10 February 2010

Book 3 of 2010

This was completed on February 10, during my prep period.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal   [LAMB] [Paperback]

3) Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
Lamb, like the title suggests, is the story of Jesus's life, the whole thing, as told by his best friend, Biff. Obviously, this is a fictional tale and those easily offended by the idea that Jesus may have laughed at fart jokes with his buddy as a young man would do well to tread no further.

That being said, this is a story of contrasts. Biff keeps Josh (Jesus is the Greek translation of the Hebrew equivalent to Joshua) grounded, and Moore portrays Jesus as something that's not necessarily seen that often: human. While Christianity proclaims him to be the son of God, and Joshua always manages to remind everyone else, Moore gives the reader a glimpse of what the dude's life would be like during the intervening years on Earth after his birth and before he became the guy who performs miracles and sacrifices himself for the greater good.

However, Joshua isn't the main character here; that role belongs to Biff. It's a first person tale that gives the Rosencrantz & Guildenstern treatment to the story of Jesus. Biff invented sarcasm, the theory of evolution and the pencil, and, to think, he was left out of the Bible. That's the purpose of his story: since Biff was edited out of the gospels (and since, according to him, a bunch of the facts are wrong and/or missing from the big book), he's called upon to tell the story as he sees it by a dim-witted angel. Biff (and, more importantly, Moore) brings a human touch and modern voice that's missing from the Greatest Story Ever Told and offers a humorous and world-spanning glimpse into the possible lost years of Jesus. Their adventures span the globe and other existing religions while both have far different experiences. To put it another way, Biff is the Han Solo to Josh's Luke Skywalker if the two grew up together.

Not being overly familiar with the original source material, Moore's epilogue at the end of the story was just as fascinating as he reveals the methods and origins of his research. This isn't a perfect book, as the ending seems rushed and anti-climactic especially considering how important THAT particular ending can be if you're at all familiar with that Jesus dude. It does serve to show just how different the two main characters are, though, but to elaborate any further would spoil things a bit. 

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