Christopher Moore is a phenomenally funny author. Not all of his books are masterpieces, but I’ve yet to regret finishing one.
However, Sacre Bleu is really amazing and my second favorite of his books. (It wasn’t as good as Lamb, but that’s possibly because I find few things more hilarious than religious irreverence.) I kept on flashing back to my Art History class throughout the book, which made it more enjoyable – I think enjoyment of the book is heightened by a knowledge of art history, certainly, but not necessarily an in-depth knowledge. Just a survey course or familiarity with the Impressionist period is enough. I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t know Henri Toulouse-Lautrec was a real person, but now that I do, I just want to go watch “Moulin Rouge” all over again.
I’m not terribly fond of the way he ties his plots together as the book winds up – think Holes. I loved the method in Holes, don’t get me wrong, but something about the delivery in most other books doesn’t sit well with me. I think it’s generally the plot pacing – it’s either a little fast and you don’t have time to really digest and put together the information or it’s a little slow and I get a tiny bit bored. But I liked it more in this book than I have in other ones that I’ve read, and I think it came together better overall. The pacing was more enjoyable in this book than in other books of his I’ve read.
My favorite thing about this book (and Moore’s writing in general) is the excellent little quips he puts in, or the ridiculous situations that pop up so unexpectedly that for a second your brain just accepts them as normal. Then, when it processes, you find yourself thinking, “Wait – what just happened?!” and invariably laughing.
I also enjoyed his characters so much – they seem like people I would meet at college; they have the kind of witty, quippy conversations that I enjoy. (Generally, in his writing you find his characters reminding you of people you’ve met in settings similar to the current scene.) The characters feel so familiar, yet they are at the same time very individualized. Henri might remind you of the party boys you knew in college, yet he still manages to be Henri himself rather than fading into a stereotype.
Anyways, overall a rather excellent book. Also! Bonus! Scattered throughout the book are some of the paintings referenced in it!