There are roughly 30 years of Jesus's life that are unaccounted for. Oh, there's the one story about him teaching in the temple when he was 12, but other than that, he was born and then he started his ministry around the age of 30. Christopher Moore has fun imagining what exactly Jesus--or Joshua, as Moore chooses to use the Hebrew name--might have gotten up to in the in-between years.
I know what I'm thinking but I'm having trouble finding the right words. I think if you're going to be offended by this book, the title will turn you off right away. And that's obviously okay. But there might be a few people out there like me, who are thinking, "I'm pretty open-minded. I think I can handle it. But I do have lines that I don't want to have crossed, and Moore could cross them easily." I was okay with what he wrote here. Joshua is still absolutely the Son of God, without sin, sent to save mankind from our sins. That is never questioned. If it had been, I would have had to put the book down. But he does have fun, love, and learn from people from many countries and religions. That's the best I can do as far as the is-it-offensive-to-Christians thing.
On to the good parts!
I loved Biff! I wanted to reach into the pages and smack him upside the head a few times, but usually when that happened another character stepped in and smacked him for me. He was a horny, cheerful smartass who could teach dogs a thing or two about loyalty. He spends his entire life following Joshua around and trying to make sure that he stays out of trouble. He can always get Joshua laughing when he falls into a funk. I was laughing right along with them. Oh! And he taught me a new word: doofuscosity. I've already used it on my husband.
The angel Raziel was fun too. He's the one making Biff write his gospel as they sit in a modern-day hotel room, and his TV addiction is hilarious! He doesn't understand that soap operas aren't real, so he cries and gets upset when bad things happen to the characters. My favorite part is when he becomes a wrestling fan and starts talking smack. Then there was a whole passage of Biff asking questions like, "How many peeps in a posse, how much booty before baby got back, do you have to be all that to get all up in that, and do I need to be dope and phat to be da bomb or can I just be 'stupid'?"
Biff and Joshua spend a lot of their time on a quest, and their adventures were full of laughs. Well, Joshua is busy learning, but Biff gets up to all kinds of misadventures.
It was kind of fun to play "spot the scripture." I'm a Christian, but no one would ever accuse me of being a Biblical scholar. I probably missed some things, but it was fun to see where Joshua gets the ideas for things he later puts in parables and sermons.
I had a good time reading this, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I actually liked it. If you're curious, I would conditionally recommend it. But you read that part already.
Here is an essay Moore wrote about where he got the idea and what he was trying to do when he wrote this book.