For some, Christmas is a time of joy; for others the holidays are difficult. For me the holidays are a big mix of nostalgia, stress, annoyance, confusion, and sheer wonder at the bizarre extremes of behavior that I see this time of year. That, in a nutshell (with emphasis on the nuts), is why I can really appreciate a novel like Christopher Moore’s The Stupidest Angel: a Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror.
Moore rounds up the wacked-out residents of Pine Cove, California (several of his books are set there) for another ridiculous adventure. When Lena Marquez accidentally kills Santa in self defense (a Santa played by her rotten ex-husband, the town’s resident Evil Developer) she gets help from helicopter pilot Tucker Case and his pet, the giant fruit bat Roberto, in hiding the body. Unfortunately, a video-game obsessed boy named Josh has witnessed Santa’s slaying. Raziel, the screw-up angel of the title, has been sent from heaven to perform the annual Christmas miracle, and when he hears Josh wish for Santa to return to life, he raises the Evil Developer and the rest of the town’s dead from the grave as ravenous zombies.
Meanwhile, Former B-movie actress Molly “The Warrior Babe” is off her meds and hearing voices again and husband Theo, the town constable, has fallen off the wagon and is back to his pot-smoking ways. In a hilarious parody of O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi,” Molly gives Theo a bong (to celebrate his success in giving up pot) and Theo gives Molly a samurai sword (to commemorate her career). Neither realizes that the other has a dubious use for the symbolic gifts.
These are just the main characters in Moore’s fast-moving, funny story. It’s vulgar, it’s profane, and it all ends with a standoff between the zombies and the town residents they surround in a church during the annual Christmas party for the single and lonely. What fun! It reminds me of my family Christmas parties, but that’s another story
Try this or any of Moore’s delightful satires when you need a break from serious reading or the stress of daily life.