“The science you do not know looks like magic.”
Nate Quinn is a marine biologist who studies whale songs and his partner Clay is the underwater photographer. They have been set up in Hawaii for years and Clay hires a wanna be native, Kona, although his real name is Prestin Applebaum and he’s from New Jersey. They also have a research assistant, Amy, who they all agree looks fantastic from behind. The ‘Old Broad’ funding their research can hear the whales and lets them know when one lets her know he wants a pastrami on rye.
One day Nate sees a whale with Bite Me written boldly across his fluke. He takes a picture, but it never comes back from the photo lab. Their lab and boat are trashed and Clay almost drowns. When Amy sees Nate swallowed by a whale mahem ensues. The whole second part of this book after Nate is swallowed is a sci-fi story under the sea.
I liked it, but didn’t love it. It made me laugh out loud more than once and the characters were quirky and fun. The first part of the book I felt like I waited a long time for something to happen and when something did happen I wan’t sure how much I liked it. Read it if you like Moore’s other books or if you want to know why the whales sing. I would tell you here, but if I had to read the book to find out, so do you.
This is a book that I would not have picked up on my own. I don’t think I have a very good sense of humor when it comes to God or Jesus and the title alone might have offended me. But, my friend Mark recommended it and that alone was enough for me to try it out. I also felt better about it since Moore is a born and bred Buckeye (although he has left ‘paradise’ to suffer through the hardships of living in Hawaii and San Francisco :) ). Anyway, on to Levi also called Biff and Joshua who is Jesus.
Biff has been brought back to the land of the living some 2000 years later so that he can set the record straight on Joshua’s childhood and young adulthood. The gospels of the New Testament leave out Biff and now Biff must write his own gospel about his time as Joshua’s best friend and constant companion from the age of six. Biff was brought back and watched over by the angel, Raziel, and the interplay between the two is hysterical.
Biff starts with when he and Joshua met when they were six. Joshua was bringing a lizard back to life after his brother killed it. After that they became inseparable. Mary had told Joshua he was the Son of God, but when you are six what does that mean? He and Biff spent their childhoods being boys and loving Mary Magdalene called Maggie. This section of the book really brought to life the landscape, the people, and the politics of the time.
Joshua decides he needs to travel to find the three wise men of his storied birth and Biff goes with him. After all who will do all the lying, cheating, and sinning that is necessary? As Joshua and Biff travel east to find each of the wise men we see where Joshua learns to be the Messiah. He and Biff’s many adventures will have you laughing and wishing that you too had a best friend as loyal as Biff.
As they make their way back home the story becomes intertwined with the gospels and Biff tries to explain what Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John got right and what they missed. Biff’s story ends and we find out why he was left out of the New Testament altogether.
Moore writes with a light touch that is full of sarcasm and wit. Given the subject matter I was surprised that Moore was able to bring so much humor and still respect the nature of Jesus. I could have done without Biff trying to explain sex to Joshua (although this may be more of a girl thing) and I didn’t like the swearing, especially in the last third of the book. Actually, I loved the book up until the point when they return to Nazareth, but at that point it lost some of its heart in my opinion. It was still worth the read and I’d still recommend it, because you’ll never meet another character like Biff.
I really enjoyed this book, although it probably is not for everyone. If you think you have a wicked sense of humor or can take a certain amount of irreverence then you should give it a try. You will laugh out loud, guaranteed. Thanks for the recommendation, Mark. You’ve helped add to my must read author list.