Well, the title to this one just about says it all. Christopher Moore is known for his humorous, satirical and off-kilter writing – Lamb, is certainly no exception. It seems that the Bible forgot to mention Christ’s best friend – well, Moore provides us with his story, as only a very funny person can.
The story begins with an angel that can only be described as a bit incompetent. This angel receives instructions to resurrect Biff so that a new Gospel can be written. Our angel is not happy with his assignment, referring to Biff in less than flattering profanity.
Who is this Biff – certainly not someone mentioned in the Gospels as we know them? Biff is Jesus’ best friend from childhood (Jesus is referred to as Josh rather than the Greek version of the name we know so well). How could Josh go through life without ever lying, steeling, sinning, etc – well, his best friend did all these things for him.
Biff relates all the humorous, blasphemous and even mundane events of Josh’s growing up and seeking to achieve his destiny. We are finally told about what he did during those teenage and young adult years (remember most of the Gospels start with Jesus at the ripe old age of 30). The pair sets off for the Far East to track down the three wise men, in this time they receive teaching from many ancient philosophies (such as Buddhism and Taoism) and learn such things as kung fu, jew-do, yoga, alchemy, sarcasm, and how to keep camels regular.
Clearly this is a subject that many consider sacred and controversial; and Moore negotiates a very fine line quite well. The story is humorous, remarkably true to the Gospels, and not offensive (at least in my opinion). In fact, I’d even go as far to say that through all the crass and even silly aspects, the end result is an insightful construction of the possible origins of Jesus’ teachings. One my greatest surprises is that Moore clearly did his homework while writing this one – it’s not just a collection humorous anecdotes and fart jokes.
Moore is not the greatest writer out there, but neither is he a bad writer, and he is certainly a writer that I find quite humorous. He has no fear to tackle controversial and potentially offensive subjects, yet does so with a light heart and an ironic mirror. On my 10-point rating scale (describe here), Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal rates a solid 7. This is the first book written by Moore that I’ve read, but it won’t be the last.
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