BOOK REVIEW: THE DEVIL'S HAIRBALL by Peter Caffreyy
Review copy provided courtesy of the author.
If Dante's Inferno, The Wizard of Oz, and Monty Python's Life of Brian had a sacrilegious threesome it may look quite a bit like The Devil's Hairball. It's wonderfully absurd, a bit whimsical, and completely bizarre--but with a clear message to keep it focused. It's starts out pretty comical, Victor isn't the brightest man, but he wants to do the right thing and be a good guy (even if he isn't always very successful), but trusting those around him only brings him deeper into the corruption and deceit of the church.
The writing style reminded me a lot of the kinds of stories of epic quests and adventures I liked to read as kid which I really enjoyed personally (and how weird and dark were a lot of books aimed at younger audiences back in the day?) and when things started taking more and more disturbing turns, the more the style seemed to heighten just how fucked things become. At times I wasn't sure if I should be laughing or horrified, which may not work for some, but for me it felt very effective. The hypocrisy of organized religion is ruthlessly ripped to shreds, but I felt Caffrey kept his critique focused firmly on Christianity and those who hold power within the church rather than those who follow the faith. While I am not (and never have been) religious, I definitely appreciate that Caffrey knew who his true targets were and kept his sights on them all the while.
Oh boy. That ending. It will likely piss people off. It pissed ME off, but after taking a moment to stop and consider it, and the overall message of the book, it was really the only proper ending (as much as I wish it weren't). The Devil's Hairball is probably the most scathing send up of Christianity I've read in the past few years, and while it doesn't shy away from the perversity and cruelty it still let's you have a damn fun time before it crushes your soul.