Written by Morgue Anne
Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife by E.E. King is not for people who believe that their religion is ‘the one true faith’. It’s not for people who think that books about religion can’t be funny, and it’s certainly not for people who can’t laugh about something and still take it seriously. If you are one of the few remaining people in the world who has a funny bone remaining in your body, or if your favorite South Park episodes are the ones that tell you the history of Scientology or Mormons than I can’t recommend this book enough.
Dirk Quigby is an average guy. So average, in fact, that it’s almost boring. He has an office job, no girlfriend, no real religious affiliation. He just sort of…is. That is until he accepts an offer from the Devil to travel to all the different afterlives and write a travel guide (Think ‘Handbook for the Recently Deceased’ meets ‘Not for Tourists’). Given a “Press Pass” of sorts implanted into his retinas, Dirk is taken through each of the hundreds of thousands of afterlives – heavens, hells, purgatorys, and worlds that can only be described as “other” – and gives a 5-star rating system for things such as Perks, Food, Drink, Music, Accommodations, and Entry Requirements to each. This is about when his life starts to turn around – being magically sucked into hoses, beer bottles, and hair dryers, Dirk gains a little self confidence, an angel of a girlfriend, and a whole lot of all-expense paid vacations to exotic locals.
It’s clear that E.E. King did a fair bit of research for his novel, and it may trick you into learning a thing or two about other religions. I found it really interesting that Rastafari condemns the drinking of milk, coffee, alcohol, and soft drinks, and will reach no end of amusement telling that to the next crowd of teenagers of obvious Irish decent who proudly wear their red, yellow, and black hats on their heads and carry a starbucks cup in their hand. There’s a lot of other amusing and useful information, and unless you’re a serious scholar you are bound to learn something.
There are moments reading ‘Guide to the Afterlife’ when you wish it was just that – a humorous guide to various afterlives without this whole Dirk Quigby character. But then he grows on you, and you find yourself wondering what he’s going to do next, what will happen with his girlfriend and his boss (who really is the Devil) when he ends up in the next life after death. I still wish the guide entries were longer, but it didn’t take long for me to enjoy the story. By the end (which I won’t give away), everything fell together like a big karmic puzzle from God.
This is a great book for anyone who wants a crash-course in world religions but doesn’t want to be bored about it. E.E. King does a fantastic job making the reader laugh as well as learn, and gives us a guide I think everyone should read in order to help find out what afterlife is right for you.