Friday, April 13, 2012

Book Look: Lamb by Christopher Moore

This is definitely not a must read, but for someone who grew up with a healthy knowledge of Biblical stories, this was funny and fascinating. My only qualm is that this author takes a totally normal story and ramps up the weird sexual content. I found this also happened in Water for Elephants. There is no relationship – unattached sex. Turns me off any book – like get through that stuff and get on to the real storyline, please! Interestingly in the author's note at the end of the book he discusses his discomfort with the mature nature of young teen relationships in his book, but given historical evidence that points to a culture where couples were married by 14, he felt it important to include. It becomes clear in his note, however, that the author's discomfort is not in the main character's sexual exploits, but more the idea of marriage so young (particularly a girl's marriage).

So other than that, I thought the idea behind the story was fascinating. This is the story of Jesus in the time before he turned 30 told from the perspective of Jesus' supposed best friend, Levi-known-as-Biff. It's interesting to think through what Jesus was doing all those years before his ministry started, his struggle with the idea of being the messiah, how his role has God incarnate affected his childhood, his complete passion for humanity as a young man, his pursuit of knowledge in an unassuming way … and the contrast with Biff's modern day perspective as he's holed up in a hotel with an angel while he writes his version of the gospel, 2000 years later. Biff discovers a Bible in the hotel night stand and sneaks it into the bathroom (the angel is trying to keep him from learning the current beliefs around his friend, “Joshua”) where he's baffled to discover that these people, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (whom Biff doesn't recall) have the big events fairly accurate, but the other stuff all wrong.

I love the author's story and also his unassuming explanation in the author's note at the end where he says he tried to be historically accurate but he knows it's not perfect, and in some cases he made consciously did not adhere to historical timing. I appreciate the explanation for why Biff was not included in the gospel story and also how the author managed to interweave Biff's story into the gospel story, believably.
Upon finishing the book I love the idea of the story even more and I'm rather impressed with the accuracy of the portrayal of this period of history in the middle east. Obviously this is no small feet and I'm confident the book isn't 100% historically accurate (the author is also positive of this) but it's as close as one could hope to achieve, I think.


Lppick said...

Speaking of books my daughter and I recently heard Kristin Kimball, author of The Dirty Life, and her husband speak at St. Lawrence University. They were fabulous and are a very engaging couple.

lovermont said...

oh awesome!
Everyone is telling us to go see them, and I think we will. We've been told to just show up any day but Sunday. We'll be put to work but they're very nice and will be happy to chat. Now to find the time ...