Christopher Moore’s most recent novel is about blue. Vincent van Gogh went mad before shooting himself in a cornfield, or did he? In the time before he died, he was raving about a twisted little colorman, and had become terribly afraid of a certain shade of blue. But he was at the height of his painting career, so why would he walk into a cornfield to shoot himself, and then stumble over a mile away to a doctor’s house? His friends are on a mission to figure it out. Lucien Lessard, a baker who desperately wants to be a successful painter, and his friend and fellow painter Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, try to discover the mystery surrounding the tale of the twisted little Colorman and that beautiful, rare blue.
First let me say that Sacre Bleu is a beautiful book. The hardcover is gorgeous, with nice thick pages and a dark blue font. There are a ton of full-color pictures of famous paintings scattered throughout. Also, there is an online chapter guide that features even more paintings, as well as notes from Christopher Moore about different paintings, inspirations, etc. I really hope that the online chapter guide comes out as a companion book, because I would absolutely buy it.
The story itself of Sacre Bleu is so different from what I’m used to seeing from Christopher Moore. There was a bit of mystery too it, but it was a lot about the art too. I learned more about art / paintings / Impressionists than I really ever thought that I would. I was definitely intrigued by the little Colorman and his weird blue sidekick. I liked Lucien, but my favorite character was Henri - he was weird and ridiculous, but also had a sweet side to him. (Plus, he is mentioned in Outlander when Claire meets a man with Toulouse-Lautrec syndrome, though she can’t call it that because Henri Toulouse-Lautrec hadn’t been born yet.) There was kind of a big cast, but Henri really stole the show.
So, I can’t go too much into the details of the book because I don’t want to be spoiler-y. I can say that this isn’t my favorite Christopher Moore novel. It seemed more… serious. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of bawdy humor in it, but for the most part that’s what it was – bawdy sexual humor with a little bit of genuinely weird humor sprinkled in. None of it ever actually made me laugh out loud, which is rare for a Moore novel. However, part of this is just because of the subject matter – a lot of the characters and events are based on real people and things that really happened, so it doesn’t have that element of total Moore wackyness that I’m so used to.
Even though Sacre Bleu wasn’t my favorite and wasn’t the usual hilarious read that I like, I feel like this will stick with me in a way that some of his other novels haven’t. For example, I remember reading Fluke and really liking it, but I don’t remember a lot of the details. I feel like I savored this book so much more as I read, due to the topic and because of all of the pictures and the online guide. It really came to life for me, which makes it a worthy read.
Sarah Says: 3.5 stars… (4 stars if the chapter guide comes out in book form, or as an addition to the paperback copy)