by Moore, Christopher
While the Bible may be the word of God, transcribed by divinely inspired men, it does not provide a full (or even partial) account of the life of Jesus Christ. Lucky for us that Christopher Moore presents a funny, lighthearted satire of the life of Christ--from his childhood days up to his crucifixion--in Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. This clever novel is surely blasphemy to some, but to others it's a coming-of-age story of the highest order.
Joshua (a.k.a. Jesus) knows he is unique and quite alone in his calling, but what exactly does his Father want of him? Taking liberties with ancient history, Moore works up an adventure tale as Biff and Joshua seek out the three wise men so that Joshua can better understand what he is supposed to do as Messiah. Biff, a capable sinner, tags along and gives Joshua ample opportunities to know the failings and weaknesses of being truly human. With a wit similar to Douglas Adams, Moore pulls no punches: a young Biff has the hots for Joshua's mom, Mary, which doesn't amuse Josh much: "Don't let anyone ever tell you that the Prince of Peace never struck anyone." And the origin of the Easter Bunny is explained as a drunken Jesus gushes his affection for bunnies, declaring, "Henceforth and from now on, I decree that whenever something bad happens to me, there shall be bunnies around."
One small problem with the narrative is that Biff and Joshua often do not have distinct voices. A larger difficulty is that as the tone becomes more somber with Joshua's life drawing to its inevitable close, the one-liners, though not as numerous, seem forced. True to form, Lamb keeps the story of Joshua light, even after its darkest moments. --Michael Ferch
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