So, the book I just finished is Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. This book was highly entertaining and I had a hard time putting it down.
The book is narrated by Biff, a near and dear friend of Joshua (Jesus). Biff is brought back from the dead and kept under lock down in a hotel by the angel Raziel. Biff is instructed to write a new gospel. This gospel would end up covering the missing years of Jesus’s life, you know, between birth and adulthood, the one’s not mentioned in the King James Bible (though some of Jesus’s childhood can be found in the gnostic gospel of Thomas).
Anyway, so the book starts off with Joshua and Biff around the age of 10. Joshua performs some minor miracles, like bringing frogs back from the dead. Joshua knows he is the son of god, but doesn’t know if he should be doing something in particular because he never received any signs from his father a.k.a god. So, being that he is 10, he and Biff are supposed to start learning some sort of trade to do for the rest of their lives. Biff’s father is a stone carver, so they decide to become his apprentices. During this time they also meet and befriend Maggie (Mary of Magdala). Both Biff and Joshua become smitten with her, though Joshua reveals that is not supposed to have any sort of physical relationship with a woman.
Joshua and Biff end up leaving right before Maggie is married off to the son of a Pharisse. Joshua has decided to seek out the three wise men that attended his birth in the hopes they can teach him about what it takes to be the messiah. The first one they find is an eastern magician and they are taught about potions and slight of hand. The next one they find is a Buddhist monk and he ends up meeting a yeti. The last wise man is a Hindu yogi and Jesus learns to fit himself into a jar. Jesus and Biff have some interesting times with each wise man. However, after seeing an image of Mary (Joshua’s mother), they decide it is time to return home.
When they return home, they begin accumulating disciples and Joshua begins to preach his message. Of course, this draws the attention of the Pharisees, and the book follows to where Joshua is crucified. Biff, distraught at the loss of his best friend, goes and hangs Judas and then commits suicide.
The book is entertaining for several reasons. First, Biff is a wonderful contrast to Joshua. Biff lives a life of debauchery and disobedience, while Joshua lives a clean and obedient life. Also, because we don’t really know anything about Jesus’s life between the time he is born and when he is about 30, this is an entertaining version of what happened. I especially liked the fact that Joshua learned from Buddhists and Hindus concepts such as patience and meditation.
Overall, a really fun read. Also, if you are of the Christian faith, I don’t think you should be too offended by anything in the book, then again, maybe you will be. Depends on whether or not you have a sense of human about the guy you consider your lord and savior.