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Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal Paperback – May 25, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 444 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Later Printing edition (May 25, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380813815
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380813810
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,398 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

A childhood pal of the savior is brought back from the dead to fill in the missing 30-year "gap" in the Gospels in Moore's latest, an over-the-top festival of sophomoric humor that stretches a very thin though entertaining conceit far past the breaking point. The action starts in modern America, specifically in a room at the Hyatt in St. Louis, where the angel who shepherds "Levi who is called Biff" has to put Christ's outrageous sidekick under de facto house arrest to get him to complete his task. Moore (Bloodsucking Fiends) gets style points for his wild imagination as Biff recalls his journey with Jesus dubbed Joshua here according to the Greek translation into and out of the clutches of Balthasar, then into a Buddhist monastery in China and finally off to India, where they dabble in the spiritual and erotic aspects of Hinduism. The author gets more serious in his climax, offering a relatively straightforward, heartfelt account of the Passion and Christ's final days that includes an intriguing spin on how the Resurrection might have happened. The Buddhist and Hindu subplots seem designed to point out the absurdity and excesses of religious customs, but none of the characters are especially memorable, and eventually both plot and characters give way to Biff's nightclub patter. As imaginative as some of this material is, the sacrilegious aspects are far less offensive than Moore's inability to rein in his relentless desire to titillate, and his penchant for ribald, frat-boy humor becomes more annoying as the book progresses. Moore has tapped into organized religion for laughs before, but this isn't one of his better efforts. Agent, Nick Ellison. Author tour.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Christopher Moore is the author of eleven previous novels: Practical Demonkeeping, Coyote Blue, Bloodsucking Fiends, Island of the Sequined Love Nun, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, Lamb, Fluke, The Stupidest Angel, A Dirty Job, You Suck, and Fool. He lives in San Francisco.

Customer Reviews

If you don't mind laughing out loud, read this book.
Dreamster
Moore has written a book that is not only hilarious and enjoyable, but also very touching and poignant as well.
Katie
If you're a VERY religious person and get offended by humorous takes on Jesus... you can still read this book.
Arnold G. Tijerina III

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

462 of 485 people found the following review helpful By Karen Hertzberg on March 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What does the H in Jesus H. Christ stand for? I'll give you a hint--it's a family name. Beyond that, you'll have to read the book and discover it for yourself.
I interviewed Chris Moore for my writing ezine. At the time, he was in the throes of writing Lamb, and had been instructed by his publisher to keep the project hush-hush, lest a bad B movie rendition torpedo the whole thing. I remember him saying that this book would certainly "piss off more people" than any of his previous works--and from the looks of the reviews cropping up here, the process has already begun.
I've read every one of Christopher Moore's books--I'm a devoted fan. Every time I read Chris Moore in bed, I find myself laughing so hard that my husband refers to me as "the human equivalent of Magic Fingers." I have to believe that someone whose writing can evoke such a reaction has a true gift. Christopher Moore's writing is both funny and deeply humane--he pokes fun at the world with tenderness and benevolence. That style shines through in Lamb, a story retold by Jesus' life-long friend, the irrepressible Levi, who is called Biff.
At first glance, it might seem Biff is an archetype--the guy whose exterior reflects "a--hole," (to quote the angel, Raziel), but who actually possesses a heart of gold. But on further examination, Biff's more than that. He's intelligent (incidentally, the first to theorize that the world was round, and the first to speculate on the existence of gravity), kind and selfless. Sure, he has his faults, but that brilliant combination of jerk/gentleman is what makes him so intriguing.
Those who scoff at this book for religious reasons (and there will be many, I'm sure) are missing the bigger picture.
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139 of 143 people found the following review helpful By Phil Clapham on January 5, 2008
Format: Imitation Leather Verified Purchase
Okay, I'm old (over 50) and have been an avid reader all my life, so the number of books I own or which have passed beneath my gaze is way beyond counting. And if one played the old game of "You're on a sinking ship and can grab a handful of books to take with you to that desert island over there where you'll be stuck for who knows how long... what would you take?" then Lamb would definitely be in the handful (others, in case you're interested: Virginia Woolf's "The Waves", Dostoevsky's "Brothers Karamazov", Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" and an anthology of poetry, heavy on the romantics).

I should issue a warning, however, which is that this book is dangerous. If you're someone who doesn't like embarrassing yourself by laughing out loud in public places like subway trains or at boring baseball games, then this isn't the book for you. It's one of those rarities, the book that makes you guffaw whether you want to or not.

I've read most of Moore's work (and have met him a couple of times - he's a very funny guy in person too), and this is easily his best novel. It is hysterically funny at many points, and yet manages to always protect the central character of Joshua (Jesus). Moore treats Joshua with respect throughout. He's never the butt of the many jokes directly; his best friend Biff is always the comic and the fall guy - but oh my, how gloriously he plays that role.

Offhand, and despite my extensive reading experience, I can't think of a funnier book than this one. True, you have to have a somewhat sick sense of humor to fully appreciate it, but those of that persuasion will love it and will find it one of the best reading rides of their lives. Buy it and treat yourself.
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157 of 173 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Crocker on July 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John leave a gaping hole in the story of Jesus. They tell of the shepherds, the angel, the virgin, the manger, and the wise men, then jump to Jesus as a thirtysomething rabbi. What did Jesus do during his formative years? Christopher Moore has an answer in his latest novel Lamb: The Gospel According To Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. Biff is Levi bar Alphaeus, son of a stonemason and childhood friend of Joshua [Yeshua] bar Jehovah, son of God. The first section of the novel tells of the adventures of Biff, Joshua, and Maggie [Mary of Magdala] in and around Nazareth. The next three sections take Biff and Joshua to visit and learn from each of the three magi. The last section puts a Christopher Moore spin on the story told in the New Testament. We can read the good news according to Biff because the angel Raziel has resurrected Biff [and one other person] to write their versions of the Gospel. Biff's interactions with Raziel are interspersed with the main story, usually at the beginings of chapters, and [inconsistently] set apart as long block quotes. This is a humorous book from a master of humor, but also a sensitive book. I loved this novel. Humor fans, Christopher Moore fans, believers, non-believers, mainstream Christians, and non-Christians should all love this wonderful book. If you find sacrilege in non-Biblical mentions of Jesus, stay away from this novel. You'll hate it. You might even want to burn it. You'll convince your friends to write gratuitous negative reviews of this book. But in my opinion, any open-minded person who has ever mused about the life and teachings of Jesus will find a lot to laugh about and think about in Christopher Moore's Lamb.
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