From the New York Times bestselling author of Walking the Bible and Abraham comes a revelatory journey across four continents and 4,000 years exploring how Adam and Eve introduced the idea of love into the world, and how they continue to shape our deepest feelings about relationships, family, and togetherness. Since antiquity, one story has stood at the center of every conversation about men and women. One couple has been the battleground for human relationships and sexual identity. That couple is Adam and Eve. Yet instead of celebrating them, history has blamed them for bringing sin, deceit, and death into the world. In this fresh retelling of their story, New York Times columnist and PBS host Bruce Feiler travels from the Garden of Eden in Iraq to the Sistine Chapel in Rome, from John Milton's London to Mae West's Hollywood, discovering how Adam and Eve should be hailed as exemplars of a long-term, healthy, resilient relationship. At a time of discord and fear over the strength of our social fabric, Feiler shows how history's first couple can again be role models for unity, forgiveness, and love. Containing all the humor, insight, and wisdom that have endeared Bruce Feiler to readers around the world, The First Love Story is an unforgettable journey that restores Adam and Eve to their rightful place as central figures in our culture's imagination and reminds us that even our most familiar stories still have the ability to surprise, inspire, and guide us today.
Feiler's focus is not the first sin but rather the first love story, the initial model for all love stories to follow "They can't steal someone else's pickup lines or dance to anyone else's love songs," he writes. "They must write their own story. They must invent what it means to be in a relationship."
Getting ejected from the Garden of Eden was not all bad, according to Feiler. To him it was something akin to a couple leaving their parents and striking out on their own, facing an uncertain future alone but together. They chose love over obedience, he argues.
In addition to Milton, Twain and Hemingway, Feiler looks for insights into this story from the likes of Mae West, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lord Byron, Pope Francis and a host of others less well known.
"Their story is not just about sin, disobedience, ingratitude, squandering their inheritance, and ruining life for the rest of us," Feiler says of Adam and Eve. "Their story is also about originality, forgiveness, bouncing back from calamity and modeling resilience.
"Their story is above love in all its messy carnal, hopeful, resurgent glory."
Feiler, author of such books as “Walking the Bible” and “Abraham,” has made a career out of, in his words, "trying to relate biblical stories to the present." In “The First Love Story,” though some of its interpretations may strike readers as weird, he manages to do this well, making the oldest story of all fresh again.