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Cannonball Read #3: A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

I really really wanted to like Christopher Moore's A Dirty Job. Nearly everyone I know has told me I just MUST read Moore...he's so quirky and funny and hilarious and quirky and I will LOVE HIM!

I'm not sure what my friends think of me to try and get me to read this book.

I'm not saying the story of Charlie Asher--a neurotic recent widower and single dad who discovers he is a part of the machinery of death--is bad, or that I didn't enjoy it. I just felt like the author was...trying too hard. I guess I can relate, because--and perhaps this is why my friends thought of me when they read this--when I was writing, I had the very same problem Moore seems to have: a raft of "quirky" side characters who totally overwhelm the relatively dull main character. I liked the side characters, particularly Goth assistant clerk Lily and fellow "Death Merchant" Minty Fresh. Their descriptions were clear and vibrant. I wanted to know more about them and watch them go about their lives. However, I found Charlie himself kind of whiny and annoying. I was rather disappointed when we had to leave some of the other viewpoints and go back to Charlie and his fussing. Plus Moore's constant return to the them of the neurotic, overprotective, ultra-worried "Beta Male" also seemed kind of like a cop-out to explain why Charlie was such a freak.

The plot in itself is not bad. There were many things I like and parts that I found funny. Moore is clearly a writer who knows how to cleverly turn a phrase. However, on the whole I found the book more or less forgettable. In fact, although I just finished it yesterday, it has left no particular dent on my memory--I know I read it, I remember what it was about, but I am left with nothing except the basic knowledge of what happened and a vague feeling of irritation.

I will probably give Moore another shot if only because I am tired of being asked if I have read that one about Biff, Christ's childhood pal yet. As far as recommendations go, I guess it's not bad as something to read on a bus trip or while stranded in an airport, but otherwise, there are probably a lot of better books out there.

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