Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Book Review: Lamb by Christopher Moore

I first ran into author Christopher Moore reading Lamb, the imaginative and often irreverent story of Christ’s youth as narrated by his childhood best-bud, Biff.

I must say I have since been disappointed by some of his other works. In particular, The Stupidest Angel and Fluke. Moore is a great writer. I like his style and tone. His characters are always interesting, and his prose is vivid enough that you can really see the scenes as the stories progress. However, Moore is supposed to be a humor writer – yet there isn’t much humor in these other two books. They’re good stories, but I guess I set myself up hoping the other works would match what Moore had accomplished in Lamb. (Moreover, I can’t figure out why Moore titled the one work The Stupidest Angel – the angel, who appears in Lamb as well, actually has a minor role in this story. I call it The Strangest Title!)

So let me tell you why I liked Lamb. I first picked it up because I’ve always been curious about the early life of Jesus the Christ. I read the cover hype and was enthralled with the idea of Jesus Christ having a childhood best friend and wondered what he would have made of the savior of the world. I read a few passages from the book and was immediately hooked into the story.

Now, I wouldn’t read this book thinking it was in any way an accurate historical narrative. It’s fanciful to say the least. But Moore does provide substantative details about the people and the times. He weaves in words from scripture to suggest how Christ might have thought to use them in the final years of his life, lending a genuineness to the story, and he fits those last years into the tail of the narrative, giving it authenticity. Where the story wanders from reality is the trek Moore gives Christ in search of the three wise men from his birth to get answers about the meaning of his life (he asks his Father, who won’t say), and Christ’s supposed study of various religions from which he might have picked up some of his ides on life. Jesus (or Joshua in Aramaic) and Biff travel thousands of miles over many years through the Middle East, Asia, and India, then back to Judea just in time for the beginning of Christ’s ministry.

What I found compelling was Christ having a close friend early in his life. And I liked the occasional sarcasm Biff offers in the story and the way he sticks by his best friend even to the very difficult end. The picking up of words of scripture to pepper the story in a humorous but meaningful way also gives this story legs that get you from beginning to end and say, “Yeah, it could have happened this way.”

I highly recommend Lamb. It’s fun, it’s interesting, it’s a great tale. I wish I could say the same about Fluke and The Stupidest Angel – maybe I wouldn’t feel that way if I had read them first.

Reader Resources

Editorial Reviews of Lamb from and Publisher’s Weekly (scroll down below fold)

Other books by Christopher Moore
Christopher Moore interview on

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