Nonbelieving Literati: Lamb  

Thursday, November 01, 2007



This month's book for the Nonbelieving Literati group is Lamb: The gospel according to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. The characters were funny, even hilarious at times. I enjoyed and cared about the fates of Biff, Josh, and Maggie. I enjoyed reading about the supporting characters, especially the very off-beat disciples. But as I reached the end of the book I was expecting something... more. I cringe to say it, but I was even a little disappointed.

It seemed like Biff's gospel, his story, ended in a rush. After all the time spent on childhood, I expected something more outlandish. And what happened to Maggie after Biff was gone? I realize she wasn't the central character and Biff wouldn't have known, so the author would have had to lengthen the ending, perhaps drawing out the conclusion too much, but I wanted to know.

And, if angels are really that mentally challenged then I really don't think all of those people who claim to have an angel watching over them should be happy or proud of the fact.

I suppose I should admit to a predisposed bias towards the religion in the book, mostly that it was real. I guess I was hoping for a different interpretation. But the book was fun and you should try giving it a read. But enough of what I thought about the writing of the book.

The central message was good - Josh was about accepting everyone, not just a specific subset of people and he was the sacrifice because he wanted to do away with God's sacrifice. Those were some worthy ideas to bring into the story. They are the most positive, appealing tenets of Christianity.

One thing I don't think Moore ever touched on was the afterlife. Biff just wakes up one day when the angel resurrects him. He has no idea of anything that happened after his death. Since we don't know what happened to Maggie maybe there's another explanation. But I wonder, did this new religion then get pulled off its tracks after Josh's death? Was it intended to be more about how we live our lives rather than what we can hope for after death?

And I guess that's my disappointment. I wanted those questions answered more clearly. I wanted a Priscus so I could know what was going on in the author's head. Of course, I could have just missed it.

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And that brings us to the next selection. The Exterminator asked me to pick the next book and after much deliberating I've selected The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. Now, as much as I complained about the religion above, this is very much a religious book. In fact, there are a lot of parallels. It's also deeply disturbing in many ways as the author explores what it means to be human. I hope everyone will like it. I'm assuming we're aiming to complete by December 15.

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7 comments: to “ Nonbelieving Literati: Lamb

  • John Evo-Mid
    Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 12:29:00 PM CDT  

    O'Girl said: "I suppose I should admit to a predisposed bias towards the religion in the book, mostly that it was real. I guess I was hoping for a different interpretation."

    Seems like a related to complaint to the one the Exterminator had. See, that just doesn't bother me, I guess. I don't really care if Moore is actually a believer. He CERTAINLY doesn't believe in any Christianity that I see been practiced, and he makes subtle (and not so subtle) fun of just about every current interpretation. I just had fun with the book rather than looking at deeper motives.

    The Sparrow should be in my hands tomorrow. It'll be a while until I get to it. But a bird in the hand is worth two in bush.

  • Spanish Inquisitor
    Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 12:41:00 PM CDT  

    You want answers. From a novel. I feel the same way. About the original gospels. I want answers, and the Bible doesn't give them. But they're fiction too, so what can we expect, beyond a little entertainment. At least Moore makes us laugh.

    Interesting choice for the next book. I never heard of it before, so ...off we go to Amazon, or better yet, half.com, for a copy.

  • The Exterminator
    Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 1:02:00 PM CDT  

    Thanks for selecting the next book. From what I've read in the brief blurb at Amazon about The Sparrow, it looks like an interesting choice.

    December 15 sounds fine.

  • ordinarygirl
    Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 2:00:00 PM CDT  

    John: I didn't want to feel that way. I'm aware it's fiction. But I did. I couldn't help it.

    SI: Yep, I know, silly isn't it? I didn't really expect answers from the book. I just hoped that something unexpected would happen at the end to make me like the ending better. It was sad and I really felt for Biff at the end. But I kind of felt like I was left hanging.

  • Spanish Inquisitor
    Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 4:37:00 PM CDT  

    And, if angels are really that mentally challenged then I really don't think all of those people who claim to have an angel watching over them should be happy or proud of the fact.

    I think that angel makes a reappearance in aptly named "The Stupidest Angel".

  • John Evo-Mid
    Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 4:49:00 PM CDT  

    "I'm aware it's fiction."

    No it's not. It's the 5th Gospel!

  • The Ridger, FCD
    Sunday, November 25, 2007 at 12:17:00 PM CST  

    Yes, Raziel is mentally challenged, but Moore makes a point of saying he is "the stupidest angel".

    I had an advantage in that I read the author's afterword first (yes, I know I'm not supposed to) and he says there that "theologically, I made certain assumptions about who Jesus was, mainly that he was who the Gospels say he was." So I wasn't expecting King Jesus or Dan Brown. I also fully expect another book by Moore in which we find out what happened to Maggie (though we might not get it); he does like to bring characters back. Or forward. Catch is in his first novel, after all.

    I liked the way Moore explored the paradox of Jesus' teachings being so counter to what everyone of his day expected him to say. The spiritual evolution, so to speak, of a religion.

    But knowing Moore, I wasn't looking for answers.

 

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