While it could be fun to partake in neck sucking on Valentine’s Day, it might be even more enjoyable to read about two undead teens draining the blood out of San Francisco. Christopher Moore’s latest novel, “You Suck: A Love Story” ($21.95), is here just in time for the Hallmark season.
Tommy, a well-mannered yet horny aspiring writer from Indiana, moves to the city to pursue a big career but ends up stocking shelves at the Safeway supermarket. Adding to his misfortune, Tommy meets and falls in love with Jody, a redheaded vixen who has been turned into a vampire by the centuries-old Elijah. Jody tries to learn more from the old vampire, but not before Tommy gets jealous and has her and Elijah bronzed. Jody manages to escape and, angry at her boyfriend and hungry for a snack, she drinks Tommy’s blood and makes him one of her kind.
Undead life is easy for Tommy and Jody at first. They debunk vampire myths (garlic is OK) and are selective about their victims, only feasting upon the blood of the weak and the sick. But trouble begins for the pair when Tommy’s co-workers, better known as The Animals, seek to destroy him. Led by a blue-colored Las Vegas hooker, The Animals try ferociously to take Tommy and Jody down.
Moore, remembered for his previous titles, “Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal” and “A Dirty Job,” is known for his plain, often vulgar language. He continues this style in “You Suck” during an argument between the two vampire lovers.
“You had sex with me while I was unconscious,” Jody said.
Tommy said, “I was just being friendly, like when you put a quarter in someone else’s parking meter when they aren’t there — you know they appreciate it later, even if they don’t thank you personally.”
Abby Normal, an awkward young girl with a nonconformist attitude, has a tendency to wear loud outfits and way too much mascara. After she meets Jody and Tommy at Walgreens, the story breaks off with a second viewpoint, as Abby interrupts with her diary entries.
Her entries help the story progress, while also revealing her character. The entries usually include her thoughts on her best friend Lily’s jealousy and her sister Ronnie’s head lice. Moore exaggerates teenage angst through Abby’s writing, comfortably placing her character in the emo crowd: “So, like first thing, I made some toast, and it burned, as black as my soul, and I was so bummed that my tears of despair fell like cold bits of crystal, to be destroyed on the unforgiving rocks of this miserable life.”
Tommy and Jody continue running from their pursuers, gaining a few friends along the way, including Abby and a homeless man named William with a 35-pound cat named Chet. Oh, and who could forget Elijah, still itching to be freed from his bronze prison?
With chapter titles like “Nobody Likes a Dead Whore” and “Get Over it, a Lot of People Are Dead,” Moore’s novel is a catchy and effective piece of popular literature. Not every reader will appreciate his style of writing, but the book is an easy read and the jokes are pleasing to those who are a bit perverse. At times the plotline seems forced and cliché (though a vampire story set in a San Francisco apartment is fairly unorthodox in itself). Funny and engaging, it’s a novel that really gets the blood flowing.
“You Suck: A Love Story” received 2 1/2 out of 4 stars.