Tuesday, February 26, 2008
You Suck, by Christopher Moore
I actually got this book for the same trip I got Twilight--a surfeit of vampire novels. Of course, the tone of these is completely different. Twilight is a nearly claustrophobic romance novel, and You Suck is comparatively a breath of fresh air.
Christopher Moore is more or less a comic novelist, and I have enjoyed a number of his other books: A Dirty Job; Fluke; Lamb. I believe thereis an earlier vampire novel, Blood Sucking Fiends, which I have not read but looks like the prequel to You Suck.
Even not having read the earlier book, I enjoyed the hell out of this one. Moore, as you might expect from the title, has an entirely different atmosphere going in his vampire world. We are introduced to vampire slackers--urban underachievers who don't even have to change their sleeping patterns much to adjust to the vampire life.
Our heroes, such as they are, are Tommy and his hot vampire girlfriend Jody. They have been dating for a while: when the novel opens, Jody has just turned Tommy into a vampire. He is not entirely pleased--for one thing, she never asked him if he wanted to be a vampire. Now he is stuck with his skinny body for eternity. On the plus side, his acne has all cleared up and his foreskin grew back, which makes vampire sex even better than it was when he was a human.
Tommy works nights stocking a grocery store with a crew of other slackers known collectively as "The Animals." When they are willing to concentrate, they are an awesome night crew, but they more usually spend the night drinking beer and bowling frozen turkeys at 2 liter bottles of diet soda. This is because the diet stuff doesn't have sugar, so it doesn't get sticky when they explode.
There is a plot, of course, such as it is--more fun is the way Moore draws the intersection of modern life and vampire lore. Tommy and Jody decide they need a minion--someone who will do their errands during the day. Tommy meets a goth girl--she is all of 16--at a goth nightclub, and she is thrilled to be Chosen. This is a girl with about 80 pounds of body mass, all of it attitude, and large parts of the book are excepts from her diary in a distinctive teen speak that takes the existence of vampires in stride.
These are vampires who pay a homeless man to sleep in the stairwell of their apartment: he uses the money to buy booze, they drink his blood after he has passed out. These are vampires who miss coffee, and discover they can drink it if they mix in a little blood. These are not your ordinary vampires.
Or, more to the point, perhaps they are. This is what 21st century people would live like if they were suddenly turned into monsters. No coffins, no gloomy castles, just staying up all night getting by.
A great contrast to the vampires of the Twilight series and a book that made me laugh out loud.