The Garden by Elsie V. Aidinoff
In the beginning, God created everything: the earth and sea, the sky, the animals...and Adam and Eve. Eve narrates this story of her childhood in Eden, where Adam is raised by God, and she is tutored by the Serpent, who is possibly the only thing that God did not create.
Eve learns to think, to reason, and to question. She explores the entire Garden, and then, assisted by the Serpent, she explores the world outside the Garden in preparation for the days ahead when she and Adam will go out into the world and away from the direct influence of God.
The bones of the story are familiar: Eve and Adam eat the forbidden fruit and are expelled from Eden. But the author explores the motivations, the questions, and the possibilities that the old story does not address: if they know the fruit is forbidden by God, why would Eve offer it to Adam, and why would he accept it?
This book invites the readers to ask questions and challenge their own long-held assumptions. There is a disturbing scene mid-way with some sexual and violent content which may upset sensitive readers.
The Garden will certainly be controversial, and is an excellent choice for book groups who like to argue about what they read. For readers ages 14 and up.