Young Adult Literature


The Garden
by Elsie V. Aidinoff


From School Library Journal
Grade 11 Up–A revision of the Fall as written in Genesis, The Garden is told from the perspective of Eve, a quizzical woman who questions everything from her own "birth" to God's authority. Aloof and careless, Adam is the more physical of the two; he enjoys the paradise of Eden, running with the antelope each day, never paying attention to the lessons that his didactic God has to offer. The two other characters in the novel are God, an authoritarian who views his children as toys, and the Serpent, his close friend and Eve's kind and understanding mentor. By writing from Eve's point of view, Aidinoff proffers an alternate perspective on an old story, but, unfortunately, the book ends up reinforcing old ideas, that women are more "emotional" and men more "physical." In the climax of the story, God impulsively, in an effort to see the fruits of his creativity and labor, forces Adam upon Eve. This rape leads Eve to distrust God and eventually–with the Serpent's help–leave the Garden. The Genesis story has incredible revisionist possibilities, but the characters here are flat and uninteresting, and the simplistic dialogue is not compelling. Ultimately, the author's effort to retell the "Fall" in a fresh way frankly falls, and fails to do just that.–Kelly Berner Richards, St. George's School, Newport, RI 
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-ALA Best Book for Young Adults