I was surprised to find out this book was nearly a decade old, given
that I'd just plucked it off the new book shelf in MITSFS, but of
course we don't get everything then it comes out. It was just
reprinted, though, so perhaps that's how it came to appear. Whatever
the story, I'm kicking myself for missing out on such a delightful
author for so long. I've had people recommend other books by
Mr. Moore to me, but this is the first one I've actually read.
What I found was a fiendish sense of humor that made me laugh out loud
over and over as I devoured this book. One the one hand, it's a
vampire novel: Jody gets attacked one night and wakes up a vampire.
Then she has to figure out who did it to her, why, and how to handle
life as one of the undead. Nobody gave her a rule-book, and when she
hooks up with Tommy, the male lead, he gets all the standard vampire
novels and tries to figure things out from that---and it's pretty much
all useless. But we do get an exploration into all sorts of vampiric
questions that aren't normally asked, such as whether vampires pee.
On the other, as the subtitle suggests, it's a love story---but not
your standard Laurel Hamilton/Anne Rice gothic evil that seduces you
and brings out your naughty Catholic girl side love story. It's a
love story where there's an awkward moment with the yuppie mother,
where Tommy curses his vampire girlfriend as a "Bloodsucking,
day-sleeping, turtle-hating, creepy-crawling, no-toilet-paper-buying,
inconsiderate bitch!" and where she reads Kerouac to him while hanging
naked from the ceiling.
On the third hand, it's a collection of wonderful side essays and
bizarre characters, especially the Emperor (a modern day version of
Emperor Norton) and the Animals, the most out-of-control collection of
Safeway shelf-restockers in the greater San Francisco area. Tommy
gets a job as their crew chief early in the book, and we get
introduced to turkey bowling and other dangerous midnight sports. The
plethora of minor characters never really acquire much depth, but
they're lots of fun just as they are, a comic backdrop of the
absurdities of life.
Mr. Moore also has a good eye for the plasticity of the human psyche
and human relationships. What was horror one day is routine in a few
weeks, and Tommy is soon talking idly to "Peary," the corpse in the
ice chest named "after another arctic explorer." Tommy and Jody fight
like hell, start a relationship before they're ready, and have to
figure out emotional intimacy long after they've started having sex.
They do terrible things to each other and give each other burdensome
gifts, they stomp out for a walk and they get scared when they don't
know where the other one is. And even in the end, there's not exactly
a happily ever after resolution, just one that probably will turn into
All in all, this book was a blast and a fast read. It's irreverent
and loud in its handling of the characters, and pretty much nothing is
subtle, but it's a wonderful antidote to the standard vampire story
and I enjoyed laughing along with Mr. Moore.