So, Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore (2002).
1. Yes, I know, I'm 5 years late on this review.
2. Wow, sad ending. I cried.
The concept of the book is simple: what happened to Jesus between childhood and the crucifixion? But the story is much more than that.
Moore did a fantastic job taking a story we all think we know, and making it fresh, engaging, and funny. An adventure tale. Even suspenseful – which is quite a feat, given the story. And I mentioned funny, yeah? Laughed out loud every few pages. And though the book was incredibly funny, it was touching too and Moore approached the subject with respect.
Seeing Joshua (AKA Jesus) through Biff's definitely less-than-perfect eyes humanizes him and makes the extraordinary things he does – and is – even more amazing. It's tough having the Son of God as your best friend. It's tough being the Son of God. Humor is what gets Biff and Josh through. To wit – the drafting of the Sermon on the Mount:
[Biff] "We've got: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness; blessed are the poor in spirit, the pure in heart, the whiners, the meek, the – "
"Wait, what are we giving the meek?"
"Let's see, uh, here: Blessed are the meek, for to them we shall say, 'attaboy'."
"A little weak."
"Let's let the meek inherit the earth."
"Can't you give the earth to the whiners?"
"Well then, cut the whiners and give the earth to the meek."
"Okay. Earth to the meek. Here we go. Blessed are the peacemakers, the mourners, and that's it."
"How many is that?"
"Not enough. We need one more. How about the dumbfucks?"
"No, Josh, not the dumbfucks. You've done enough for the dumbfucks. Nathaniel, Thomas –"
"Blessed are the dumbfucks for they, uh – I don't know – they shall never be disappointed."
What makes the story even more compelling is Biff's voice. I normally shy away from first person narratives – they generally annoy me – but his voice was engaging (better be, as the self-proclaimed inventor of sarcasm) and the shifts between humor and deep feeling were elegant.
Bottom line? I enjoyed the hell out of this book.
And I really did cry at the end.
risorial: pertaining to, causing, or producing laughter
Myths, symbols, and folklore
Daisy: "A composite flower of the temperate zone, the daisy was sacred to the Germanic mother goddess Freya; In medieval art it is a common attribute of Mary, signifying eternal life and salvation, but also, like the Marguerite, tears and drops of blood."