Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff (Christ’s Childhood Friend) is a book by Christopher Moore, a comedy writer who has written several gems such as Fluke or I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings, The Stupidest Angel, and Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story. Lamb, like Moore’s other novels, is filled with one-liners, obscure cultural references, and the kind of satire that Vonnegut (one of Moore’s own influences) would be proud of.
For those with any familiarity with the Bible, specifically the gospels, you might know about the 18 or so years of Christ’s life that they completely fail to mention. We have absolutely no idea what he was doing or where he was until he started his ministry at the ripe old age of 30. Before that, our last reference to him was when he was about 12 years old.
Well, fear not, because Christopher Moore’s got you covered. Lamb attempts to fill in all the gaps of those lost years with as much detail as possible, the entirety of which is told through the eyes of Christ’s best friend Biff. Of course, Biff never actually existed, but that’s besides the point.
Biff (whose real name is Levi) is Jesus’ best friend. They do everything together, and Biff has the pleasure of witnessing Christ’s life firsthand, miracles and blemishes and all. Unlike Christ, however, Biff is a total and complete ass. He womanizes, drinks, swears, and does pretty much everything you’d imagine Jesus not doing. He’s also pretty damn funny.
The plot follows the two on a quest to understand Christ’s destiny. Jesus knows he’s the Son of God, but he doesn’t know what that means. In order to better understand that, Biff and Joshua (which is Jesus’ real name) set off to locate the three wise men, each of whom holds some fraction of the knowledge that Jesus needs.
Just about every page is filled with jokes—some serious, some not, but almost all of them are funny. Moore gets pretty crude in certain areas, but he never really crosses the line. There’s never an instance where Moore is cramming any kind of message down your throat or saying that Jesus was right or wrong. He’s just telling a funny story about two unlikely friends, one of whom happens to be the Son of God.
Moore also includes the origins for most of Christ’s miracles as well as his teachings. We see why Jesus loves kids, where he comes up with some of his sayings, and how he goes from being a scared, uncertain kid to the guy on the cross that only wanted people to love each other.
As soon as I finished this book, I recommended it to a friend. He read it twice and thanked me for it. This is a fantastic read and it is generally regarded as Moore’s best. Regardless of whether or not you’re a Christian, I suggest picking it up. It’s a fictional story about the most famous individual that ever lived, so you’re bound to know one or two things about him. Regardless, Moore’s got you covered. He tells it all, straight up until the end, but with a twist. Biff’s twist.
If you’re the kind of person who protested Dogma when it first came out, you probably aren’t going to read this no matter what I say, which is a shame. But for the rest of you, check it out.
You’ll be glad you did.