103 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm a Christopher Moore junky
I tell you how much of a Moore junky I am - although I am just now in England, and thus cannot easily get a hard copy of "Dirty Job," I downloaded the audiobook for this because I just...couldn't...wait. There should be a support group for people like me, people that like to laugh uncontrollably when reading/listening in public, people who appreciate the fine art of...
Published on May 19, 2006 by bensmomma
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars say "lease" or cheese.
"A Dirty Job" is one of the most ridiculous books I've ever read. That's not a bad thing. I really enjoyed it up until the end. I definitely appreciate the absurdity. It's just that I found the last few chapters disappointing after the build up. The conclusion of the story seemed full of careless plot holes and a little rushed. I could have lived without the last line. It...
Published on February 2, 2007 by pyewackett
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103 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm a Christopher Moore junky,
I tell you how much of a Moore junky I am - although I am just now in England, and thus cannot easily get a hard copy of "Dirty Job," I downloaded the audiobook for this because I just...couldn't...wait. There should be a support group for people like me, people that like to laugh uncontrollably when reading/listening in public, people who appreciate the fine art of wedding a raunchy attitude, a comic genius, a knack for REALLY fun secondary characters, and the End of the Universe As We Know It into a single novel. If you are a fellow junkie, rejoice; Moore is in top form here (I would place it up with "Lamb" and "Bloodsucking Fiends," but everyone in the group is likely to have different favorites). If you are compelled to the audiobook, the actor Fisher Stevens does a dynamite job of reading.
In "Dirty Job," Moore returns to his favorite haunt, San Francisco, with a winsome new hero, Charlie Asher. Following the death of his beloved wife Rachel after the birth of daughter Sophie, Charlie learns he has become a sort of Death Merchant, responsible for retrieving the souls of the recently departed from the material objects they most loved. However, various forces of Darkness would like to get their hands on these things, so Charlie must battle harpies demons and various other devils, while protecting Sophie from their murderous schemes.
That's about all I'm going to say about the plot. Really, I don't think it's possible to summarize a Moore plot in a public place without risk of arrest. I will only say that "Dirty Job" contains all the elements of Moore's unique type of lunacy -
(1) the perfect willingness for Guys to be Guys, sex-obsessed and confounded by women, but fundamentally good guys nevertheless.
(2) the dark and supernatural
(3) the happy realization that sex is both fun and hilarious,
(4) the deadpan secondary characters (the goth store cleck Lilly , along with the ex-cop Ray, the wacky widows who babysit Sophie),
(5) pure silliness (the manual for the Death Merchants has an opening chapter...."So Now You're Death.")
(6) less fortunately, a descent into chaos as the plot attempts to reach some conclusion. In "Dirty Job" this involves the seventh-inning appearance of little 14-inch high creatures made out of animal skulls, big hams, and chicken feet, and dressed in 18th-century costumes.
Moore is not in any sense politically correct, he is adamant about his women being sex objects, about his ethnic characters hewing to stereotype in comic fashion (the Chinese babysitter steals every sort of animal for her stewpot), etc. If that stuff offends you stay WAY the heck away from this.
And get your head examined man. Life is just too short not to laugh this hard.
58 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud funny, wil make you take death lesss seriously.,
How often do you think about death, or even more so about your soul? Well what if soul's were passed from one person to another like hand-me-down jeans? Where would that leave us the teaming masses of earth? Well Christopher Moore tries to tackle the big questions in his latest book A Dirty Job.
Our not so gifted hero is Charlie Asher, who is a normal guy, or we should say a normal Beta Male. He has a very active imagination but has lived by flight rather then the fight instinct. He has a pretty good life, a loving sister, and adoring wife and a little baby on the way; then his world comes crashing down around him. First his wife dies, and a mysterious man who only Charlie saw was in her hospital room when she died. He doesn't appear on the security tapes, and no one recalls seeing him. Then things really start getting weird.
