Sunday, July 30, 2006

Review of Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore

1992, Perennial
243 pgs
Rating: * (Good)

First Sentence: The Breeze blew into San Junipero in the shotgun seat of Billy Winston's Pinto wagon.

Reason for Reading: A fellow booklover recommended I read something by Christopher Moore when I mentioned I wanted to read a laugh-out-loud book. This one just happened to be on my shelf, and so I decided to give it a try.

Comments: Over the years, I have heard how wonderful Christopher Moore’s books are, how funny and unusual. I am not sure how long Practical Demonkeeping sat on my shelf, but I finally decided to give it a try.

Set in the quiet tourist community of Pine Cove on the central coast of California, Practical Demonkeeping is the story about a 90 year old man (who looks no older than 25) and his 70 year long traveling companion, a demon named Catch. Catch has a nasty habit of eating people. Ever since Travis called the demon into his service, Travis has wanted to send him back to where he came from. He is hoping that the answer lies in Pine Cove. Meanwhile, A Djin, one of the Old Ones, who lived on the earth before mankind was created, enlists the aid of a local resident to help find Catch. He has an old score to settle with the demon.

Christopher Moore introduces several characters, each one unique. There is The Breeze, a 40ish drug dealer who thinks he’s hot stuff; Billy Winston and his alter ego, Roxanne; Augustus Brine, the general store owner who looks a bit like Santa Claus, the town witch and leader of the Pagan Vegetarians for Peace, Rachel Henderson; Robert Masterson, the town drunk, and his estranged wife, Jenny who is a hardworking waitress; Howard Phillips, the owner of a local restaurant and believer in the Old Ones; and Mavis Sand, who runs the Head of the Slug saloon, just to name a few.

Upon finishing this novel, I felt a little ambiguous about it. I did find it witty and unusual, just as expected, but somehow it was also a little disappointing. I wouldn’t say it was a humorous book all around. There was enough horror in it with the demon eating people to destroy that idea. Upon reflection, I do think it was a good book. Christopher Moore has a talent for the bizarre and his story was fascinating.

Favorite Part: It might be too much of a spoiler to mention my favorite scene—It really wasn’t so much the scene itself as it was Christopher Moore’s description of the scene between Travis and Jenny at her house after their date. It was very creative!

Miscellaneous: I’ve officially achieved one of my reading goals for the year. I have read more books than I read last year (by one).

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