Saturday, February 09, 2008

Lamb by Christopher Moore

The full title for this book is Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, which is good, since if you are offended by the title, you can just skip this book. The "author's blessing" at the beginning of the book says something like: "If you came here for humor, may you laugh; if you came here to be offended, may your ire rise and your blood boil," which I thought was really cute. I really enjoyed this one. Christopher Moore is sometimes a bit juvenile with over-the-top scatological and sexual humor, and there were some parts in this (as with all his books) at which I rolled my eyes. But overall, I enjoy his humor, a melange of satire and one-liners, and I did in this book as well. Here's the premise: A slightly inept angel named Raziel is charged with resurrecting Biff who is called Levi, who is asked to tell the story of Jesus (here called Joshua, after the Hebrew rather than the Greek form of Jesus' name) as he knew him in childhood. Raziel and Biff stay in a Holiday Inn, where Raziel becomes addicted to television and Biff sneaks the Gideon Bible into the bathroom to get caught up on what he's missed. Biff begins to tell his story, interspersed with modern day scenes with Raziel. To be honest, I expected Biff's bible-reading to lead to some sort of conflict, but that well was left untapped. That was fine, since there was plenty to keep my attention in Biff's gospel. Biff is the less-than-holy sidekick in this story: he happily helps Joshua understand sin by experiencing the joys of an array of harlots, and he (sometimes reluctantly) accompanies Joshua on his trip to self-discovery via eastern religious figures. I found myself getting caught up in the journey, and I thought it was well-told. Clearly, Moore did a lot of research to make his narrative ring true, and as the Passion approaches, the story turns surprisingly earnest.

In short, if the title makes you chuckle, I recommend this book to you. If the title makes you angry, and you enjoy a good bout of self-righteous indignation, I also recommend this book to you.

1 comment:

carolz said...

This was my absolute favorite of all of Moore's books. I read it a few years ago and ended up reading the rest of his books.
His last few books have been pretty good, too. I really enjoyed A Dirty Job. He brought back several of his characters from other books, which is always fun. You Suck, A Love Story wasn't bad either.