Book Review: Lamb

I received this book (Lamb by Christopher Moore) at a church “bring one, take one” book exchange.  A friend of mine snapped it up and pushed it into my hand.  I’m glad he did.

This is my first taste of Christopher Moore’s sense of humor and I’m enjoying it quite a bit.  He’s got a great mixture of character attitudes relevant to the time of the story layered with sarcasm and snarky wit of a modern mind.  (Okay, sure, I know I’m being ‘age-you’re-living-in-now’-ist, but they haven’t outlawed that yet.)

The concept is that a Jew named Levi (nicknamed Biff for the sound it made when his mother had to whack him upside the head) was Jesus’ (known in the book as Joshua rather than the Greek Jesus) best friend as a kid and all his life.  With humor, it mines the story from when they are about 8 years old onward, encountering angels, Mary Magdalene, John the Baptist, but also filling in the gap of the first ~30 years of Jesus’ life.  In the story, “Joshua” and Biff travel to find the three Magi who came to see Joshua’s birth.  Their travels take them across Mesopotamia, into Afghanistan and down into India.  Woven into the travels are the ways Joshua is educated or exposed to the many religions and other influences which some might say helped to define “New Testament Christianity”.  I happen to think that makes 100% sense, but I’ll leave religious debates aside.

So while the book is irreverent, it is also true to the characters.  Joshua struggles with knowing that he’s the Son of God but being unable to tell the world about it.  He knows he’s different than anyone else in the world and it makes him very lonely at times.  Biff acts as a sort of comic relief, but also a stalwart and true friend as well as an honest man to help the Messiah on his journeys.

I’m definitely going to try some of Christopher Moore’s many other titles.  With luck, I’ve found another author to help feed my humorous book addiction while waiting for the next Discworld novel from Terry Pratchett (Lord, let him live to 150 years old…)

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