Thursday, March 10, 2011
This is my first book review on here, so take it with a grain of salt and the understanding that I haven't written a book review since 8th grade when I read all of the possible options for a book review assignment and my teacher gave me an A, probably without even reading my paper.
Recently the TallMan suggested I read Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff Christ's Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore. I should tell you that I was raised Christian but mostly practice a spiritual version of Judaism, which is mostly celebrating major holidays, shabbat and thinking the new testament is a load of hooey. Also, I majored in religion in college and my decision that Christianity is hooey was solidified after I read the new testament.
Thus, this book was right up my alley. Religious, but pretty sacrilegious if you believe in the New Testament, and hilarious.
Straight up: I liked this book. It took me a little while to get into, possibly because its from the point of view of a horny, kinda skeezy 11 year old boy at the beginning, but it has a really nice take on all the forms of love, and some pretty awesome action sequences.
Summary: Biff is brought back from the dead to write a gospel. He doesn't know anything about what has happened to the world since he died, and it is modern day. He starts with when he met Joshua (Jesus, we now call him), and describes their childhood together. Biff is the best friend any super hero/son of god could ask for. He is in love with the virgin Mary and there is a pretty weird love triangle, even pre-adolesence between Joshua, Biff and Mary Magdalen.
Biff talks about Joshua's life from age 10 to when Biff dies, the day of the crucifixion. Now if you know your Bible, you know that from birth to age 30 the gospels never talk about what or where Jesus is. After discussing the difficult childhood of a Jew in Roman territory under the thumb of the Sadducees, not to mention the angst that comes from being the son of god, the book posits that Jesus went to go find the three wise men that visited him at birth. Jesus and Biff end up spending a good 15 years in Asia learning Buddhism, magic, and fighting Shiva worshipers. This is where Jesus learns about what his role is as the son of god, and is an amusing way to show how similar Christianity is to other world religions. It also is very pro Christianity in this way, because it acts as though Christianity is an amalgam of all that is good from the other world religions.
I don't want to spoil the ending for you, so I won't say anymore about what happens, but it is a really good book. If you don't mind the idea that Jesus was the son of god and the son of man, and that in the developmental fight between nature and nurture Jesus was raised by man, so he can be pretty human at times, and you like the idea of Jesus having a sinning, joking, ridiculous sidekick, you will like this book.
If you don't like fun, kungfu, or sex, you will not like this book. You have been warned.