Friday, August 12, 2011

Book Review: Fool by Christopher Moore

Before I headed out to Bristol to visit my little sister on Monday, I stopped at the downtown library to pick out an audiobook for the trip. I figured I may as well get into the swing of listening to books rather than reading them, as I'll be spending quite a bit of time on the road this semester. Western is just over an hour away from where I live, so that's four hours a week right there, not to mention all the time I spend driving to and from work, the gym, and AB Tech. Audiobooks seemed like a good way to pass the time.

As I browsed the books on CD section at the library, I stumbled across several volumes by Christopher Moore. While I'd heard of Moore before (a lot of my friends really like his books), I'd never gotten around to reading any myself. I figured then was as good a time as any, and selected Fool, a take on King Lear written from the perspective of Pocket, Lear's favorite court jester. I tend to be something of a sucker for this sort of thing, and I was very well-rewarded.

There are many reasons to love Fool. First and foremost, it's absolutely hilarious. Since it's told from the perspective of a Fool, bawdy jokes, sarcasm, and black comedy abound; it reads quite a bit like the dirtier stories in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. Moore does an excellent job translating medieval humor for modern audiences, and the result is nothing short of hysterical. Beyond that, Fool provides an interesting and insightful take on the morality of both the play and the title character of King Lear, along with a certain amount of social commentary that some modern readers might find a tad disconcerting. For what could be advertised as a lighthearted romp, it's really quite heavy in places. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it immensely.

Also, the voice acting was awesome.

A few caveats, though: this, like much of Moore's work, Fool is not a book for those who are easily offended. If cursing, drinking, sex, violence, and unfavorable comparisons of Christianity to paganism because Christian holidays don't involve orgies would send you into a froth of pear-clutching self-righteousness, you should probably avoid this one. I also wouldn't recommend Fool to anyone who hasn't already read King Lear. While it would probably still be fairly amusing, the plot would likely be a little hard to follow.

All in all, I loved it. 5 out of 5 stars.

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