate whether or not he knows any other way of characterization besides this.
Three. Rude and Crude
I have the humor of a twelve year old boy, so I am not opposed to rude and crude humor by any means. However, I am opposed to it when this is the entire basis for a writer’s work. Moore certainly doesn’t shy away from the vulgar and the inappropriate, and I can appreciate that to a certain extent. But how many drug, sex, or stereotypical jokes are too many?
Four. Snail’s Pacing
There has not been a Christopher Moore book that I have read that I didn’t struggle through. Not because the story wasn’t interesting. . . but because it dragged on for ages. His 2009 novel, Fool, a retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear was the worst. The pacing of his novels leaves much to be desired. There were many times during my reading that I thought, “There can’t possibly be more!” and, lo and behold, there was a great deal more. Long story short, expect the stories to drag on for ages before you actually are able to finish them.
Again, Christopher Moore is not a bad writer, and his stories are probably worth reading. I would just use extreme caution in considering his work good. I’ve always been a little skeptical of his writing. If you’re looking for entertainment, he’s an excellent choice. If you’re searching for quality writing, you better look elsewhere.