3 out of 4 stars
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I always get excited when an author gives an unconventional perspective to a popular story. This is what we see Alice Langholt do with the novel First Family. When I saw the little description about this book, I thought it was going to be an historical fiction – in fact that’s what prompted me to get the book. But as I started reading, I realized it wasn’t what I thought it was.
The novel opens up with the story of Him (that’s the name this personality was initially given). Him explores the surrounding he suddenly finds himself and absorbs every experience carefully. We were not told how Him came about. After some days of exploration, Her (the name she was initially given), Him’s companion, came into the picture to serve as Him’s companion as that was the only thing Him’s amazing world lacked. The next entity that surfaces is the Snake. This one deceives ‘Her’ into transgressing against the law of God, and she causes her husband to do the same.
I can imagine you are asking, ‘is this not the story of Adam and Eve?’ While you are right, you are not entirely right. It is the story of Adam and Eve as the author reveals their identity after they were pursued out of the Garden. First Family made me realize that we really do not know what Adam and Eve faced after their exit from the Garden of Eden. How Eve’s bleeding from her monthly period would have scared the hell out of them. How Adam might have fallen sick and Eve would have been clueless in regard to taking care of him. How we might be wrong in our judgment of Cain without knowing his feelings.
I love the way the novel was written. Every character (including God) shared their thoughts and feelings. This made it very easy to connect with everyone of them. Surprisingly, I connected more with the character of Cain than with any other. I felt his anger and pain. After reading this novel, I really didn’t blame him for what he did. The portrayal of these characters is one awesome quality of this book. The number one quality is the plot in the story. Though the book is a fiction, the story seemed very reasonable and realistic. The characters were ignorant of what they should have been ignorant of – being the first set of individuals on earth.
The issues I had majorly have to do with my beliefs though. I don’t want to say much to avoid spoilers, but I would have preferred it if the character of God wasn’t represented here at all. This portrayed God’s mode of thinking in the manner of man’s (I can’t blame the author though, this is what religion is all about – the concept of God that man can relate with). For example, why could God not be empathetic with Cain and connect with his feelings? Well, I guess that’s the dealings of the God of man – religion. The book requires some patience because the beginning was a little fuzzy and boring. I think the author should have used the original names of Adam and Eve. I really didn’t see the point of using the pronoun instead. The book would have been more interesting if there was more conversation between the characters. What we saw was more of the characters soliloquizing.
I would have rated the book perfect, but my convictions won’t allow me to. Therefore, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It’s grammar is flawless and very simple. I couldn’t have rated it lower because that would be so ridiculous. It’s indeed a great book as it has something to teach everyone, but I strongly recommend this to religious people. Thank you for your time.
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