Lamb, a nov­el by Christo­pher Moore.

The sub­ti­tle on this one is “The Gospel accord­ing to Biff, Christ’s child­hood pal”, so right off you should know if you’re the type that will enjoy this sto­ry, or the kind that maybe should­n’t pick it up. Me, I’m the type that would enjoy this story.

Hav­ing read Moore’s nov­el Coy­ote Blue years ago, I knew that he was fun­ny. Appar­ent­ly I’d for­got­ten how fun­ny. I chor­tled all the way through this book (well, till I got to the last sec­tion, titled “The Passion”).

The sto­ry is large­ly con­cerned with the “miss­ing years” of Christ’s life. Biff (whose real name is Levi bar Alphaeus) and Christ (whose real name is Joshua bar Joseph) grow up togeth­er, fall in love with the same girl (Mary the Mag­da­lene, referred to here as “Mag­gie”), and have all kinds of adven­tures and mis­ad­ven­tures togeth­er. When events con­spire to put Mag­gie beyond their reach for­ev­er, Joshua and Biff sad­dle up and head off to the East, look­ing for the Wise Men that had showed up on the night of Josh’s birth.

They track down Balthasar, Mel­chior, and Gas­par, traips­ing from Israel to Afghanistan, Chi­na, and India in the process, learn­ing kung fu, Zen Bud­dhism, and Hin­du asceti­cism along the way. (Well, Josh learns; Biff is more into the ladies, and he learns quite a few items from them, most­ly relat­ed to the Kama Sutra.)

The sto­ry is packed with laughs, both overt and sly (at one point, Biff says to Josh, as they trav­el toward Dam­as­cus, “Well it’s not just going to come to you in a flash here on the Dam­as­cus road, Josh. That sort of thing does­n’t happen.”

As good as he is at telling the fun­ny stuff, Moore does­n’t flinch when he tells the sad sto­ries; the grim and grue­some parts of the tale are equal­ly well-told. The Pas­sion and the Cru­ci­fix­ion are espe­cial­ly heart-rend­ing when told in the voice of a man forced to watch his clos­est friend die.

When I came to the epi­logue, I found myself wish­ing there was more, much more. I think I’ll have to get some more Christo­pher Moore nov­els into my house.

One thought on “Lamb

  1. Karen read this about a year ago. I remem­ber her com­ment­ing that, while it was good, she thought Moore pulled his punch­es. There were areas he could have explored but did­n’t. I don’t remem­ber much of what she said, but she left the book feel­ing kin­da disappointed.

    I have a 13 today of vocab­u­lary words. Come on over and find out what an NRB is 😉

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