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Book 16: Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

January 25, 2010

Lamb is a book by Christopher Moore written in 2002.

I have read two other books by this author and enjoyed them immensely and I have been meaning to pick up Lamb for years.  Basically, the book covers Christ’s life, specifically spending a lot of time on what is not covered in the Gospels.  Levi, who’s nickname is Biff, is Christ’s best friend and the novel starts with Biff’s resurrection in the modern day so that he can sit down and write his own gospel. Biff spent more time with Christ than anybody else, so he should have his say.

About half of the book has Christ and Biif heading east into Asia to look for the three wise men, who happen to practice much of eastern medicine, thought, martial arts, and religion.  The other half is Jesus’ childhood and his time preaching with the apostles leading up to his crucifixion.

I’ll start with one thing about this book; it is very funny.  I laughed out loud more than a few times. I met Christopher Moore a few years ago at the LA Times book fair.  He was on a panel of authors discussing dark humor and he was hilarious then as well.

The book goes in and out of “reality”.  It uses a lot of Christian history from written texts and splices it with his own imagination.  Moore writes that he did a lot of research for the book and does not intend to offend anyone but is pretty sure he will.  He adds that this is a work of fiction, some might even call it historical fiction.

I love all the characters in this novel, Christ, Biff, the three wise men, and Mary Magdalane are all so easy to like.  The novel moves in and out of comedy and drama throughout and doesn’t lose a step with the violent ending.  It is a heartfelt book with Moore’s sense of dark humor.  It tackles the life of an important figure with seriousness all while hinting that he was probably killed because people take things too seriously.  It’s too bad modern christianity couldn’t be this genuine and aloof.

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