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.

Revisited: Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

While I seem terminally “unhip,” occasionally I do decide to slide back into a 21st Century experience. As it seems everyone and their grandmothers have read Tuesdays With Morrie, I thought, “Why not?” The book is terribly hokey and I must express my confusion at everyone raving about this but accusing The Secret of being nothing more than a book of quotes. After all, Tuesdays is really nothing more than a brief biography and quotes.

Morris Schwartz was a soc press diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and Mitch Albom was a student of his who comes back to spend time with Morrie during his final months. It’s a book about dying, coping with death, and a pinch and a dash of everything else: family, relationships, money, work, etc. It certainly has its good points, but it really is nothing more than a spoonful of common sense: slow down, smell the roses, be nice to other people.

Two cringe worthy parts of the book, for me, involved having children and getting married. I don’t want children and I’m undecided about marriage. And I completely agree that having children and getting married create huge changes in a person’s life but so does not doing those things. Also, the implication that only family will be there for you in a situation like Morrie’s seems a bit daft as Mitch – a friend – is recording all of this.

Can’t say I would have missed much if I had skipped this.

Tuesdays was definitely a book I could have done with out. In the same vein as books like The Secret or The Last Lecture, I muse mostly at the financial momentum pushing these books but do reserve some concern at how much of a con some of these books are. In fact, Tuesdays even showed up on the summer school reading list I have, which made me want to puke. Really? There’s nothing else you could have these kids read?

Looking back, it’s also interesting to see how a review reflects a reviewer’s life. When I originally wrote this review, I believe last summer, I was very much going through a period of stretching and self-discovery. Toddlers do it to test their parents and I suppose I was doing it to test my world. I had some surprising results. But yes, I became more confidant last year in my personal decisions not to have children and not to marry. This will become even more obvious in other revisited book posts.

Other opinions: Scathing Reviews, I Read…, Reading Room, SMS Book Reviews, Reading to Know.