I gave this 5 stars because I could not give it 6. Fisher Stevens is one of my favorite narrators now and when you listen to the job he did with "A Dirty Job" you will know that he is made for Christopher Moore's writing. I can't wait for audible to get more of Moore's stuff.
I have tried to get some of my more Christian friends to listen this story and several have stopped half way through. They think it is funny, but have a hard time reconciling the story with their beliefs. If you are very uptight about religion, this might not be the book for you, but if you can keep an open mind, then you will ultimately find this book very fulfilling. No one that I know that has finished this book has been disappointed.
Really. Fisher Stevens's reading is, I think, even better than Nigel Planer's readings of Pratchett's books. I am not entirely sure this would be a great book to read on paper, but it was truly great to listen to.
Not that the story is bad. Moore does a nice job of weaving various religions/philosophies into Jesus's experiences during the missing decades. It makes for a very entertaining story, and quite a twist on coming-of-age. The humor is definitely laugh-out-loud quality in many places. The quality trends down over time, with the childhood story being best, and the travels as a young adult being good, but the end -- where the story needs to be congruent with the "real" gospels -- being rather weak.
Oh, and it is definitely just entertainment, with maybe a splash of pointing out how many spiritualities are quite similar at their core. If the author wanted and expected the reader to really think anything new and different after finishing this, I have to admit that the lesson was lost on me.
This book is first and foremost a coming-of-age tale.
The narrator meets Jesus (Joshua) when they are both children. From the beginning, the young Joshua knows who he is, but not exactly how to go about fulfilling his difficult destiny. Josh must travel to the ends of the land in order to learn what he needs to do, and Biff needs to go with him because Josh would get himself killed if he went alone. Together they have adventures as fantastic as those in the Bible, but not nearly as bloody.
Biff's tale is about a wonderful man striving to live up to his divine origins by embracing humanity. To a hardened apostate like myself, this portrayal as Jesus as a good man who would not only associate with sinners, but consider them his best friends, warmed my heart. If the church I was dragged to as a child had preached about this loving man, instead of his jealous, violent, judgemental and distant father, I might still have faith.
"Lamb" is the product of a fertile mind. When I think about a book like this, I always wonder most about how anyone could think of writing it. Here we have a (roughly) historical account of the life of Christ told through different and VERY irreverent eyes in such a way that would likely make a fundamentalist explode but possibly make an unbeliever think "Christ is cool." Christopher Moore takes New Testament facts, throws in some of the wilder beliefs about what He did between ages 13 and 30, and then resurrects (literally) a childhood pal to tell the tale. Wow.
This is a highly enjoyable book. I don't think it's blasphemous, but it does walk right up to the line.
If you aren't convinced, then let me just give you two reasons to listen to it:
1) You get to hear the very revealing comments from two blind men after getting their sight back. Amazing.
2) You (finally) find out why bunnies are a part of Easter.
I actually listened to Lamb twice in a row. I mean, I finished listening on the way to work one day, and I started over from the beginning on my way home. I didn't want the story to end.
On Passover night, when Maggie (Mary Magdalene) anointed Joshua's feet with oil, I cried so hard I almost couldn't see the road (as I was driving to work). It was one of the most beautiful and touching renditions of the story I've ever heard.
I think it's definitely tricky to tell a story about the life of Jesus without making it sound cliche or just totally sacrilegious, and I believe that Christopher Moore did a fantastic job with that (although I'm sure some will heatedly disagree with me), but in addition, Fisher Stevens did an amazing job of keeping the lightheartedness, the humanity, and the love well delivered throughout the story. He does an excellent rendition of a Jewish mother to be sure. His interpretation of the friendship between Biff and Joshua was inspired.
Sex, Lies, and Matza: Second-coming this Passover to a theater near you.
I think Mel Brooks could film the hell out of this book.
Having read previous books by Mr. Moore, I couldn't wait to read this one; it did not dissapoint and I must say has become one of my favorite books! Although I agree with some other reviewers that Moore's humor could make the "uptight bible thumpers" cringe, I don't understand how anyone could deny that he gives his "Joshua" a fun and human side. Biff's all too-human antics along with his devotion, loyalty, protection and pure love for his friend remind me that the bible may indeed be the "word of God", but it's quite true that there's a whole heck of alot of everyday reality that wasn't included. Maybe, just maybe, Moore is on to something...At the very least, despite what one's religious or spiritual leanings are,I would hope that readers would glean from this book that if Jesus was real, he had real friends, laughed, ate, worked and suffered all the same emotions and fears that we do to this day. And hey, who's to say what really went on during those years of the Christ's life that curiously are absent from the bible???? Listen to this story and loosen up a little--it's a hoot!!
I am not even finished and I've told anybody that will listen to listen to this book. I know that when people see me driving in the car they probably think I've lost my mind because I'm laughing uncontrollably at some of this stuff.
I just can't seem to delete this one from my ipod. I go back to different parts just for a good laugh during the day.
This is one of the books I am recommending to all of my friends, church goers and athiests alike. It is well written and clever.
Pick this one up, You won't regret it!
The presentation of this audiobook does the actual book a disservice. The story had me laughing out loud, but the nonexistent transitions between sections and random insertions of music made it a difficult listen. As for the narrator, he did well overall, but his voices for Joshua and Biff were too similar and I had difficulty knowing who was talking at times. I recommend this book, but not the audiobook.
I have - twice now. There are still things I catch anew, since I'm constantly chortling, chuckling, guffawing.
Just get it! You'll thank yourself.