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Thursday, 7 March 2013

Review: Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ`s Childhood Pal

Title: Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ`s Childhood Pal
Author: Christopher Moore
Format: just about all of them as far as I can tell

Summary: Levi, or Biff as he is known was Joshua's (Jesus is the Greek version of his name) best friend from when they were six years old. He is there for all the skinned knees, mistakes and learning how to be the Messiah by travelling to find the three wise men, and in the year 2000 he is brought back to write a new gospel for the modern world.

So I supposed I should tell you what I think of this book. Well that's easy: it is brilliant.

It's even better when you know your gospels. I have evidence of this because both my husband, Rob and I have read it. Now my father is a retired Vicar, so I know a significant amount about the content of the gospels, my husband on the other hand is a bit of a heathen and knows some because I've been dragging him to church for the last sixteen years, but he was not brought up with it so it's not ingrained, as it were.

Now Rob thinks this is a brilliant book too, but there are some bits he just didn't get. For example he doesn't really know his parables, but anyone who has gone to Sunday school knows the one about the wise man building his house upon the rock. There is a point in the book where this is used and it had me falling off my bike (I read while on the exercise bike in the mornings) laughing, but Rob only found it amusing for the actual situation rather than the context.

This is what is so great about this book. It's hilarious if you know nothing about the Bible and it is even more hilarious if you do.

Christopher Moore weaves a story of two young boys, one of whom happens to be the son of God, who grow into two young men and it is engaging, funny and heart wrenching all at the same time. Everyone knows how the story is going to end, but boy does it rip your heart out.

Biff is so brilliantly human and he firmly believes Josh is the son of God, but he still tries to keep him out of trouble. Josh is naive and enlightened and loves everyone. Biff loves Josh and Maggie (the Magdalene) and never figures out enlightenment or healing or walking on water, but he's there to break Josh out of a wine jar and shave a yak. He's the foolish mortal stuck in a hotel room with an angel obsessed with soap operas trying to tell the world about his friend Josh and he is wonderful.

Yes this book pokes fun at Jewish and Christian religion, but it is done with such skill that it is brilliant. I love this book and can't recommend it more. Just in case you're wondering, it's going to my father next (yep, the retired Vicar) so he can have a read and a laugh.

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