Charlie has become a `Death Merchant' sort of an assistant to Death, or the equivalent of the Salivation Army's Santa's to Santa. He is a little death, and as such his job is to collect soul objects and pass them on to people without souls. Which as an owner of a second hand store he is in a good position to do. However he does not get receive `The Great Big Book of Death' one of his employee's borrows it for her own amusement. So Charlie does not know what to do, or how to do it but weird things keep happening to him. He keeps showing up when people are dying and there are items that are glowing a bright red. These were the soul vessels.
But all is not well in the great city of San Francisco, darkness it trying to rise for the cosmic battle will soon take place between the powers of darkness and the little deaths, before the rising of the Great Death once again.
We have a cast of Characters that would put a Shakespeare comedy to proud our Falstaff is the Emperor of San Francisco, a man of the street who knows and care for his city deeply, Charlie's Daughter who is protected by two hellhounds - 400lb dog that eat toasters and small engines named Mohamed & Alvin these two also love eating soap and shampoo, Minty Fresh a used music dealer who is over 6 foot tall and always dressed in green. And many many more.
If you have read any of Moore before this one will be even more funny. You go on a walkabout both above and below the city of San Francisco.
64 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A funny and touching look at Death,
Charlie Asher is a nice, likable and (except for his exceptionally over-worked imagination, common in a "Beta Male") normal guy. At least he was normal, until the day he accidentally walked in on Death--well actually, one of his minions, the dapper and cool Minty Fresh--and finds himself as one of Death's Little Helpers as well, collecting the souls from the newly departed and saving these souls from unscrupulous use by a set of female demons and their wicked lord. Once Charlie gets the hang of it, he finds out that it's not such a bad job, makes him a decent living and gives him plenty of time with his daughter Sophie. There's just one flaw. . . it seems that the Sewer Harpies (as Charlie comes to call the female demons) are growing stronger. So strong in fact, that there will be no other course of action than a ferocious battle for the world, between the forces of good and evil.
Charlie is alternatively helped and hindered on his path by the sort of wonderful characters only Moore could create. There's Lily, the wise-cracking teenaged Goth and "creepiness child prodigy" (who quickly became my favorite), and Ray, an ex-police officer searching for love on Asian dating sites. Charlie's sister Jane -the Alpha Male that Charlie isn't- gives Charlie strength and love--all the while looking better in his suits than he does. Even Charlie's daughter Sophie, who grows up before our eyes, has some odd tendencies--bad luck with pets, one very dangerous word, her own personal hounds from hell and the typical child's memory for things that one was not supposed to hear in the first place. Of course, one couldn't expect her to be completely normal, given her father (who was convinced he saw a tail on her six-month sonogram) and the influence of her unintentional hilarious babysitters, Mrs. Korjev (and her bears) and Mrs. Ling (and her wok). Even Charlie's enemies are wonderful; I adored the Sewer Harpies with their bickering, evil ways, puppet shows and continually amusing antics. In addition, Moore throws in a few return characters from other books which was a thrill for the Moore fan. I was especially glad to see the Emperor again.
Charlie's experiences as a soul collector are both funny and touching. As is so often the case with Mr. Moore, a surprising tenderness turned up on some scenes. There is one scene in particular (the cheese scene--read it and you'll agree with me), that made me step back and say, "Wow! I need to be sure I appreciate life to the fullest!". Terminal illness, hospice care, nurses, and death all received a reverential treatment at his hands--while still being funny in that twisted Moore way.
A Dirty Job has overtaken Lamb as my favorite Christopher Moore novel and rates a full five stars. Pick it up and join Charlie the life of death. It's a dirty job, sure, but somebody's gotta do it!
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book.,
How could a book about death be both wildly funny and deeply compassionate? Well, because Chris Moore is the writer. Called one of the country's best satiric writers, Moore has a talent for at once presenting a serious subject (death, Christ) with excellent research and a unique approach, being deeply respectful, and then throwing in a zinger or 20. One page will leave you pondering big questions and the next will have the beverage you just sipped come out your nose as you laugh out loud.
