As part of the 2019 Reading Challenge I choose A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore for my humor selection. For the uninitiated, Moore is a writer of comic fantasy. His books are playful, amusing and at times even downright absurd. As a great and quirky storyteller, I would say he is on par with Tom Robbins and Carl Haaisen for those looking for comparable authors they may be more familiar with.
This is a wonderful and fun read, a laugh-out-loud book that had me wiping the tears from my eyes.
Unexpectedly, the very NORMAL (Beta-Male) Charlie has been unwillingly selected to collect the souls of dead people. As a Death Merchant, he is to harvest and collect the souls of the dead and help them journey to their next destination. Of course, Charlie also needs to run his business, grieve for his late wife, take care of his newborn daughter (who — spoiler alert– also seems to have some powers), battle monsters and contend with sewer harpies.
His new guide and rulebook The Great Big Book of Death is anything but big or helpful. Instead, it is just a lot of cartoonish pictures with tips such as “In order to hold off the Forces of Darkness, you will need a number two pencil and a calendar.”
Despite all of the quirky characters, hilarious situations and deadpan humor, the book is dedicated to hospice workers and approaches very emotional and touchy subjects – death and grief. Underneath it is a beautiful story about grief, the reasons we go on living and how we deal with the inevitable.