Title: Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pals
Author: Christopher Moore
Age Group: Older Teens and Up [sex, language]
What It's About: You thought you knew everything you needed to know about the life of Jesus Christ, didn't you? Well, you haven't heard the story from his best friend Levi -- better known as Biff -- yet.
Why VZG Recommends It: Lamb is spectacularly hilarious for those who don't take their religion too seriously (or who aren't Christians, Jews, or Muslims, possibly). While it certainly doesn't seek to slander the name of Jesus in any way, it does take some liberties with the content of the Bible. This is just an extra spice for those of us who like the spirituality and comfort that can come with religion, but think the rules are too constricting for a human world at the same time.
You can join Levi bar Alphaeus, known more commonly as "Biff" for the sound made by his mother's hand meeting his head, as he dedicatedly follows Joshua bar Joseph, the messiah, farther than he ever thought he would go. From their first meeting, at which point Joshua had a lizard hanging out of his mouth, to the end of Joshua's life, Biff is never far from his side. This character is the perfect addition to the story: Biff is foul-mouthed and sex-obsessed. His manners are lacking, and his curiousity doesn't always lead him in a good direction. He'd rather find a shortcut than do things the right way, and would rather run and save his own hide than risk himself to save others. Still, Joshua cannot help but love him, and despite all the rules regarding religion that Biff finds himself unable to follow, he cannot help but love Joshua.
Neither can help but love Maggie, or Mary of Magdala (Mary Magdalene), either. She, too, takes a part in this novel, as do many other figures those even remotely familiar with the Bible will recognize. Other religions come into play as well as the duo travels as far as China and India.
Simply said: My friends loved it, my teachers loved it, and my father loved it. Anything they can all agree on has to be good.