In A Dirty Job there are assorted characters - Charlie, of course; his daughter Sophie, fellow death merchant Minty Fresh, and some really creepy bad things who live in the storm drains of San Francisco. Oh, and the two hell hounds. That's all I am going to tell you. Buy it, read it. If you share it with anyone else they will keep it, so plan ahead and buy a few copies up front.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars say "lease" or cheese.,
"A Dirty Job" is one of the most ridiculous books I've ever read. That's not a bad thing. I really enjoyed it up until the end. I definitely appreciate the absurdity. It's just that I found the last few chapters disappointing after the build up. The conclusion of the story seemed full of careless plot holes and a little rushed. I could have lived without the last line. It is difficult to rate the book because I enjoyed the ride as much as I disliked the ending. It was a quick light read that didn't take up too much time. I had a few laugh out loud moments. That gets points. I wish I could give it three and a half stars. It doesn't quite make it to four but it has some interesting concepts and funny moments.
The dialogue between the characters was either the greatest strength or weakness of the book, depending on which page you were on. Many of the stereotypes went a little over the top. I know some stereotypes can be funny because they have a little truth to them but there is a limit. The kind of humor that works in the South Park cartoon doesn't quite fly in a novel, even one as absurdist as this is. The rest of the dialogue was truly witty. There was a pretty even balance between the clever repartee and cringe worthy cliches. The characters ranged from familiar enough to be realistic to flat and shallow. A few of the more promising characters were never fleshed out until the end when the story was already falling apart.
This might seem nitpicky but I'd like to know what the author was thinking when he wrote the dialogue for the character with no lips. He couldn't pronounce the letter "p" because he had no lips but he seemed to have no difficulty with "f" and "m" and the other letters that also require lips. It isn't difficult to figure out how a character would speak if he had no lips. If you are going to write in something as bizarre as a speaking part for a character without lips, you could at least hold your lips and make a sentence to get an idea of how it might sound. It's not that difficult. That's just one example of a lack of attention to detail towards the end.
I have only read one other Christopher Moore novel so I'm not sure what I think of his work quite yet. "The Stupidest Angel" had more interesting well rounded characters and was funnier and more consistent. It suffered from the same problem though, in that the ending went out of focus and was somewhat anti-climactic. Maybe the writer just doesn't know how to finish a book or maybe he loses interest and is anxious to move on. I might recommend "A Dirty Job" as a good light read for a long plane ride.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Someone has to do it...,
Christopher Moore is a wildly popular cult author with eight best-selling books to his name. Populated with the usual oddball characters, sticky situations and hilarious prose which may garner the reader indignant looks when they laugh out loud in public places, A Dirty Job most assuredly will be the ninth.
Protagonist Charlie Asher is the quintessential beta-male, mild mannered and unassuming with a slight touch of hypochondria; he goes about his daily business as the owner of a thrift shop trying not to make any waves. On the life-altering day when his daughter is born, as he returns to his wife's hospital room, he discovers a seven-foot tall, black man, wearing a mint green suit standing over her bed, just as the heart monitor alarms start wailing. Taken aback to be seen the mint green man disappears without a trace. As the days go by, trying to recover from his wife's death, Charlie starts noticing certain small items in the shop have a bright red glow and he discovers names and numbers on a pad by his bed that he doesn't remember writing. Charlie catches up with Minty Fresh, the man in green, and finds out that he has been chosen to be a Death assistant or Death Merchant as Minty likes to style himself. Not as bad as it sounds, but not a barrel of monkeys either, Death Merchants help souls travel from person to person in their endless ascendance towards perfection. Muddling through his first few weeks, Charlie deals admirably well with being assaulted by oversexed female demons, coping when dish-soap eating hellhounds show up to protect his daughter, handling a morose goth employee who steals his Big Book of Death instruction book, and a police detective who invariably shows up when he's doing something really odd, such as talking into the sewer. Then the proverbial hits the fan, and Charlie finds himself faced with saving the world from the Forces of Darkness, assisted only by a Boston Terrier, a Desert Eagle pistol and a furious, Spork brandishing army of squirrel-people. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.
