Not since reading Christopher Moore’s book Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal have I laughed out loud in public as much as I have in the last few days. And twice since, when I saw another reading commuter shake with laughter and checked what they were reading, it was that very book. I’m sure some might think that Moore’s humour borders on sacrilege, but my God would enjoy it; He knows how to laugh.
Another favourite author in the LOL genre is Janet Evanovich, whom I ran across again last year when I thoroughly enjoyed her Fox and O’Hare series. [Note to self: check to see if the next book in the series has published.] I’d first read some of her Stephanie Plum series many moons ago while living in Alaska and had vague recollections of the character and her hapless career as a bounty hunter. She lurked somewhere in the dark recess of my reading brain, just one snippet of a collage of mad characters from madder pens. She might well have been knocked off her perch by Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone or Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak. I was a lot more serious then.
Now, though, now that I’ve stopped fighting the fact that the sky in my particular world is a delicious shade of orange with blobs of turquoise, Stephanie and me, we’re mates. I’ve even given up my pedantic need to read a series in the order in which it was written and published. When I’m catching up with old friends, I jump all over the place – my life retold is rarely chronological. So why should I impose such rigidity on my fictional friends?
I’ve just binged on three books in the 24-book series – Smokin’ Seventeen, Explosive Eighteen, and Notorious Nineteen. And while I was a little put out (no, face it, Mary, you were mad jealous) that she’s been hooking up with Ranger all the while she’s been seeing Morelli, I was back to laughing out loud. One particular spasm was so bad it drew the attention of security in Munich airport.
Evanovich, in her bio, tells us that the realities of daily existence were lost in the shadows of [her] looney imagination. Yet barmy as they all are, her characters as real. Something weird happens as I read. It’s as if I’m in the book, watching their antics, listening to their banter, feeling their pain. I want to eat fried chicken at Stephanie’s mam’s house and go view a corpse with her gun-totin’ Grandma Mazur.
“When I was young. You got a boyfriend, and you married him. You had some kids, you got older, one of you died, and that was it.” “Jeez. No true love?” “There’s always been true love, but in my day, you either talked yourself into thinking you had it, or you talked yourself into thinking you didn’t need it.” (from Explosive Eighteen: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich)
I want to hang around with her and her sometimes partner Lula, an ex-ho with a penchant for spandex, just to see what the day might bring.
Lula can go all day in five-inch spikes. I think she must have no nerve endings in her feet. “How do you walk in those shoes for hours on end?” I asked her. “I can do it on account of I’m a balanced body type,” she said, hustling across the lot to my Escort. “I got perfect weight distribution between my boobs and my booty.” (from Smokin’ Seventeen: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich)
The various characters she gets involved with are all credible. No matter how off the wall they might seem, I’ve no trouble at all thinking them real. Perhaps that says more about my orange-sky thinking that I care to share.
Day-dreaming about who’d play whom in the movie, I didn’t get past Estelle Getty (of the Golden Girls) for Grandma Mazur. And I’m not the only one who could cast her for the part. Although the books keep on selling – and keep on coming – the movie based on Book 1, One for the Money, starring Katherine Heigl as Stephanie didn’t make the splash it should have. The only one who didn’t quite match what I’d imagined was Vinnie…. but I can live with that. And Morelli and Ranger have a little growing up to do as they’ve aged in my head. I’d like HBO or BBC or some TV series giant to pick them up and run with them. They’re solid gold, LOL funny, and so cleverly written that I’ve lost count of my ‘wish I’d said thats’.
If you’re in need of a laugh, treat yourself.