Monday, 8 April 2013

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore (4.5/5)

First published: 2002
Page count: 512

The back says: The birth of Jesus has been well chronicled, as have his glorious teachings, acts, and divine sacrifice after his thirtieth birthday. But no one knows about the early life of the Son of God, the missing years - except Biff, the Messiah's best bud, who has been resurrected to tell the story in this divinely hilarious, yet heartfelt work 'reminiscent of Vonnegut and Douglas Adams' (Philadelphia Inquirer). Verily, the story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healings, kung fu, corpse reanimations, demons, and hot babes, Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Saviour's pal may not be enough to divert Joshua from his tragic destiny. But there's no one who loves Josh more - except maybe 'Maggie,' Mary of Magdala - and Biff isn't about to let his extraordinary pal suffer and ascend without a fight.

I say: Oh my, the blasphemy is abundant in this utterly hilarious read, and even if I still were religious I would have enjoyed this. The humour is very silly, but also immensely clever and I was literally laughing out loud almost all the way through – as well as shaking my head at some of the explanations Moore offered to the life of Christ.

Or Josh, actually.

The one thing that impressed me the most was the research Moore had done prior to writing this; I’m not sure why, but I initially thought that this was just going to be a sarcastic novel about Jesus’ Joshua’s life, but there was a lot of historically (and biblically) correct facts in there. Another thing that also impressed me was Moore’s explanation of how Josh became the peace loving person he was; by travelling across Asia and studying the teachings of monks and other learned people – including becoming invisible and learning kung fu; although he never hit anyone.

Of course.

The story is told by Biff, who is extremely devoted to Josh, and also somewhat of a slacker. His ambition in life is to become the village idiot, but he overlooks that in order to follow and look after Josh, who is trying to learn how to become the messiah. Biff is very outspoken, slightly stupid intellectually challenged, but has his heart in the right place; which is what makes this such an endearing story in between the laughs. I just couldn’t help but fall in love with him and his bad mouth.

Seriously, there’s a lot of swearing here.

Oh, and Biff is also locked in a hotel room with an angel while he writes his story, which offers that lovely meta-ness that I adore, and also some rather humorous dialogue between the two who seem to hate each other. I might add that the angel is addicted to watching TV, which in itself is a serious wtf-inducing element.

So yeah, 4.5/5 because there were some things that I thought were a little over the top (like the swearing), but I will most definitely re-read this again (and perhaps right before Easter, like I did this year). This is also the second Moore book I’ve read, the first being A Dirty Job (which I didn’t think was as funny as this one) and I think I will be buying his other works in the near future.


  1. This sounds like my kind of book. Going to head to the library website right this second to request it.

    I love when writers put their own humorous spin on something. Particularly when done well. This one appeals because of all the research that went into it. Fab review!

    1. Yes, yes, yes go and find this and read it - it's hilarious. I also like it when authors come up with their own take on mythology or religion, and esp when it's well-reasearched (although I have to admit that I also like new takes/views on mythology and religion as well).

      Speaking of, if you know of any books with/about the devil/Lucifer I would love to read them. He fascinates me - or perhaps I should say that people's view of him fascinates me.

    2. I have reserved it at the library. Might take a while. I am number 2 in the queue but that doesn't mean anything. Waited four months for the book I am reading just now, sigh.

      Hmmm, only a few spring to mind and I have only read one of them and I don't think it would appeal to you. It's Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice. I remember you said you didn't really read horror and to be honest it was rotten. The devil offers Lestat a job. I gave it a rating of 1 on goodreads.

      The other I haven't read but a few friends have and they enjoyed it. It's I, Lucifer by Glenn Duncan. It actually looks quite interesting and I quite fancy reading it myself. I've attached a link;

    3. I've been meaning to read Anne Rice because people say she's great, but so far no dice. But I suppose it's part of the vampire series and I'd have to read about Lestat first or something. I'm trying to stay clear of book series atm, but perhaps for summer.

      I read I, Lucifer last year and really liked it and think you would as well. review here