The Bible famously tells the story of Jesus’ birth, then we hear nothing more about him until he is in his thirties. This story is an amusing, light-hearted speculation on what may have happened during those thirty-something years, told from the perspective of Biff, Jesus’ childhood pal and one of the considerably lesser-known disciples.
I was raised Church of England, not the most fanatical of churches, so I know a little of the Bible, but I am a bit of a heathen, so I cannot say for certain quite how much of this book is made up. Moore offers explanations for many of the more famous (but vague) parts of the Bible, though, and many of the references are clear enough even for me to get.
Biff and Jesus go off around the world, learning about all the existing religions that may have been prevalent at that time. This is a great explanation for how and why Christian philosophy so heavily builds on ancient religions. Moore also explains why the Christian diet allows pig, and why many Jewish Americans eat Chinese on Christmas Day. There are lots of great jokes in there, probably only offensive to the stubbornest of staunch Christians (who just should not read it). Moore cannot resist the obvious “were you born in a barn?” joke but all of them are subtle and clever, and will make you groan and then laugh.
Moore’s character of Biff is brilliant, and Jesus is (predictably) adorable. I loved the book, it was funny and I learnt something about history, my two favourite things in a book.