Lamb by Christopher Moore, 404 pages
The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
First, I have to comment on my beautiful edition. It looks like a bible, with gold edged pages, and an attached bookmark ribbon. It is stunning.
I started this book back in September, hoping to read it for a book based on a character in the Bible for the four month challenge hosted by Virginie. I'm not even sure why it ended up taking me two months to read the book, because I enjoyed the whole thing. It was funny, well written, and done really well.
Biff, also known as Levi, is brought back to life in modern times to write his gospel. His version includes the years before Jesus (Biff calls him Joshua) began his ministry. Biff is hilarious and irreverent, but devoted to Josh. Biff and Josh travel to India and China and spend many years learning from the three wise men and having adventures.
I have no idea what the "H" in Jesus H. Christ stood for. It's one of the things I should have asked him. page 2
The main story is there, all the characters you'd expect: Mary Magdalene (called Maggie), Joseph of Arimethia, Judas, the woman who would have been stoned except for the whole - he who has not sinned.... advice, all the disciples and apostles. Biff wasn't a fan of the parables especially mustard seed ones. Actually, Biff is pretty blunt and takes the brunt of the inappropriate behaviour in the book. Jesus or Josh, is pretty true to form, so readers worried that Jesus will be blasphemed can relax. Josh does have a sense of humor though, and doesn't mind teasing Biff or tricking him. And you can assume that the language was cleaned up for the real Bible, so there is some swearing.
This book was a reprint in 2007 and includes an Afterword by Moore. He explains what liberties he took in the timeline of travelling to China, but he felt he really had to answer the question, "What if Jesus knew kung-fu?"He explains his research process and his concern that he'd end up living with Salmon Rushdie after the book was originally published, so was pleased with the positive response.
This story is not and never was meant to challenge anyone's faith; however, if one's faith can be shaken by stories in a humorous novel, one may have a bit more praying to do.