Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore

Or, more pithily, Biff, by Christopher Moore, was #90 in my book challenge for the year. It intrigued me when I first read about it, but I had just begun not to write down books, but to accrue enough recommendations or sightings that I could remember them without prompting. Biff definitely got enough recommendations from the media and from trusted reader friends that it earned a place on my reading list.

Biff has been resurrected by an angel in order to write a new gospel, one that fills in the blanks left by the Big Four. As noted in the title, Biff is Christ’s, or Joshua’s, friend since childhood. They get into trouble together, they fall in love with Maggie, and they bumble through a buddy tale in which they travel far, meet the three wise men, learn kung fu, confront demons, and more. Unfortunately for Moore, we all know how the story ends, and it isn’t well. The book is at its best imagining what might have happened in the thirty years after the birth narratives and before Joshua began preaching in earnest and on the record. The book is eminently quotable, with some genuinely hysterical scenes, as when a caffeinated Joshua decides to heal everyone he can in a marketplace. Moore’s book points out some of the common misconceptions and re-imagines them–the wise men aren’t kings, Mary of Magdalen isn’t a whore. This is a fun, funny, clever book. I didn’t find it life-changing, or overly thought-provoking, though.

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