If you’ve read the first two books in Christopher Moore’s (so far) trilogy of comic novels about vampires — Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story (1995) and You Suck: A Love Story (2007) — you may be tempted to skip the first chapter of Bite Me: A Love Story (2010).
Those initial 18 pages recap, for anyone just coming in from the cold, what happened during the two-month period covered in the first two books. So, yeah, life is short, and you may say to yourself, “I don’t need no recap.”
Well, you may not need a recap, but you really, really want to read this one because it’s spectacularly hilarious, coming, as it does, from the mind and journal of 16-year-old Abby Normal (real name: Allison Green}, that Goth girl from the earlier two books, the self-proclaimed Emergency Backup Mistress of the Greater Bay Area Night and a tortured soul in constant denial about her deep-seated perkiness.
Her churning brain
In her own inimitably brash and, in its way, innocent style, Abby recounts the complicated doings in the earlier books and makes constant asides about whatever enters her ever-churning brain.
For instance, (in the first book [parenthetical since Abby doesn’t know there are two books and has never even heard of Christopher Moore]), Jody, a vampire, and Tommy, her often-doofus-lover, meet Abby and her gay friend Jared…
…in this Chinese diner, which is like the only thing open because the Chinese totally blow off Christmas because there are no dragons or firecrackers in the story.
Note to self: Write narrative poem exploring Christmas if the three wise men had given baby Jesus firecrackers, a dragon, and mu-shu pork instead of that other crap.
Abby and nuns — an idea
At another point, Abby relates that (in the second book) Tommy, by then a vampire, was nearly incinerated by the sun, noting, “I know. WTF.”
Then, she decides to air a pet peeve in a parenthetical paragraph:
(FYI, when I type WTF, you are supposed to read it What the Fuck? Same as OMG and OMFG, which are Oh My God and Oh my Fucking God. Only a completely lame Disney Channel nimnode pronounces the letters. Even BMLWA, or Bite My White Lily Ass should only be spoken as letters if you are hanging out with nuns or other people who are embarrassed about being told to bite asses.)
(Note to Christopher Moore: If there is a fourth novel in this insanity, you HAVE GOT TO find a way for Abby and one or more relatively hip and actually religiously deep-hearted nuns to have a lot to do together. [And no fair bringing in a Tibetan nun either, like you did in A Dirty Job.] )
There’re also several de rigueur attempts by Abby to deny her dark non-secret.
One comes, on page 4, when she’s mentioning a whore who, before getting involved in Moore’s story, had her skin tinted bright Smurf-like blue to attract a higher class of trade.
I’m not judging her by the color of her skin. Everyone copes.
When I got braces I went through a Hello Kitty phase that lasted well into my fifteens, and Jared maintains that I am still perky at heart, which is not true. I am simply complex.
This is all before page 19.
There’s a plot to Bite Me, but, really, is that why you read Christopher Moore? I’ll bet that, like me, you read his novels for the clever (and off-color and gross and totally politically incorrect and just a bit perverted) repartee between his characters. Or, as Abby’s journal shows, in the minds of individual characters. (Or, truth be told, in the mind of Moore).
In Bite Me, Abby doesn’t exactly meet her match, but, like a Greek chorus, San Francisco police Detective Nick Cavuto, a hulking gay man with an unfathomable lack of clothes sense, is forever commenting on the highly irritating 16-year-old as well as life in general (which, for him, is highly irritating).
For instance, he tells his partner, Detective Alphonse Rivera that Abby is “so obnoxious” that she’s like “a whole Saturday night drunk tank full of obnoxious packed into one little body.”
Later, when Abby’s hot-nerd boyfriend Foo Dog (aka Steve) is explaining in detail to the two cops how he “figured an algorithm” about the short lifespans of most vampires, Cavuto says:
“Sure, we’ll nod and act like we have some idea of what you’re talking about until you tell us what the hell you’re actually talking about.”
Later, when Foo is explaining some light-producing weapons to use against vampires, Jared (who is nerdy in his own way and also gets under Cavuto’s nerves) jumps up and down, yelling, “Light sabers!”
“That’s it,” said Cavuto. “You’re too much of a nerd to be gay. I’m contacting the committee. They’ll revoke your rainbow flag and you will not be permitted anywhere near the parade.”
“There’s a committee?”
Then, there is Katusumi Okata, a sad and aged Japanese artist, who knows no English and has been lonely for decades since the death of his young wife and is now dying himself bit by bit. He saves Jody from being completely incinerated by the sun, and, for various complex (and touching) reasons, she sends him out to buy clothes for her from a very specific list with items and stores.
One of the stores he must visit, this sensitive loner of a man, is Victoria’s Secret, and Moore writes:
“It smelled of gardenias. Young women moved back and forth, trailing bits of silk, not really talking, each entranced with her own decoration, in and out of fitting rooms, back to shelves, touching, feeling, stroking the lace, the satin, the combed cotton, then moving on to the next soft scene.
“He imagined that this must be what it was like in the control room for a vagina. He was an artist, and had never been in a control room, nor a vagina for nearly forty years, but he was sure he remembered it having a similar sensation.”
Abby couldn’t have said it better.
Patrick T. Reardon