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Up Jumps the Devil

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,084 ratings  ·  177 reviews
“The sustained comedy in this hilarious novel is equaled only by its heart, and the myriad ways there are for it to break. I love this book. Michael Poore writes like an angel.”
—Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish

John Scratch, the Devil himself, is the protagonist in this stunningly imaginative, sharp, funny, and tender novel, as he tricks, teases, and prods America to grea
Paperback, 368 pages
Published July 3rd 2012 by Ecco/HarperCollins
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3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,084 ratings  ·  177 reviews

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Sh3lly (
$0.99 on US Amazon: October 30, 2017

by the author who wrote Reincarnation Blues.
Feb 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
(Disclaimer! my wife acquired and edited this book.)

I've always thought that one of the highest kinds of praise you can give a novel is to call it original. Up Jumps the Devil is completely that, not to mention madcap, imaginative, and hilarious. And its heart is so obvious on every page that by the end you want nothing more than to clap Mike Poore on the back and sit down with him over beers.

The narrative’s non-linear: The Devil (a.k.a. John Scratch) has adopted America as his "pet nation" bill
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Jack by: Mike Poore
If Richard Brautigan and Hunter Thompson were to have had a love-child (and I shudder at the thought) then Michael Poore would have been the result. Mike writes with a toss-away ease, tongue firmly embedded in cheek and wit honed to rapier sharpness.

I have to confess several things in writing this review. The first is that Mike is a part of the increasingly famous Highland Writers Group in NW Indiana. He has written stories with another member of the group, Ted Kosmatka, who has a new science-fi
Aug 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: awesome
This is another great debut novel. I read three in a row that were 4 star novels- and I had a rough week, so I’m glad that the books did not let me down. I encourage you to not only follow Michael on Twitter, but if you get a chance and he’s at a nearby book store, go buy the book and go to his events. He is quirky, extremely down-to-earth, and gracious to all. Again- BUY THE BOOK.

The book is about John Scratch, aka The Devil. The book goes back and forth in time, through the ages. You get an in
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was recommended by Christopher Moore at a book signing, and I was glad when it finally came out (Christopher Moore had an advance copy). I can certainly see why he recommended it -- lots of the book is very much what Christopher Moore might have conceived of if he had ever written a book about the devil. There are also parts of it that reminded me of a Carl Hiaasen book, especially the parts about the "ick" factor of fame.

Throughout the book, though, there is also a strong emotional cu
Jun 14, 2012 rated it liked it
This debut novel follows the format of Devil as protagonist seen in Glen Duncan’s I, Lucifer: Finally, the Other Side of the Story and Steven Brust’s To Reign in Hell: A Novel. Here, the backdrop of the Devil’s playground is America - running from the first settlers to land all the way to a more reality TV-ridden near future. Though some of the side trips fall more into the realm of world history, Poore returns his Devil time and again back to the U.S. of A. It is these asides, dreams and jaunts ...more
The Devil went down to Georgia…and Rome and Egypt and California. The Devil’s been all over the world and he’s still ambivalent about the two-legged creatures called Man that are roaming it. Taking the side of a Devil who doesn’t hate people or wishes to defy God (much), Mr. Poore has crafted one of the most sympathetic, warm and interesting takes on Old Scratch that I’ve ever read. His Devil is funny, mischievous, childish, menacing and playful—and not always as smart as he should be.

Mr. Poore
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is basically the biography of the devil. This is one of the smartest, funniest, all-around best books I've ever read. An absolute joy. I hope this is just the first of many.
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
John Scratch is the devil himself.  Really... he's the Devil .  Lucifer (as he was formerly known as) didn't see eye to eye with God and so he stayed on Earth to watch over mankind.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions and really that describes the Devil himself in this novel.  He believes he's basically good, the same as humans: filled with good intentions though they don't always pan out.

In Up Jumps the Devil we learn the story of the Devil from his disagreements with God an
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Me, "Can you bring my book with you when you come up?"

Husband, "Sure, what's it called?"

