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Have you ever wondered how you would go about teaching an elephant yoga? Or perhaps if things would have been different if Jesus had known kung-fu? Maybe you've heard the utterance "Jesus H. Christ" as often as I have..and thought..just what does the H in that stand for? All of these questions and more are answered in this book. Ok, it's fictional but Christopher Moore does an excellent job with his own ideas and questions. Lamb is the tale of Levi who is Biff as he is resurrected, given the gift of tongues, and guided by the soap-opera watching, Spider-man wannabe, angel Raziel to write a new book.

You're kidding. A sequel? Revelations 2, just when you thought it was safe to sin?
The story flips between the now, when Biff is dealing with being cramped in a hotel in modern day St. Louis after being dead for two thousand years, trekking across Jerusalem and battling his fears with man's technological advances, to the story of his life as Jesus' friend. In effect you are reading the gospel as he is writing it, complete with play by play commentary. The first thing you must learn, and only Biff can teach us for he was there and we weren't, is that the savior's proper name is Joshua.
Jesus is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Yeshua, which is Joshua. Christ is not a last name. It's the Greek for messiah, a Hebrew word meaning anointed.
After that we are taken through his life from the moment Biff meets him at age six, with a lizard in his mouth, to the day of his death on the cross. Cut into 5 parts (The Boy, Change, Compassion, Spirit and Lamb) the book is both a hilarious page turner telling of a smart ass and his divine companion and a dramatic journey between two young men and their faith, and the struggle to accept destiny.

I picked this book up by chance at Borders one day after Christmas. Usually when I see something that looks of a religious nature I pass it over unless I'm gathering texts for study. I stopped in the fiction section hovering a few shelves from Palahniuk when I saw the lime green Lamb on a brown background. The cover with an old world, illuminated manuscript feel to it. Then I noticed the subtitle, read the inside flap and knew I had to have it. It was well worth the $25.

I've tried to get the angel to watch MTV so I can learn the vocabulary of your music, but even with the gift of tongues, I'm having trouble learning to speak hip-hop. Why is it that one can busta rhyme or busta move anywhere but you must busta cap in someone's ass? Is "ho" always feminine, and "muthafucka" always masculine, while "bitch" can be either? How many peeps in a posse, how much booty before baby got back, do you have to be all that to get all up in that, and do I need to be dope and phat to be da bomb or can I just be "stupid"? I'll not be singing over any dead mothers until I understand.
Most of this book is filled with fact and hilarious fiction. I had to find a secluded place to read it because I found myself the target of annoyed stares every time I giggled at another passage. When I put it down cus it was midnight and I really did have to get up early for work, I ended up turning on my lamp for thirty extra minutes. It's not that the book is packed with drama, it's there but in tiny doses, it's just that it's such a captivating look at a point in a world famous person's life that we've been denied. Sure, it isn't true. Mr. Moore researched his butt off for this book but if it was all fact it would be far fewer than 400 pages. After all what do we know about his childhood?
Of the time from Jesus' birth to when he began his ministry in his thirties, the Bible gives us only one scene: Luke tells us of Jesus teaching in the Temple in Jerusalem at age twelve.
There apparently is also reference to his childhood in the Infancy Gospels of Thomas where a mass murder of school children by a 6 year old savior is described. I have to say, the six pages of the book where Moore describes what he used, what he didn't and the assumptions people have (did you know there is not a single reference to Magdalene being an actual harlot or whore in the entire Bible? or that there is never a mention that Joseph is dead when Jesus is crucified? Or that there were even three wisemen?) was very fascinating.

I think the religious person could enjoy this book too, it is just fiction after all, however I was flat out told "that's blasphemy" by my mother when I tried to share the joy that is Christopher Moore's Lamb. I was taken by a fit of giggles one day while we enjoyed each other's company, and I read a line or two to her, she was not greatly amused at first. It took a minute for her to let loose her Christian girdle and realize that just because she lived across the street from the church, God wasn't going to strike her down for having a chuckle. Imagine, she got upset at the idea of Jesus paying his best friend to commit pre-marital sin with prostitutes so he can better understand that which he isn't allowed to do by decree of a James Earl Jones sounding voice from above. What is this world coming to?

I think Christopher Moore would be pleased to know that minutes later she suggested buying a copy and sneaking it into the church library to see what the pastor would think of it.

All quotes came from the book, except the one that wasn't.

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