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A Children's Bible

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  14,561 ratings  ·  2,199 reviews
Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet’s sublime new novel—her first since the National Book Award long-listed Sweet Lamb of Heaven—follows a group of twelve eerily mature children on a forced vacation with their families at a sprawling lakeside mansion.

Contemptuous of their parents, who pass their days in a stupor of liquor, drugs, and sex, the children feel neglected and s
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published May 12th 2020 by W. W. Norton Company
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Rat It really needs to be handled on a case by case biases. If the 14-year old is an avid reader and able to maturely contemplate the meaning behind novel…moreIt really needs to be handled on a case by case biases. If the 14-year old is an avid reader and able to maturely contemplate the meaning behind novels I would say yes. If the 14-year old is more into YA, maybe stick to YA. But at the end of the day if they want to read it, just let them read it, if they have any questions let them know you're there. Remember, we live in the age where anything is available online, I really don't think a 14-year old will be scarred or anything. (less)

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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  14,561 ratings  ·  2,199 reviews

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Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love the premise and the use of first person plural. More layered than you might think. It’s a story about precious teenagers who are simply over their parents and then it becomes something else entirely. I think there could have been more development of the catalytic event and it’s aftermath. The ending starts to unravel. But still, I loved this book and couldn’t put it down. Despite what didn’t work, I believed in the narrator and the rest of the kids. Really smart writing, too.
A Children’s Bible is a weird shapeshifter of a novel. It morphs in gradual, surprising ways as you read. I enjoyed this aspect so much that I highly recommend going in cold—don’t even read the blurb!—with the caveat that, if you like your fiction strictly realistic, this might not be the book for you.

But if you are reading this review, it might already be too late for that. So, without giving away more than the blurb already does, A Children’s Bible is a wry, literary coming of age tale, in
Jul 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Finalist for the 2020 National Book Awards!

That was the sad thing about my molecules: they wouldn’t remember him.

The world ravaged by climate change, society thrashing in its death throes, a possible pandemic looming...a few years ago this might have seemed to some like the works of speculative apocalyptic fiction (or a natural prediction of the future to others). Lydia Millet’s newest novel, A Children’s Bible, tackles this potential future in a utterly engaging story that juxtaposes the yout
Chelsea Humphrey
Jan 05, 2020 marked it as dnf-lost-interest
DNF @ 30%

*sobbing* I adore Lydia Millet, and her novel Sweet Lamb of Heaven is one of the most memorable books I've ever read, but I think this particular book of hers just isn't for me. I will be anxiously awaiting her future releases though, and remain a hardcore fan.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
Diane S ☔
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Biblical apocalypse, climate Armageddon, Lord of the Flies and a little of The Road, with Pandora box thrown in for good measure. If you read this you will see where these references fit and maybe have a few of your own. What a story, a story that takes much from today's concerns and multiplies them.

I'm going to say only a little about the story itself, I think that is better for future readers. There are parents, hedonistic, freely imbibing and showing little concern for their children. The ch
Ron Charles
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In the beginning, the kids are alright. The adults, though, are already sliding toward Sodom and Gomorrah.

That’s the starting point of Lydia Millet’s novel “A Children’s Bible,” which offers a bracing reflection on the generational conflict playing out in the atmosphere. I swear on a stack of copies that it’s a blistering little classic: “Lord of the Flies” for a generation of young people left to fend for themselves on their parents’ rapidly warming planet.

Millet writes brilliantly about everyt
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tob21
5+ out of 5.
Sometimes you read a book that strikes at your present moment more forcefully than the author could've ever imagined. A CHILDREN'S BIBLE is that kind of book, and if there's any justice, this is the book that people are going to come out of the coronavirus quarantine holding up as The Book of this time.

A bunch of rich (or rich-ish) parents descend on a big house for a summer vacation with all of their kids. Evie, one of the oldest, narrates a scene of debauchery and semi-idyll: the k
May 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
It’s tough to make light of anything these days. Sure, you could turn to social media for some clever memes and a quick laugh. But those are rooted in fear, one that has sadly united us, dulled our perceptions of brightness down to a perpetually overcast state. What’s more, we’re on edge more than ever; jokes that would delight most are falling flat, missing their mark. “Too soon,” they’d retort.

