Wednesday, December 29, 2010

book review #1: lamb: the gospel according to biff, christ's childhood pal

You may find yourself asking why it's the first book review. I've done quite a few already. Well, I'm going to start it this new year and I like to have an inventory of the books that I read. Reading is a passion right now, not just a hobby or whatsoever. And to start the new year with a bang, I also chose a book that will surely make a big bang of laughter out of you. I enjoyed reading this and it made me laugh the bejeezus out of me. Well, it's a "Gospel" to start with. Can there be more strange-sounding than this? I'm laughing.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal (phew, such a long title) is written by Christopher Moore. The book talks about the missing link in the life of Jesus, the in-betweens when he was seven and the time he started his ministry, as was told by Biff, his seeminlgy all-knowing, sexually-crazed but loyal friend. You would wish to have such a friend as Biff. Well, there are ten things that I like to point on this book which are quiet interesting.

1. Biff, the titular character, and Joshua (Jesus is the Greek name)
Their friendship is like a Yin-Yang, a balance of naivete and smartassness (correct me please). Where Joshua lacks the knowledge on one area, it is there that Biff tries to fill. Theirs was a complete riot. Biff becomes Joshua's window to sinly human nature as Joshua tries to discover more about sin and his way of becoming the Messiah.

2. The angel Raziel
The stupidest angel (another book by Moore) who loves soap opera and was disappointed by not meeting Spiderman. He loves wrestling and thinks that everything in the TV is true. He resurrected Biff, dead for 2000 years, and commanded him to write this gospel. His is a halo that Biff describes as "stupidity leaking out of his head". Makes me laugh everytime I remember that.

3. Angels do have sex. And Raziel left his sex organ in heaven. Makes me imagine Biff's face, his reaction.

4. Balthasar's 8 concubines.
Tiny Feet of the Divine Dance of Joyous Orgasm, Beautiful Gate of Heavenly Moisture Number Six, Temptress of the Golden Light of the Harvest Moon, Delicate Personage of the Two Fu Dogs Wrestling Under a Blanket, Feminine Keeper of the Three Tunnels of Excessive Friendliness, Silken Pillows of the Heavenly Softness of the Clouds, Pea Pods in Duck Sauce with Crispy Noodle, and Sue.
Their names are amusing but Biff manages to call them by their short names. Sue is for Susannah. Huh?

5. While Joshua learns how to multiply the grain of rice through the Divine Spark (the Holy Ghost or Spirit, as we call it), Biff is so busy learning the ancient knowledge of Kama Sutra (LOL) and manages to have a banter with Joshua (who also learns the Bhagavad Gita).

6. The 3 Magi, Balthasar, Gaspar and Melchior, have been actually searching for their own personal desires which is the reason why they travelled to see the Messiah. Joshua finally found them and sought help on how he can become the Messiah. He gave them lessons instead.

7. Joshua loves drinking coffee. And is a contortionist. He fitted inside Biff's satchel, a backpack. He can also become invisible, which he learned when he was a monk under the tutelage of Gaspar. And he, together with Biff, battles a demon named Catch. What a catch that is. He had a comic language banter with this demon, while Biff infuriated it by peeing on it.

8. Joshua doesn't like sex at all after the incident when he saw Biff lying together with a toothless old woman. To be safe, his view of sex changed after this incident. Remember, Joshua was still learning the anatomy of sin so to say. His instructor was actually Biff who had carnal pleasures with different women so to describe this to him. As I say it again, Biff is the smartass while Joshua maintained his naivete.

9. That the Sermon on the Mount was actually planned. The Beautitudes. Everything was written as was dictated by Jesus and some suggested by Biff. Let me share to you an excerpt:
Biff: "Seven"
Jesus: "Not enought. We need one more. How about the dumbfucks?"
Biff: No, Josh, not the dumbfucks. You've done enough for the dumbfucks...
Jesus: Blessed are the dumbfucks for they, uh - I don't know - the shall never be disappointed.
Biff: No, I'm drawing the line at the dumbfucks. Come on, Josh, why can't we have any powerful guys on our team? Why do we have the to have the meek, and the poor, the oppressed, and the pissed on? Why can't we, for once, have blessed are the big powerful rich guys with swords?"

Makes me laugh all the time.

10. Judas was killed, rather strangled, by Biff who killed himself by jumping off the cliff. The smartass died by suicide but later resurrected by the angel to write this gospel.

The anachronism is quite interesting and so is the sarcasm. I love everything about the book, especially the humor between Jesus and Biff. Christopher Moore played well with the reader's imagination about the characters, the setting, about everything in totality. I can't recommend it enough. Read irony. Hehehe. A caution though, if you're a chuckler, then at least do not read this in public. The languages are funny and some parts are quite disturbing especially for "Pharisee-ish" mind, close-minded that is.

4.9 stars out of 5 (I'm saving the 0.1 for the air, I'm running out of it while reading). Seriously, 5 out of 5 for the good humor. Curiosity is the beginning of wisdom, or sham. Read the book to see it for yourself. I'm reading it again.

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