I’ll be honest, I stopped going to Sunday School in 10th Grade, and I stopped paying serious attention around 4th Grade. Now, before you call me an atheist or something, just be aware that Sunday School generally takes place on SUNDAYS. As an avid NFL Enthusiast, my mind was always on the afternoon slate of games, rather then on how to become a better person through Catholicism. For me, I made the right choice.
I digress. Anyway, this book is written from the account of Biff, Christ’s childhood pal. He is resurrected to the present day to fill in the missing parts of the Bible. First off, you won’t find “Jesus” mentioned a whole lot, because Biff quickly points out that Jesus is the Greek version of his name, Joshua. So the book takes us on the collective journey of Joshua and Levi, who is called Biff, and does so hilariously but also with great care.
It’s obvious Moore did a great deal of research in order to write this book, as his knowledge of the Bible’s history is a fantastic toolbox from which to draw his hilarious parallels. We get the stories of the invention of Judo (or, in the book, Jew-Do), as well as more familiar stories like Joshua walking on water and turning water into wine. But Moore is smart to put an original and funny spin on the events. In the Afterword, Moore really describes the process, and in itself is incredibly interesting to have the writer himself describe the process of writing such a book including the research and work that actually goes into it.
The ironic thing about this book is that one of the main strengths is also one of its major weaknesses. The dialogue within the book is clever and smart, but it’s also very long-winded at times. Not to imply that the dialogue doesn’t have direction or anything, but certain parts are just very talky.
Biff is a fantastic character, and one who is smart and witty without seeming to try too hard. He plays a great right hand man to the young Christ, who himself is incredibly entertaining. Their friendship seems so true and genuine that the last chapter in itself was very emotional, even if you already know the ending (which, if you’re reading this book, you’re probably familiar with the story of Jesus/Joshua). Biff beds women so he can explain to Joshua what it’s like, since he can’t do it. Had the book been from Joshua’s perspective, I doubt it would have worked. We, as the reader, see Joshua as Biff sees him, as his best friend, and he’s loyal til the end. Their journey from childhood through the crucifixion is entertaining and fresh, and Moore puts such an interesting spin on everything that it’s hard not to smile the entire time you’re reading.
A keen knowledge of all things Bible related is not a necessity to read and enjoy this book, as my knowledge on the subject is limited at best. But, I assume that knowing even the little bit that I do know, being familiar with certain aspects probably heightened my enjoyment because it was so interesting to see them from a blatantly fictional perspective.
“Lamb” is an overall very enjoyable read, and I must say that its fantastically well-written. Christopher Moore has crafted a story that could have been a farce or parody, and instead of going a cheap route, actually produces a knowledgeable perspective in a fictional book. That’s a rare feat, I believe. To write a fictional book based around a faith that some people believe in was a risky move, but Moore makes it wholly worthwhile.
- Witty writing
- Very wordy
- Somewhat pretentious
Score: 8.0/10 (Very Good)