Adventures in Reading

R.I.P. Challenge – Fiction: A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

“Charlie Asher walked on the earth like an ant walks on the surface of water, as if the slightest misstep might send him plummeting through the surface to be sucked to the depths below.”

After his wife has passed away, Charlie Asher comes to discover that he is a “death merchant,” or a collector of souls. Caring for an infant daughter and a thrift store, he acclimates to his new “career.” With a variety show cast of characters, Charlie Asher just might have to save the world.

A Dirty Job’s best feature is a curious reinterpretation of death and dying set in contemporary San Francisco. The characters are developed for novelty and amusement, and overall it’s a fairly amusing page-turner.

Moore’s humor in A Dirty Job didn’t always work though, and some of the jokes were just painful to read. At times he was trying so hard to make a joke happen and it simply wouldn’t be funny. Even one of the larger themes in the book, the idea of the “Beta male” that was meant to be humorous, was never effortlessly pulled off. Some of the humor also bordered on fratire or “dick lit,” which is usually just offensive and often relies on stereotypes (read racist and sexist).

With that said, I would still be willing to read another of Moore’s books to see how it compares. A Dirty Job has an interesting plot, was well developed, and was a quick read.

Conclusion: Available on Bookmooch.


This was the second Moore I read. I found the same thing with The Stupidest Angel, that he would just be grasping at any joke-straws he could find, and failing as often as he succeeded. I read books like that and I’m all, Please don’t let this be me.

Still, if I had a Moore kicking around, I’d probably get around to reading it but I’d keep my expectations low. I mean, what can you expect from a man who titles a book ‘You Suck’? I used to doodle that on my best friend’s Trapper Keeper. But, you know, totally in love.

Comment by raych

I haven’t read any of Moore’s stuff, though I do have Lamb on my stacks.

I see that you’re reading Snuff now. I’m REALLY curious what you’ll have to say about that one. I sat down and read 20 or so pages in the book store and was astoundingly bored by it. Had no idea, given the premise, that it would ever bore me!

Comment by Andi

I liked this one more than you seemed to, although I definitely see where you’re coming from with the reliance on stereotypes. I think this, Lamb, Stupidest Angel, and Fluke are the upper half of his work, and while they all have elements that don’t work, I find the bits that do work to be funny enough to keep going.

Comment by fyreflybooks

I read all of Moore’s books, aside from Fluke, which is still on my TBR-pile. I think I enjoyed A Dirty Job more than you because I found his trying-to-hard style of humour to be amusing in an eye-rolling sort of way.

Comment by Joanne

I’ve been wondering about his books (seems like maybe I said that here a few weeks ago??). Sometimes I feel like I repeat myself. :( Anyway, sounds like this isn’t the place to start if you’re a Moore newbie…?

Comment by Trish

raych: I would definitely read more books by Moore, and have only heard glowing reports of Lamb, but I just happened to have a .25 copy of A Dirty Job lying about so here we are! But I would definitely look into something else of his.

Andi: I’ve heard great things about Lamb and my thoughts on Snuff will be up in a few days. It turned out better than I hope, though.

Fyreflybooks: I’ll have to take a look at this trinity! Thank you for the suggestion.

Joanne: That “too hard” humor reminded me of, for example, the television show Brisco County Junior, which was total cheese for the most part but I’ve still Netflixed every season!

Trish: As a few other commenters suggested, if you have the choice Lamb seems to be an excellent place to start.

Comment by bookchronicle

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: