Most helpful positive review
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 12 April 2003
Did you know that Noah postponed his death for 800 years by convincing a sympathetic Angel of Death that he (Noah) was behind in his paperwork? Such is one of the fascinating factoids found in LAMB, the story of Christ's life as told by his life-long best bud Biff, otherwise known as Levi, son of Alphaeus and Naomi of Nazareth.
Biff, so nick-named for the daily slaps upside his head he required as a child, is raised from the dead in the twentieth century to write another gospel. As the millennium approaches, the Son of God is unhappy with the versions written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and wants a re-write. So, Biff is held a virtual prisoner by his minder, the angel Raziel, in the St. Louis Hyatt Regency until the manuscript is finished.
After a few introductory scenes in which a young Joshua (aka Jesus) restores life to dead lizards, has mixed luck with deceased humans, and becomes infatuated with a budding Mary Magdalene ("Maggie"), Biff's story hits its stride after Joshua, at about thirteen, debates the Pharisees in the Temple of Jerusalem. Then, our two heroes set out for the Far East in search of the Three Wise Men (Balthasar, Gaspar, Melchior) that attended Joshua's birth. From them, in Afghanistan, China, and India, Joshua learns the wisdom of the Eastern religions in preparation for his own ministry. Since Joshua is forbidden by his Heavenly Father from "knowing" women in the biblical sense, he relies on Biff to apprise him of the experience. And Biff, a ladies man, is just the one to do it, especially after several years living with the Eight Chinese Concubines, who have such names as Tiny Feet of the Divine Dance of Joyous Orgasm, Silken Pillows of the Heavenly Softness of Clouds, Pea Pods in Duck Sauce with Crispy Noodle, and Sue (short for Susanna).
After seventeen years of wandering and adventure, Biff and Joshua return to Galilee, where the latter gathers his apostles and disciples and begins the ministry familiar to readers of the traditional gospels. Of course, there are embellishments. Biff's narrative ends on the evening of the Friday of Joshua's crucifixion.
LAMB is inspired humor. It's also irreverent, but not maliciously so. The book is author Chris Moore's attempt to flesh out the story of Jesus (Joshua) - to give him a more endearingly human side. For example, when Joshua transforms water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana, he samples his miracle perhaps a little too much. And, when his disciples are astounded when he walks on the surface of the Sea of Galilee, Joshua says:
"I just ate. You can't go into the water for an hour after you eat. You could get a cramp. What, none of you guys have mothers?"
As one born and raised Catholic (and since "fallen away"), I immensely enjoyed the flippancy of LAMB. Sister Mary's grade school catechism class was never so much fun. While a Christian of a more fundamentalist belief might find LAMB faintly blasphemous, I would hope not. I trust even JC could laugh at a good dirty joke as he sat around the village well with the lads.