While I was working at the election center for the 2022 mid-term elections, I had a lot of downtime during early voting, so I read 4 full and 3 half books in 2 weeks (plus did a bunch of puzzles, colored by number, journaled etc.).
For the month of December, I’m going to revive my “Book of the Week” posts, in case you are looking for some holiday/vacation reading, or maybe some gifts for loved ones.
This week the book is Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore where a bunch of artists go crazy for the color blue.
Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore
It is the color of the Virgin Mary’s cloak, a dazzling pigment desired by artists, an exquisite hue infused with danger, adventure, and perhaps even the supernatural. It is… SacrÉ Bleu.
In July 1890, Vincent van Gogh went into a cornfield and shot himself. Or did he? Why would an artist at the height of his creative powers attempt to take his life… and then walk a mile to a doctor’s house for help? Who was the crooked little “color man” Vincent had claimed was stalking him across France? And why had the painter recently become deathly afraid of a certain shade of blue?
These are just a few of the questions confronting Vincent’s friends – baker-turned-painter Lucien Lessard and bon vivant Henri Toulouse-Lautrec – who vow to discover the truth of van Gogh’s untimely death. Their quest will lead them on a surreal odyssey and brothel-crawl deep into the art world of late 19th century Paris.
Oh la la, quelle surprise, and zut alors! A delectable confection of intrigue, passion, and art history – with cancan girls, baguettes, and fine French cognac thrown in for good measure – Sacre Bleu is another masterpiece of wit and wonder from the one, the only, Christopher Moore.
I read it because I liked the cover
Honestly, several people have recommended me to this author when a friend presented me with a stack of his books, I picked this one because of:
- The cover
- The fact that it was a 1-off rather than a series
- I’ve been on a bit of a Van Gogh kick since I saw the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit in Denver.
It has been a few weeks since I reviewed this book on Good Reads, and I find that I’m still thinking about it…and have recommended it to at least 3 people. So, despite my initial hesitations and potential dislike of the book, it left an impact. I also feel like I want to go back and reread it knowing the end to see what other kinds of clever language and historical commentary Moore put in.
So, take my review with a grain of salt and if you like weird stuff, art history, art in general, or poop/penis jokes, this book is for you. 😛
OK so this book started out weird and if I hadn’t been trapped somewhere with nothing to do but read, there’s a chance I would have put it down before page 50 because it was just too confusing and too slow of a start. The first thing that turned me off was how unlikable the supposedly main characters were. Henri was a substance abusing, womanizing lech and Lucian was pathetic and spineless. The other thing was that it jumped around in time too quickly. And followed too many perspectives. And lastly his portrayal of the one woman character with any major speaking role was so cliché and gag-worthy that I was embarrassed for him. (Honestly, the way all the men reacted to women was icky as well…but probably accurate to the times so I’m not going to comment on that).
However once I got used to the time jumping chapters, I didn’t find it quite as annoying though it definitely wasn’t my favorite mechanic ever. and both Henri and Lucian proved their intelligence and even became likable…loveable even. This, as well as a low-key sense of curiosity on what the hell was going on, kept me engaged. I managed to finish the book, And I’m glad I did.
The story kept me guessing until the end and while I’m not 100% satisfied with everything that happened, I could not have predicted it, which is always fun. Also, talk about quotable lines! Part of me wants to read it again just to record all the hilarious quotes from the various characters. As a writer myself, I appreciate that. The comedy was dryer than I expected but I enjoyed the underlying wit. I would, however, have appreciated a few less poop and dick jokes, but I know some people are probably really into that.
Lastly, I did really enjoy the references to history. I always like imagining historical figures as people with personalities and lives, so this was great for that. Also, his essay at the end on what was accurately based was great. Soo, would I recommend this book? Probably, with a disclaimer that it’s weird and bawdy and probably not like much you’ve read before. But perhaps that’s a good thing…