I finished Fool by Christopher Moore and I must say I enjoyed it very much. It certainly isn’t a mentally challenging book but not all books need to be, right? What I enjoyed most was the sheer audacity of it all. Moore keeps the basic plot of Lear but turns the behind the scenes machinations upside down. And the book has a happy ending. Well, a happy ending if you are Pocket the Fool, Cordelia, or Kent.
Bawdy and rude and cussing galore. If the F-word is upsetting for you, don’t read this book. There is lots of “bonking” and descriptions of bonking and discussions about bonking and wishes for a good bonk. So if you are offended by bonking, don’t read this book.
I’ve always thought Goneril’s name rather unfortunate, and apparently I am not the only one:
Ah, Goneril, Goneril, Goneril–like a distant love chant is her name. Not that it doesn’t summon memories of burning urination and putrid discharge, but what romance worth the memory is devoid of the bittersweet.
If I say that made me giggle you may accuse me of having a somewhat adolescent sense of humor at times.
The book is loaded with Shakespeare references and not just to Lear. The witches from Macbeth jump plays and have a major influence and several appearances. There is also a ghost, but as the refrain runs through the book, “there’s always a bloody ghost.” This is a girl ghost and she shows up at inopportune times to recite rhyming prophetic clues to Pocket who begs her to please just speak in prose for once. But that wouldn’t be proper ghosting. This ghost also manages to become corporeal enough that she gets in some bonking of her own.
There are some funny mad Lear scenes and Gloucester gets some great mad scenes too after he gets his eyes popped out. Like the scene where Pocket is leading the blinded Gloucester away from the castle and stops at the guard house to see if the captain, who is a friend, has any food they could take to eat while they are on their way to meet up with Lear. Gloucester is wailing and Pocket has just yelled at him to shut up. Captain Curan says:
Bit harsh, innit?” said Curan.
“What, I said ‘please’.”
“Sorry, Gloucester, old chap. Most excellent hat.”
“He’s not wearing a hat,” said Curan.
“Well, he’s blind, isn’t he? If you hadn’t said anything he might have enjoyed his bloody hat, mightn’t he?”
The earl started wailing again. “My sons are villains and I have no hat.”
Fool is a fun book and I highly recommend it if you want a good laugh. If you are offended easily, however, you probably will want to read something else.