Book Review~ First Family

Title: First Family
Author: Alice Langholt
Genre: Biblical Fiction
Length:  146 Pages
Purchase: Amazon

You may have heard the story of Adam and Eve. But, the biblical account leaves many questions unanswered. How did Eve entice Adam to eat that fateful fruit? What did God think about their disobedience? How did they figure out how to survive outside the garden? What did Eve think about being pregnant? What were Cain and Abel like as kids, and how did they get along with their parents? Why did Abel and Cain decide to make an offering to God, and what were God's reasons for rejecting Cain's? What happened when Cain killed Abel, and what was it like for Adam and Eve to discover what had happened? 

First Family is a modern language journey through the story of Adam and Eve, told by the characters themselves, as they fill in the gaps in the story with breathtakingly real first person descriptions of growth, discoveries, angst, joy, determination, and heart. First Family is today's voice for the story behind the familiar story of Adam and Eve. Themes of love, loss, grief and faith will resonate with every reader. 

Author's note: To clear up any confusion - this is not a "modern day" take on Adam and Eve. (I mean, how weird would that be, them texting each other and driving around in the garden? Like, huh??) I give the characters voices by letting them express themselves in first person accounts that unfold the familiar story, while filling in the gaps left in the biblical version. (Readers have particularly liked the Snake's and God's chapters). 

View videos of author and collaborator reading excerpts from First Family on YouTube at http://tinyurl.com/firstfamily-readings

I always endeavor to be honest in these reviews. So I'll honestly tell you that this book was incredibly difficult for me to read and I almost quit several times. Not because of readability, but because I'm a devout Christian and some of the big theological inaccuracies really bothered me. It's a fascinating concept and the writing style is fantastic, but I don't think it's one for those of us Biblical purists. 

The voice of God parts especially bothered me. The tone and overall attitude really got to me. I almost felt blasphemous just reading them. I can't describe it very well, but those parts especially I had to walk away from multiple times. I don't think God's POV is something that should be messed with. 

Another thing that really stuck out to me as bothersome is the way that Eve is painted throughout. It really just rubbed me the wrong way. She seems to be entirely at fault for The Fall and completely disconnected from God. The reason that this bothers me so much-especially on how the fruit was partaken of-is that both had the free will to choose it. The verse is Genesis 3:6 "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it."  

In the book, however, Eve essentially tricks him into eating it. I couldn't get over that. I understand that this is fiction and liberties will of course be taken, but some things just shouldn't be messed with. That, I think, bothered me the most. It completely undermines the idea of temptation and free will. 

Despite all of that, I did enjoy the writing style and the overall idea of the story. I enjoyed getting to think about Eve's despair whilst mourning the loss of her son. I loved the ponderings about everything being new and different, completely undiscovered. Those things were certainly redeeming. I think that for people that see the Bible as more of a book than anything else will enjoy and get the most out of this one. Those of us that see it as the Living Word of God may have a harder time of it.