Monday, November 8, 2010

Lamb: Part I & II

Today's post is going to be just a little different than any other post I've ever done. This is part one of two posts, and there will be a guest!

Today, for your reading pleasure, you'll be hearing from both me and my mom!

My mom and I decided a few weeks ago that once my reading schedule was clear we'd read Lamb by Christopher Moore together. Neither of us has ever done a buddy-read, and she'd never read Lamb, though I'd been insisting for quite some time that she should have. It seemed too easy.

Luckily we've had a really good time doing it and are already planning a couple more...oddly enough the titles we've picked have all been Moore's. Curious...isn't it?

We're both into the third section of Lamb and decided that this was a good time to go back and discuss our feelings and thoughts of the first two parts. I'd like to let you know now, that unlike most of my other posts this one will have spoilers! Just thought I'd warn you. For those of you have not read Lamb I personally recommend that you stop reading my post now (though I'll be sad to see you go) and quickly buy, rent, borrow...and maybe even steal (but only from a friend) a copy of the book. It's too good to pass up!

We'll start with what Mom (Tam) had to say:

Mom Says:

The first thing that struck me was the author's blessing. Right away you know that you have something special here. Moore doesn't care how his book makes you feel as long as you feel something, which he basically says in the blessing: All books reveal perfection, by what they are or what they are not. It makes me feel as a reader like the author is writing true, not for someone.

I also get the feeling that this book is like a religious buddy movie. (Bromance...) Leonardo DiCaprio should play Joshua and Owen Wilson should play Biff...or maybe we can just get Jay and Silent Bob.

Lines that so far have stuck with me and made me giggle every time I thought of them:

  • Revelations II: Just when you thought you were safe!
  • Leprous jar of camel snot!
Line that gave me the shivers:
  • You think you know how this story is going to end, but you don't. Trust me, I was there. I know.
I feel that on one hand this book is about family connections. Or at least the first part of the book is. Biff loves his father though he is a hard man. Joshua loves Joseph, even though he is not his father (but a great father figure to him). Joshua wants to love God, because he is his father, but it is difficult when he can't see or touch him. Joshua has to take God on faith, just like the rest of us.

I also feel that the women in the book are striking. Two that stand out for me are obviously Maggie, and Joy as well. Both are very strong females but also must obey fathers, husbands, or masters as the time period dictates. Even though they have to obey it is shown time and again that they are smarter than the men. At the same time Mr. Moore does a great job at not letting the strong intelligent women make the men in the story look stupid. If nothing else, it compliments them. I feel like the author may have had those types of women in his life, perhaps mothers, grandmothers, or aunts. It may seem on the outside that they may be under the thumb of their male counterparts but the women are actually running the show.

It's just after they circumcise Apollo that the book turns serious with the telling of Herod and Maggie's Uncle Jeremiah being a zealot. In a lot of places the book will be funny and serious at the same time, but this scene is the first that we see it turn strictly serious.
I'll have to admit that this was quite jarring, it brought me not out of the book, but up short. But, the way that Christopher Moore writes, you're half a page on after going "Whoa" and your saying to yourself "Okay...I can deal with this" because he writes it so well.

I feel as if Moore does a good job in playing out the idea that Christianity is a mish-mash of other religions by sending Joshua on this journey to learn of other religions and theologies by visiting the Magi.

I enjoy lines in the book like when Joshua says "I'll have to remember that" when he's taught that you can not build on sand, but have to build on rock so as not to lose your structure. I think that this quite obviously foreshadows Jesus saying to Peter

You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church. 16:18

In the same way I was incredibly intrigued when Biff states that he hung Judah.
I have to admit that I think if I knew more about Judaism the book would most likely be even funnier.

Sharyla Says:

I feel that this story is deceptive (in a good way) because the reader may be thinking that the book is about Jesus. However, in all reality, it's the story of Biff. It's the story of Biff and his life, in relation to Jesus' missing years. More importantly it is the story of Biff and Joshua's undying love and devotion to each other, as best friends, in the way that most of us feel about our very best friend. Not that they are another human being, but that they are a necessary piece of ourselves. Your friend can be your soul mate without the sexual aspect. This book, and the story it tells, proves this beyond anything else it does.

We see this from Biff's point of view when he says

I never felt that sort of concern for my own brothers but from the beginning Joshua filled me with divinly inspired worry.

We see it again from Joshua's point of view when prays so hard for Biff's survival when he's thrown from the ship that the angel is brought down to save him. In many instances we see Joshua fight for the rights and lives of others...but never is an angel brought down unless Biff is in danger.

I feel as well that sometimes the love that's bestowed on Joshua is kept pure, by the fact that Biff feels it in the way that those of us that are not the Son of God are able to. This happens with Josh, Maggie, and Biff...eventually blatantly, but it also happens with many other things that Joshua would have been susceptible to if not for Biff. Biff often sins so that Josh doesn't have to.

The other great story within the book is Biff's love for Maggie...not just in the story Biff is telling, but the love that lasts until he's writing his own gospel. It reminds me more of an adult love than I think Biff is suppose to be feeling...but it does remind me of all the times I've been in love with someone who didn't love me back.
There's a huge part of me that wants Maggie to look away from from Joshua and see Biff.

I found it interesting...and it made me want to read the gospel of Mark when Biff says:

Well, at least Mark mentions me, once. And then it's totally out of context, as if I was just sitting around doing nothing and Joshua happened by me and asked me to tag along.

I was so curious that I grabbed one of my bibles and rad the part of that mentions Biff (Levi) and both Mom and I had an "AHA!" moment, and one of us should have felt a little she was raised in the Christian faith and very well should have picked up on it sooner (not Sharyla).
After reading this very short and very non-contextual section of the Bible, my opinion that Moore is a story-telling genius was solidified. While a friend of mine argues that I'm just as smart, I think that picking the one guy that had very little back story and giving him one...not just Jesus' was pretty darn smart. Well played, sir.

I love the idea that Moore plays on the idea that some of the rules that modern Christians live by are antiquated while Joshua and Biff are staying with Balthazar. Some of these rules just don't apply...or really have any spiritual effects...or so I see it.
Such as bacon.

One must keep in mind while reading my section of this post that I have read this book before. I realize now, on the second go round that from the beginning of the book, you're learning to love Joshua for being not only the Son of God, and eventually, if you're Christian, your savior. You're also learning to love him as a man. A human, with many of the flaws and worries that we have now. It's interesting for a non-Christian to view Jesus this way, and it leaves me wondering what thoughts this brings to the mind of a person of the Christian faith.

And so....

This concludes our thoughts on sections one and two of Lamb. We're loving it so far, as I was quite sure we would and we love sharing what we think with all of you. Look forward to thought provoking comments.

Just one that says "I've never read it...but now I have to!" would be what we're really aiming for though.


  1. This is actually on my nightstand right now!! I must read it!! (I hoped that worked for your goal! :)

    I like the format of you and your Mom reviewing it!

  2. I love this book. I woke my husband up numerous times laughing so hard! It's even better on audio.

  3. I read Lamb when we still lived in Orlando - several lifetimes ago. I've read almost as many Christopher Moore books as Tom Robbins books. I never did a Christopher Moore church service, though.
    Interesting blog.

  4. I love Christopher Moore! Especially his " Love Story"


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