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15 reviews

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

Published: 2004-05-25
Paperback : 444 pages
61 members reading this now
68 clubs reading this now
26 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 12 of 15 members

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 ...

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Introduction

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 the 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 Savior'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.

Editorial Review

While the Bible may be the word of God, transcribed by divinely inspired men, it does not provide a full (or even partial) account of the life of Jesus Christ. Lucky for us that Christopher Moore presents a funny, lighthearted satire of the life of Christ--from his childhood days up to his crucifixion--in Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. This clever novel is surely blasphemy to some, but to others it's a coming-of-age story of the highest order.

Joshua (a.k.a. Jesus) knows he is unique and quite alone in his calling, but what exactly does his Father want of him? Taking liberties with ancient history, Moore works up an adventure tale as Biff and Joshua seek out the three wise men so that Joshua can better understand what he is supposed to do as Messiah. Biff, a capable sinner, tags along and gives Joshua ample opportunities to know the failings and weaknesses of being truly human. With a wit similar to Douglas Adams, Moore pulls no punches: a young Biff has the hots for Joshua's mom, Mary, which doesn't amuse Josh much: "Don't let anyone ever tell you that the Prince of Peace never struck anyone." And the origin of the Easter Bunny is explained as a drunken Jesus gushes his affection for bunnies, declaring, "Henceforth and from now on, I decree that whenever something bad happens to me, there shall be bunnies around."

One small problem with the narrative is that Biff and Joshua often do not have distinct voices. A larger difficulty is that as the tone becomes more somber with Joshua's life drawing to its inevitable close, the one-liners, though not as numerous, seem forced. True to form, Lamb keeps the story of Joshua light, even after its darkest moments. --Michael Ferch

Excerpt

Chapter One
You think you know how this story is going to end, but you don't. Trust me, I was there. I know.

The first time I saw the man who would save the world he was sitting near the central well in Nazareth with a lizard hanging out of his mouth. Just the tail end and the hind legs were visible on the outside; the head and forelegs were halfway down the hatch. He was six, like me, and his beard had not come in fully, so he didn't look much like the pictures you've seen of him. His eyes were like dark honey, and they smiled at me out of a mop of blue-black curls that framed his face. There was a light older than Moses in those eyes. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

Topics for Discussion

Did you find Lamb to be fairly true to the Bible as you know it? Did you learn anything from Lamb? Do you find reading the Bible enjoyable?

Early in the book, Biff writes about "little-boy love," describing it as " ... the cleanest pain Ive ever known. Love without desire, or conditions, or limits -- a pure and radiant glow in the heart that could make me giddy and sad and glorious all at once." Do you understand what hes saying? Have you ever experienced that kind of love?

Would Joshua have made it to maturity without Biff? Do you think Jesus had any human -- not divine help in becoming who he was? Is Moore making a statement about historical facts in the Bible, or about the value of friendship in general?

Were you offended by this book in any way? Theres so much here that Moore could almost be called an "equal opportunity offender." Did you find that some parts bothered you, while others didnt? Did he go too far, in any way? Not far enough?

At one point, Biff asks, "Are all women stronger and better than me?" and josh answers, "Yes." Do you think Moore believes this? Do you think Christianity teaches this? From what you know about other world religions, how does the role of women differ in each?

Did you recognize any moments in your own development as you heard the story of Christs? Do you relate to the character of Josh? Does this story of "Josh" make you feel any differently about Jesus as a human being?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by [email protected] (see profile) 04/24/20

Made me laugh and think

 
by [email protected] (see profile) 12/10/18

A fun, whimsical and irreverent look at the early years AD. Totally enjoyed it.

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