Me, "Up Jumps the Devil"

Husband, "What's it look like?"

Me, "It has a picture of the devil roasting marshmallows in the street on the cover."

Husband, after a pause, "You've changed a lot since I first met you."

This book is certainly not for everyone but it is for me. If you enjoy reading stories with dark humor and slightly (or completely) fucked up characters you should pick this one up! Michael Poore ranks
Ted Myers
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Poore is my kind of writer. In the tradition of the great Kurt Vonnegut, he uses fantasy, the supernatural, and wry, biting humor to skewer the many faults and foibles of humankind. In Up Jumps the Devil, we follow the adventures and travails of a very human Devil through the centuries, randomly jumping around in time. Moore’s imagination and inventiveness are truly impressive. All the book’s characters have dimension and depth. For a debut novel, this one is a real winner. I’m extremely ...more
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
At the very beginning, I thought it was funny in a sarcastic way and expected it to be enjoyable. Perhaps if you’re depressed and want to think of all the ways humanity can be a horror as a prelude to just giving up - this’d be right up your alley. Not what I was looking for. Tad slow moving. For the sarcastic pessimist looking to dig themselves deeper, might be just the thing.
Terri Weitze
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a fun read. Following the devil from heaven to his life on earth - jumping back and forth between momentous times in human history and present day; as he tries to shape humans into something "more". The devil in this story waivers between what you expect and what is not expected. Not a religious story and very much character driven, which I love.
Stewart Hoffman
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting read. Clever, funny, and occasionally moving. This is a book best read quickly as it jumps around a lot. Dates, locations, etc. You could easily get lost if you let it sit too long.
Richard Gazala
Jul 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Michael Poore is a skillful writer, and his new novel, "Up Jumps the Devil," is a good book. There's not much of a plot to this droll narrative that's mainly about John Scratch (a/k/a the Devil) and a musical trio with whom he forges a Faustian bargain just before the 1969 Woodstock music festival. At times, the book reads more like a diary or journal, skipping back and forth in time as Scratch confronts the nature of love gained and lost and perhaps gained again between himself and the inconsta ...more
A. Nixon
Feb 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to A. by: Chris
This was a surprisingly good book. It started off a little shaky for me (cows, really?) but I was soon engrossed in the great writing and interesting, if macabre twist on everything. I love the different moments in history that the Devil had his hand in and how at the end of it all, he's not really evil. Just a little selfish, maybe.

I was given this book because it's "comparable to Christopher Moore" and while I can see why they made that comparison, it's really not true at all. Moore's books ha
Victoria Hamel
May 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
You know how you hear people say, "I loved XYZ book, I couldn't put it down!" I do the same thing myself. If I like a book, I'll blaze through it pretty doggone fast.

But if I love a book, it takes me ages to finish. I put it down, I walk away for a few weeks, I resist the siren calls. Super counter intuitive, right?

Here's the thing, when I love a book, I don't want it to end, I don't want to say goodbye to the characters. I miss them, life get drab. Coming from me, there is no higher praise I
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
this book was so good i almost put it down so i wouldn't finish it. very witty stuff. this author can say in one line what most authors can't say in paragraphs. the Devil has run-ins with george washington, ben franklin (who outsmarts him), Nat Turner, rock stars who sell their souls for fame, money and the chance to change the world. how can you not love a book with chapter headings like "people don't have to take your shit if you don't have any money" and "favorite foods and good and evil"? de ...more
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
While off beat, dark humoured stories are normally right up my alley, I couldn't connect with this one. I just found this to be overly precocious, like a really smart child who becomes juuuust a bit too annoying, you know? What starts out as fun and enjoyable becomes a bit wearisome and vaguely irritating.

