Last year, Christopher Moore’s Lamb was one of my favorite books of the year. Friendly Pajiban, Uriah_Creep, recommended I follow it up with The Stupidest Angel. I did buy and read The Stupidest Angel last year, but at the same time I came down with some sort of hideous illness that made me wish I would die, so it didn’t get reviewed. I vowed to re-read it and review it this year during the seasonally appropriate few days before Christmas. The Stupidest Angel is no Lamb, but it’s a Christmas tradition I will happily adopt.
There are a number of interweaving stories here. There is a gift of the Magi story with town Constable Theophilus and his lovely wife Molly, a retired actress best known for her role as Kendra, Warrior Babe of the Outland. There is a young boy who asks for something, but because the gifter wasn’t really paying attention and badly misunderstood the request something even worse occurs, and there are two people so desperate not to be alone for Christmas that they stick it out despite their meet cute being straight out of a horror novel.
There’s a lot of laugh out loud humor, wacky citizens, the talking dead (before they walk, they talk), and a fruit cake laced with pharmaceuticals. There are some insights into the human condition, too. It would be easy to say that the lesson is be careful what you ask for because you might get it. But the burden of the lesson is really on the giver – pay attention. If the angel Raziel had paid attention, he would have realized a little boy wasn’t really asking for a zombie attack. Theo and Molly have paid attention and made sacrifices to get the perfect gift for the other.
What makes this a good book rather than a great book is the lack of emotional resonance. In the end, there are no real consequences. It’s a fun book. It’s a clever and charming book. But I remember clever turns of phrase, not my response to them. I read Lamb a year and a half ago and I still feel Biff’s heartbreak. I’ll remember laughing at The Stupidest Angel, and that’s a good thing.