4 out of 4 stars
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While many people have grown up reading or hearing the biblical stories contained in Genesis 1-4, I can assure you that Alice Langholt will provide you with a fresh perspective on this often-overlooked narrative. First Family is written entirely in first person, as we watch the stories of Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, and God weave together to form a complex tapestry of love, creation, sin, consequences, and glimmers of redemption.
From the moment Adam takes his first breath in the garden, Langholt conveys his personality through thoughts and actions. As he discovers the prick of a thorn or the joy of a splashing brook, we are invited to join in Adam's wide-eyed discovery of each physical and emotional sensation we take for granted. Colors, sounds, and feelings are all new to him as he wanders the gardens and communes with God. As he names each animal and tends to the garden, however, he becomes slowly aware that although each animal has a mate, he is lacking a partner of his own.
Just as we are starting to feel comfortable with Adam and his quirks, God creates Eve from a rib in Adam's side and the world is forever changed. Langholt brilliantly conveys the sharp contrast of Eve's personality, with her never-ending questions and burning desire to know more about the world around her, to Adam's more relaxed confidence in God's care and protection. Eve's explorations soon turn into disaster, however, as she meets the Serpent and is lured into eating the one fruit that God explicitly banned his children from consuming.
After Adam and Eve are expelled from the garden, Langholt introduces our final two human characters, Cain and Abel. We read about the joys and sorrows of motherhood from Eve's perspective, and the overwhelming responsibilities of fatherhood from the view of Adam. Langholt paints two polar opposite brothers in Cain and Abel, as we follow their growth and maturity into young men. In a stunning climax, we witness the first human death on the planet and the myriad of emotions that are unleashed because of it.
Overall, Langholt provides a gripping, well-written story that will resonate deeply with anyone who believes in the biblical truths of Genesis. Even for non-Christians, this book still remains, at its core, a story about the overwhelmingly complicated highs and lows of this existence we call humanity. Mistake-free and relatively short, I would recommend this book as an excellent read for anyone 13 and older. I rate First Family 4 out of 4 stars.
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