Somewhat over the top, Moore's take on death is refreshing, irreverent and comedic yet with moments that are unexpectedly poignant and winsome. Moore is doing what he does best, playing on the supernatural for laughs and making even the most ludicrous events seem possible. Faithful readers will find another winner to add to their collections, and new readers will be snapping up his previous offerings to get their fix.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death and Dying, What a Hoot!,
This review is from: A Dirty Job: A Novel (Paperback)
In `A Dirty Job' author Christopher Moore creates a wildly imaginative, often hilarious world of Death that somehow manages to be poignant at the same time. How does he do that?? I don't know, but it's a lot of fun, a great read, and yet touches the human spirit.
Moore's protagonist Charlie Asher, a mild-mannered recently widowed dealer in used goods is unsettled to discover that he has somehow become a Death Merchant. He has to track down people who have just died or are about to die and collect their soul vessel so it can be passed on to somebody else who really needs it. Simple enough, or so it seems until the Morrigan show up. The Morrigan are large black bird-like creatures who live in the storm sewers of San Francisco. They are at odds with Asher and his colleagues. And then some of the people who are supposed to die don't. Lack of death causes a Death Merchant a lot of trouble. It turns out that the lack of death is no accident, but is the result of a third-party intervention that involves really strange creatures made up of parts of dead animals sewn together and wearing nightgowns.
So, how does all that rollicking weirdness get poignant? Well, underneath all the weirdness, his book really is about Death, the death of spouses and mothers and lovers and how we deal with it.
Moore's Note and Acknowledgement explain his inspiration for some of his ideas, including the dead animals in dresses. Check out art by Monique Motil. It can be found on the web and it's, uhh interesting.
A Dirty Job is a lot of fun, a quick read, that's sure to brighten your day (hey, you're not dead yet, are you?).
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A writer of tremendous gifts,
I've been a Moore fan from the very beginning. I've found his books to be multi-layered exposes of the human condition and there isn't a writer working today that combines humor, pathos, and a moral sensitivity in the way he does so effortlessly. And what's amazing is that he does it without hitting you over the head with it.
A Dirty Job is a another supernova in the Moore galaxy. Charlie Asher may be one of his most fully realized creations and the manner in which he moves through life, constantly convinced that the "man" is out to keep him down, is hilarious and touching by turns.
Like his previous masterpiece LAMB, which is now being taught in university theology classes, I would expect that DIRTY JOB will soon be taught in courses on Death and Dying or Philosophy.
I'm so glad that we get to experience Chris Moore at the peak of his skills. We need more writers like him. He writes funny books for smart people. Does anybody realize how hard that is? You MUST read this book!
Can't wait to see what he's going to do next.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny! Like bear.,
This review is from: A Dirty Job: A Novel (Paperback)
Charlie Asher, a beta-male, consignment shop owner and new daddy, is reluctantly and unwittingly recruited for the job of death's helper (notice the small case "d".) Unfotunately for Charlie, the position of death's helper comes with very little training and much of what he needs to know comes on a trial and error basis....with the emphasis on error! Throw in a couple of "sewere harpies" hellbent on de-railing Charlie's new career, a couple of hell hounds, a seven-foot black man named "Minty Fresh" (apparently his mother had a fixation with toothcare products), Charlie's daughter Sophie..who's smarter than the average bear, "squirrel people" and you have the recipe for another hilarious Moore novel.
Avid Moore readers will recognize some of the characters in this book from prior stories and there's one very clever and interesting scene where an encounter with another one of Moore's characters from Bloodsucking Fiends is narrated from Charlie's perspective.
Anything that Moore writes is recommended, in my opinion, and "A Dirty Job" is no exception. Pick up. Read. Enjoy.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read!!! You Can't Go Wrong!,
This book puts death in a whole new light.....kinda like that hooker red from the 'red light district' turn of phrase. I highly suggest you avoid reading the reviews and the dust jacket, and just jump right in, let Moore tell the story like it was meant to be told with no preamble.
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A Dirty Job: A Novel by Christopher Moore (Paperback - March 27, 2007)