It’s this question ('If that’s not love, what is?') that Feiler brilliantly explores...Feiler examines each particular and how these particulars are newly understood in each generation. In short, you get the Adam and Eve you deserve ... It’s the best sort of exegesis, with Feiler finding Adam and Eves all over the modern world ... Feiler plunges into this thicket with verve, intelligence and style. He’s done a miraculous thing, the literary equivalent of breathing life into a figure made of clay — taken a story I’ve been hearing since services were held in the old sanctuary and made me experience it again as if for the first time.
I was surprised to find The First Love Story working against my assumptions in the best ways. The author’s tone is iconoclastic and curious, not reverential and dour. Instead of examining a stale myth, Feiler shows how Adam and Eve have always been and continue to be mutable, rebooted through the ages to suit their times like comic book superheroes ... If all of this rooting through old stories and art sounds a bit dry, it isn’t. Feiler adeptly breaths life into what might have been a dusty intellectual history ... I sometimes wished he’d slow down and settle for a bit longer, though doing so might have yielded a Bible-length tome. The most powerful aspect of The First Love Story is how it positions Adam and Eve as role models for romantics and rebels both.
Throughout the book, Feiler makes a strong argument that Adam and Eve had an outsize influence on modern thinking about various facets of relationships ... Much of The First Love Story is spent swimming around in others’ interpretations of Adam and Eve. Perhaps because there is such precious little written about them in the Bible, Feiler had no choice but to plumb others’ thoughts on the matter ... And that, ultimately, is my quibble with this exhaustively researched, lyrically written book. So many pages are spent arguing that Adam and Eve are meaningful to modern readers, but precious few are spent conveying that practical relevance. So the book can get bogged down ... The First Love Story is not a foolproof guide on how to succeed in love. But it will make readers want to try.