Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John have nothing on this modern retelling of the story of Jesus Christ written by his childhood friend Levi, who is called Biff. In this humorous account, Biff primarily fills in the gaps left by the other evangelists from Jesus birth to the start of his ministry. The novel is told in parallel narratives between Biff’s experience writing the gospel in the 21st century and Biff’s experience being Jesus’s constant companion from his childhood up to his crucifixion.
The novel starts out slow, talking about Jesus and Biff’s childhood in Nazareth, showing the contrasts between Jewish culture and Roman culture. The novel picks up when Jesus and Biff reach adolescence; none of the authors of the gospels cover this part of Jesus’s life in detail, so the author had a lot of liberty with this portion of the narrative, and what he produced was extremely captivating and interesting. During this part of the novel, Jesus and Biff journey to find the three wise men who came to Jesus’s birth, and on their journey learn important lessons from older faiths and philosophies — including Confucianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism — that Jesus later incorporates into his own teachings. After Jesus and Biff return home, the novel chronicles Jesus’s ministry, highlighting many familiar biblical characters including John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, and the twelve apostles, and culminating in Jesus’s trial and crucifixion.
This novel was brilliantly imaginative and clever, especially the part dedicated to Jesus and Biff’s quest to find the three wise men. Biff’s voice as a narrator was sometimes crude but always hilarious, sarcastic, and unique. Seeing Jesus’s life from his best friend’s point of view made it simple to see Jesus’s humanity in his younger years and how he grew into his role as Son of God. Though it is unnecessary to be a well-learned Christian to enjoy Lamb, I found it was easier to understand much of the humor and foreshadowing having some knowledge of Christian teachings. I would recommend this novel to anyone who can laugh about their religion a bit or anyone who enjoys an offbeat twist on a well-known story.
Availability: USMAI and COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Brianna Glase
Rating: Highly Recommended