Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Paula's Take On Fool by Christopher Moore

Title: Fool by Christopher Moore
Publisher: William Morrow 2009
How I got it: Bought it used

Let’s start with a quick synopsis of Fool. The fool of King Lear’s kingdom is visited by a ghost and ultimately brings the downfall of everything. Sound familiar? It should. Moore strove to retell Shakespeare’s tragedy King Lear as a comedy from the fool’s point of view. This should be great right?

First off let me state that I am a huge fan of Christopher Moore. The first novel I read by him, A Dirty Job, had me laughing within a few pages and I don’t think I stopped laughing until the end. While I read Lamb, I made sure that no one was around if I was reading in public because I knew that within a few moments of opening the book I would be laughing out loud. I mean, this guy is funny, really funny. If any one could turn King Lear into a comedy, it’s him. When I heard this book came out I wanted it immediately, but I only just now got it. I had a year or so of anticipation before I read what I thought was going to be my next favorite Moore novel and I was excited!

So let me ask again, this should be great right? Wrong, sadly. As I got into it I was hoping to see some other side of the story like he provided in Lamb. The untold story of Lear’s tragedy, or something along those lines. However, the only thing “new and improved” about it was that the Fool was the master behind the tragedy the entire time, in order to get revenge on Lear for banishing his beloved Cordelia (and well a few more things as the story progresses but I wont spoil them). Unfortunately I felt it was just a shoddy retelling of the story with some extra shagging added in.

And now that I think about it, I am not sure I laughed once throughout the entire book. The whole story felt like a joke that fell flat in the first few chapters and then got dragged out continuously. Actually I can summarize the majority of the humor now: boob jokes.

Maybe if I reread King Lear, I will discover the subtle genius that Moore used to write this book that I did not see before. In fact, I hope that is what happens. I would recommend this book to hardcore Moore fans, hopefully you can find something I missed, if you do, let me know. If you have never read Moore before, don’t start here, I’m afraid you would also stop here.

The reason that this book is getting three stars instead of two: 1. Moore used a few author inside jokes from previous books that made me get the warm fuzzies as a fan of his.2. It was a quick read, which was nice because it allows me to move past it quickly.


  1. Paula--I'm glad I read your review. I've been wanting to try one of his novels but never knew where to start! This one always came up but thanks to review I'll be starting elsewhere!

  2. I had the same problems with this one, and I'm glad to see I'm not the only person disappointed with it. I thought with Shakespeare as a base story that Moore could have reached for more sophisticated humor, but as you said very little of it was actually funny. Here's hoping his next work will be more on key with what we know and love from him.

  3. Jamie - definitely start with A Dirty Job. I was laughing by Page 2

    Lisa- I just know that there was so much potential for this. Maybe this was just a rough draft...that accidentally got released and the real masterpiece is coming soon haha

  4. "Maybe this was just a rough draft...that accidentally got released and the real masterpiece is coming soon"

    Hahaha! Love it! I think that might be a good explanation for a lot of bad stuff I've read.

    Great blog you guys have going here - really enjoying the reviews!

  5. A Dirty Job was my first Moore book as well and I loved it. I haven't read anything else by him but my boyfriend has read Lamb and Fluke and really enjoyed both. Sorry to hear this one was no good, maybe I'll just wait until I've run out of Moore books for it.

  6. The only Moore book I've read was The Stupidest Angel. I liked it...but I don't think I was in the right mood for it.
    It doesn't sound like Fool will be making it to my TBR list but A Dirty Job might!

  7. I have this one on my TBR since I read King Lear earlier this year and saw a play on my campus (Lear's Daughters) that also tried to give an alternate view on the story. I was more interested in the Lear connection than the author, so I'm sorry to hear it's not that great of a retelling. I do want to get into Christopher Moore someday; maybe I'll start with the one you guys recommended.


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