A couple of the guys that I bowl with on Thursdays suggested this book to me.  And as soon as they started talking about it, it sounded like a book I’d enjoy.  I really enjoyed this book, and Christopher Moore is a very good writer, I’ll definitely be going through more of his books in the future.

Book Stats

437 pages


Stand Alone


This book is the gospel according to Biff, Christ’s childhood pal.  Biff was a really funny character to read about, and the fact that he was always cracking jokes allowed us to watch as Joshua gets more serious and grows into his role as messiah.  (Jesus is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Yeshua, which is Joshua.)  When the book starts both of the characters are 6 years old, and growing up in town they become good friends.  Both of the characters start out acting like immature kids (which they are) but they grow up throughout the course of the story, on two very different paths.  Josh obviously becomes more pious and serious as the book goes on, while Biff remains as sarcastic (Biff actually invents sarcasm in the book, true story) and hedonistic as ever.  This is done very well as the two characters play off of one another for the entirety of the story.  It also allows them to learn some very different skills that they use in various ways throughout the story.  So when they run into trouble (which they do constantly) they are both able to use their various skills to help other people.  Biff is not simply hanging on Josh’s coattails, he is very capable and works to help him throughout the entire book.


Ancient Nazareth and surrounding areas, as well as venturing into China and India.


Everyone always tells the story of Christ’s birth, but then skips ahead to when he is 30 years old before they talk about anything else that happened to him.  Obviously he grew up and experienced a lot of things that helped shape him as a person, and this book is Christopher Moore’s take on those events.  The book starts when the characters are about 6, and when they’re 13 or 14 they leave on a journey so that Josh can learn about what it takes to be the messiah, and what message he should deliver to his people.  To start their journey, they seek out the 3 wise men who visited Christ when he was born and study under each of them for a number of years.  This works brilliantly as you see how Josh’s attitude is slowly shaped from being a bit of a punk to a very patient and wise man.


When I was told about this book, the first thing I was told was how funny certain aspects of it were.  Early on Josh decides he wants to know about sex, but since he is forbidden from knowing a woman, he buys prostitutes for Biff and then has Biff try to explain what it felt like.  There are dozens of jokes in this book that will have you laughing out loud.  One of my favorites in the book is when they are in India talking to the “untouchables” and Josh has to poke every one he meets, because he loved the irony.  While the humor in the book was the selling point for me to buy it, and while it’s where most people would stop in talking about the book, it would be wrong to dismiss this as simply a humor book.  Moore has serious chops as a writer, and it shows, even as you’re laughing.  I talked about how they studied with the wise men, learning different things, this plays off beautifully at the end of the book as Biff is doing everything he can to save Josh and stop him from getting crucified (we all know how that worked out).  There’s also something to be said for the humor in the book.  This book is hilarious, and if you don’t laugh there is something wrong with you.  But there weren’t any jokes in the entire book that felt forced.  Everything had a purpose, worked within the framework of the story, and made you laugh.  This is the first book by Christopher Moore that I’ve read, and it definitely will not be the last.

Also, while Moore says in the acknowledgements that he had Josh and Biff go to India and China simply because he thought it would be a good story, there is some basis in truth that this happened.  In my Greek Mythology class years ago my prof talked about how there was some evidence that Jesus actually did travel to India during his life, as this was compared in part with Dionysus, who also travelled away from Greece according to their myths.

Overall Grade

While it’s easy to dismiss this book as nothing more than a joke, there is a depth and quality to the writing that is hard to find in most humor books.  I highly suggest this book.


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  1. beckyday6

     /  February 19, 2012

    This book sounds excellent, I’m definitely going to check it out 🙂

  2. One of my all-time faves. I’ve read a few other books by Moore, but this is by far his best (that I’ve read). Glad the book found another fan.


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