I suspect I may come back to this and give it another go, but right now I don't feel inclined to stick with it.
Oct 07, 2012 rated it liked it
This book reminded me of Heinlein's 'On a Pale Horse'--devil as sympathetic character--I was kind of intrigued by the idea of the devil as the necesary rebel--the counterpoint--to creation--kind of like testosterone--a motivator for all action--I am never really a fan of stories that portray God as distant and kind of stupid--still, I found this book to be interesting and to have some challenging thoughts--
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
There is SO VERY MUCH going on in this book, and the balance of rebellious mischief and raw, aching, hopeful love for people-animals is impressive. Poor, billion-year-old Devil! Friends: go read this. I REALLY want to discuss this with you all someday.

Also, cover art: easily my favorite this year.
Aaron Rosenberg
Nov 28, 2012 rated it liked it
This wasn't bad. Sadly, it wasn't great, either--the "surprise" ending was telegraphed more than halfway through the book, and although I did chuckle occasionally it wasn't laugh-out-loud funny. And in a lot of places it was just droll for droll's sake.
Alejandro Jovandro
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Whoa! I've finally made it through this awesome novel! The only thing I'm sorry about is that I've been to lazy to read it (I've been reading it for Idunno, a month or so). This book definitely deserves to be read in one sitting, it really is that good. Big recommendation from my part.
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this very much, I cant wait for more by this author.
Wade Grassman
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Up Jumps the Devil is a highly entertaining book. The hero, for lack of a better word, is Jack Scratch – the Devil incarnate. The story covers his fall, and takes us to the modern day (more or less). The tale is not told in a linear fashion, history is brought up in episodes, normally in a humorous manner. For those of a philosophical/theological bent it raises some interesting questions and offers an interesting slant. For those not so inclined it presents a highly entertaining romp. While the ...more
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this one! Fun concept that seems shallow on the surface but actually has a lot of depth and interesting questions to consider. For example, what if the Devil wasn't actually about doing 'evil' but was more interested in doing whatever it took to help humankind succeed and thrive, even if those things were sometimes questionably (a)moral? Do you have to be mortal and fear your own death in order to be fearless and take bold risks? Does getting everything you want actually make you ...more
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've just recently realized that my favorite type of books are spiritual-philosophical-humorous-thought provoking-fantasy stories about love that lasts forever -- and even longer. The kind of books that Michael Poore writes. I think his second book "Reincarnation Blues" was just a hair better because of its magnificent ending. But this book about the devil's efforts to make earth into a place that his long-lost love, the angel Arden, can stand to leave heaven for was nearly perfect. Fully-drawn ...more
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Eh. Less Christopher Moore And more Cryptonomicon

This book was engaging but lost Itself some where along the way. It started as silly and engaging as Moore. Sadly it seemed more Cryptonomicon. A bunch of different timelines that didn’t seem to connect until the end. Yet the END was lackluster and sort of boring. I finished it waiting for a great big finish. While a little entertaining in the beginning; It became a chore to finish.

I actually pained reading this novel in hope that something would
Andy Coleman
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I love these, "You've got the Devil all wrong" stories, and this one has a great mythology behind it and is a lot of fun to read.

The story starts in the present (2005ish) with Mr. Scratch (the Devil) participating in an awful reality show, one that could easily be debuting next TV season. As the story progresses, we discover how the Devil became who he is through a series of flashbacks and dreams. Eventually it all catches up to the present as we see the "big picture".

I e
Carly Palacios
Jun 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
I wavered between 3 and 4 stars for this one. I LOVED Reincarnation Blues, which is why I picked up this, his earlier novel. This one has some rough spots, and in typical Poore fashion, requires you to abandon reality and suspend your disbelief in order to fully experience the novel. I liked the book but it did feel like it was limping along at times. I really loved the idea that THE DEVIL- big caps, all scary man, right-- is really just a regular immortal dude (with some powers, yes) but far le ...more
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Michael Poore’s short fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, Southern Review, Agni, Fiction, and Asimov’s. His story “The Street of the House of the Sun” was selected for The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012 . His first novel, Up Jumps the Devil , was hailed by The New York Review of Books as “an elegiac masterpiece.” Poore lives in Highland, Indiana, with his wife, poet and activist Janin ...more
“Shrug. “Everyone knows the Devil’s an American.” 4 likes
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