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Original Essays | April 11, 2014

Paul Laudiero: IMG Shit Rough Draft



I was sitting in a British and Irish romantic drama class my last semester in college when the idea for Shit Rough Drafts hit me. I was working... Continue »
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Customer Comments

Alexandra Baldwin has commented on (1) product.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal

Alexandra Baldwin, August 6, 2012

I don't know what I was expecting when I started this book. Potshots at religion, maybe? Crudeness, and maybe a "surprising" twist that Jesus wasn't all he was cracked up to be and they fabricated or set up all of the miracles he performed. As a non-religious person, that wouldn't have bothered me, but as a reader, it would have seemed kind of stale. But that was not what this book was. This book was SO MUCH BETTER.

For one, Christopher Moore was able to write a cynical, kind of assholeish character that I really liked. I didn't just love to hate him, I *liked* him. I wanted everything to turn out well for him and Joshua, and I understood why they stuck by each other's sides for so long. I started feeling sick for him as I got further in the book and I started to realize what was coming next (my only religious education is Jesus Christ Superstar, so when I started recognizing some lyrics from that, I had a pretty good idea of what was coming at the end of the next act). But not only did I like Biff, I liked Joshua. I never thought I would like Jesus as a character, because either he's shown as perfect or as a bit of a letdown, but this version was friendly, likable, and just as lost in this world as every one of us. Most of us aren't expected to bring about the kingdom, though.

It also really speaks to Moore's skills as a storyteller that he utilized one of my biggest pet peeves in historical fiction and I didn't care. When something we, in modern day, know of or use regularly is shown as being "invented" in the past, I usually groan and roll my eyes and seriously consider picking up another book or changing the channel. It's such an overused, annoying trope, but I didn't even care when it was used. I can't even say it was used sparingly because there were actually a few instances in which it's very prevalent and mentioned a lot, but I didn't care. I really did not care. I was amazed to see how easy it was for me to ignore that.

Plus, the book was the perfect length. I'm a moderately fast reader, and I read voraciously once a book sucks me in, and the book lasted me around a week. Most of the time, when I get into a book and I start to like the characters I read so fast that I'm done with it in a day and a half and wishing there was more (though this is the kind of book that doesn't really work with a sequel, which is too bad, because I would love it if I could just read the further adventures of Biff, Joshua and Maggie). I was able to read late into the night and still got a whole week or so with these characters that I loved, and it didn't feel too long. Like, you know, the Bible or something.

I could pick and choose all my favorite passages and go over why I love it so much, but I will just say that I am incredibly glad I decided to buy this. I wasn't going to at first since the Kindle price was not exactly a steal, but I got some birthday money and decided, heck, why not? And for those who might worry it would be offensive to them and their religion (and I have admitted that I am not a religious person, so I could be totally off base here), I don't think this book would be all that offensive. For those who can put aside any historical inaccuracies in favor of a good story (and, while it is clear Moore did his research, a good writer never lets the truth get in the way of a good story), it might be nice to read a story in which Jesus is a relatable protagonist. Just don't take it to church and ask when you're going to get to the Gospel of Biff.
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