Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff is one of those titles that people just kept recommending to me, probably because I’m known to enjoy humor and to not take anything particularly seriously; as an agnostic, no one was concerned about offending me with this book.
Unfortunately, the humor wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be. I have this experience often when I read humor, in that I hope and expect to spend some time actually laughing while reading. For me, Lamb was a more quiet humor. The cleverness often made me think “ahh, yes, I see what you did there,” but it rarely made me chuckle quietly to myself–a shame, since that’s the joy in reading a really funny book.
I’ve been waiting and waiting to finally reach the end of the book, and felt real relief when it was over, almost akin to my experience reading the actual Bible, although that took much longer. But although it wasn’t the experience I’d hoped it would be, I have to admire the craft that clearly went into making this book happen. The jokes are clever and often intelligent (although there’s some “low” humor in there too), and show a clear knowledge and research into the actual life of Jesus and the content of the Bible. My favorite parts were the modern day passages involving the angel and Biff’s stay in the hotel, especially the bit about Spiderman. But where the writing really shines is in some of the attention to detail and care with history in spite of the irreverent approach to it all; the slight modifications of familiar stories and quotations are the true fun spirit of this book, for sure.
Personally, I won’t be revisiting this book any time soon, but if you’re a fan of the more understated types of humor, or if examining the potentialities of the human side of Jesus appeals to you, definitely give this one a go.