Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore


For me, as an atheist who was raised in the Episcopal Church, this was a mildly uncomfortable read. It was also pretty funny, though, so, take that as you will. In the years since I decided that the church had very little to offer me, I've avoided Christian stuff pretty assiduously. I don't like to get into arguments, and I'm not trying to convince anyone to join me in my atheism if Christianity or some other religion gives them something that they need or feel that they're missing in their life. Bringing up the topic generally ends in situations that make me uncomfortable, so I tend to avoid the topic altogether.

On the other hand, I was brought up on these stories. I went to Sunday school. I helped act out these stories for Vacation Bible School. I heard them in the service readings and had them dissected for me in sermons. They feel familiar in a way that is so deep as to be cultural, and though I know now that what's in the bible isn't empirical truth, they still feel like something that shouldn't be messed with, though maybe more because of how I can imagine some Christians reacting to this sort of humerous retelling of their sacred stories than because of my own discomfort.

And that's how we get to my complicated feelings toward the book; I enjoyed this book. I rolled my eyes at this book. It felt dangerous, ridiculous, courageous, and absurd. It felt like something this subversive should be less silly, and yet, here it stands, and honestly, it's subversive because of it's silliness, and its silliness wouldn't have been nearly as interesting if applied to less 'sacred' subject matter. I probably would have enjoyed this book more in the early stages of my transition from Christianity to atheism than I do now when I haven't been to a church service in 9 years.

I also felt at times that I wasn't the target audience for this book in another way; Biff has sex with just about every woman he meets on his journey, and is constantly obsessed with when he's next going to get laid; because of that, coupled with the fact that Biff is our narrator, every woman that we meet is judged based on how attractive Biff finds them, and is described in ways that reflect that viewpoint. Which is... definitely a believable part of Biff's character development, but not something I could readily identify with.

I would recommend this book to anyone whos up for a silly read, and isn't going to be scandalized by a little bit of sex and kung fu being inserted into bible stories, but also isn't as uncomfortable with those stories as I occasionally am. It's well written, and Biff is definitely a memorable character.

4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.