4 out of 4 stars
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Have you ever wondered if Adam had felt lonely before Eve came into being? Did the snake entice Eve to eat the forbidden fruit? Or was she inclined to do so herself? Once banished from the Eden, how did they survive? How was Cain and Abel’s childhood? Did they grow up like two normal siblings, or did they have any special ability as God’s grandchildren? The answers can be found in Alice Langholt’s novel First Family, an intriguing narration featuring the very first family on Earth.
Before going into details, I should mention that I haven’t read the Bible. My meager knowledge on the Biblical stories is based solely on books and movies depicting the same. Moreover, I personally believe in evolution, not in Creation. Surprisingly enough, this helped me read the book with an open mind and I loved every bit of it.
Narrated from the perspective of all the characters, the story puts the readers in everyone’s shoes, including God’s. The smooth flow of the book kept me engrossed from start to end.
The major theme that kept surfacing throughout the book is contrast. While Adam is absolutely reliant on God and will do anything for His favors, Eve is strong-willed and does not seek His appreciation. Adam is cautious in nature, but Eve wants to explore. Abel is kind and obedient while Cain is headstrong and proud. Each character with its unique attributes made a lasting impression. I could easily sympathize with Adam’s insecurity, Cain’s resentment over the lack of appreciation from God, or Eve’s despair at the loss of her boys. Even the snake’s perspective showed why he was continually in a war with God.
I absolutely loved the portrayal of God. I always had this idea that banishing Adam and Eve from the garden was a form of punishment. This story shows that God actually let them make their own way into the world. An affectionate father, He was always there, looking out for His children. Though affected by their distress, He never interfered in their life so that they could learn to be self-reliant.
Another interesting aspect of this book is that the author repeatedly emphasizes the importance of free will, stating that we are supposed to make our own choices. We should not rely on divine intervention at every problem or should not blame God for every single thing that goes wrong, instead should learn to take responsibility for our actions. I was glad that the author never tried to preach anything. She just tells a story, and the readers are free to make their own judgment.
To be honest, I could not find a single negative aspect in this book. The absence of any grammatical or typing error shows that it was professionally edited. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Those who are interested in the Biblical story can take up First Family. This is undoubtedly a perfect book for readers who believe in the story of Creation. However, in my opinion, the non-believers will equally enjoy the novel.
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