But then I think about our current tumultuous state of affairs – or, really, any tumultuous state of
Oct 15, 2020 rated it liked it
National Book Award for Fiction Shortlist 2020. First of all this is NOT a bible. Instead, Millet has written a dystopian tale where twelve children are far more mature than their alcohol-, drug, and sex-obsessed parents. The negligent parents have rented a huge house for the summer and have left the children to fend for themselves. Not surprisingly, both the parents’ and their children’s lives become forever altered when a severe storm strikes and society begins to break down.

There are striking
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jan 25, 2021 rated it liked it
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: Ron Charles
This novel from the Tournament of Books shortlist starts with a multi-family vacation on the coast, with parents that are a bit absentee and children who talk like they have PhDs. A storm comes and along the way it starts to become clear that these are not normal times or circumstances, and it rolls over into an apocalypse journey/survival tale. If the tone of this post comes across as unimpressed, that is an accurate interpretation. Add the wandering tropes to heavy handed allegory (a girl name ...more
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shortlisted for the 2021 TOB.

They are the children of the elite, on holidays with their parents in a huge mansion. And yet the children become bored, day in, day out, watching their parents get drunk, and lounge around. Each parent embarrassing their child. The parents neglect to even acknowledge their children, so the children decide to strike out on their own leaving their languorous mothers and fathers behind to themselves.

While reading this I could not help but be constantly reminded of Will
Michael Finocchiaro
Sort of a Lord of the Flies meets the fourth season of the Walking Dead, A Children’s Bible is a fable about climate change, neglectful parents and the invincible optimism of children. It is rather a dark portrayal of adulthood with parents who have completely abdicated their roles in raising kids. The apocalyptic background sort of parallels the Bible stories which Jack reads along the way. The protagonist is his sister Evie who has pluck and grit and bears through the many catastrophes being a ...more
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
A beautifully flowing and wonderful book about a group of teens, thrown together by their parents during a group family vacation, who band together against the drunken and irresponsible adults around them. It begins as a story about how kids view their parents and flows into a complex story about how the young people survive and take charge of an apocalyptic world. Eve’s little brother has a children’s bible, and the world around them mimics the things he reads about, including Noah and the floo ...more
May 30, 2020 rated it liked it
In this broken, topsy-turvey world it’s no wonder that authors gravitate to the loss of innocence as a theme – particularly children turned feral. I recently finished The Luminous Republic and that book was still very much in my mind as I read A Children’s Bible.

In almost disconcertingly spare and emotionless prose (another commonality with The Luminous Republic), Lydia Millet paints a world where adults and children are distinctly at odds. The parents, close college friends, decide to go on an
Dec 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2020
I'm a huge Millet fan, and a devourer of all things dystopian and apocalyptic but this one felt a little paint by numbers for me. The Biblical parallels seemed pretty anvil-like (although there are undoubtedly more than I noticed), and the central theme - of a generation of adults who has failed the earth and its own children - is repeated with a rather monotonous insistence. There is no change or nuance in this dynamic.

Neither is there much variation or development in character among the gaggle
In an age where the young justifiably blame the old for the devastation of the planet, this dystopian tale of youthful alienation and environmental apocalypse resonated deeply with me.

A group of self-indulgent and wealthy parents, enjoying a two month summer sea-side debauch, are so dazed by sex, alcohol and drugs they barely notice the end-times arrive. Their children, far more canny, are left to fend for themselves.

The story, narrated by the sharp-eyed, cynical Eve, grabbed me from the first
Apr 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars — My feelings about “Generation Z” can roughly be divided into Pre-Parkland vs. Post-Parkland .

(I'm referring to Parkland, Florida and the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 that inspired the student survivors to rise up and demand common-sense gun reform laws). 

Pre-Parkland : Shallow, semi-literate spoiled brats always glued to their phones and counting Instagram followers.

Post-Parkland : Okay, maybe that was a little harsh. They're not that bad. The
Alison Hardtmann
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley

When a group of people who went to college together rent a house for the summer, all the kids are relegated to bunk in the attic. As they watch their parents behave very badly, they decide to band together and to refuse all parental involvement for the summer. Evie is fifteen and she keeps an eye on her little brother, her parents being all too willing to ignore the children in favor of drinking and being with their old friends. When disaster in the form of a hurricane strikes, the children disc
Erin Glover
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-stars
I've never understood why Lydia Millet isn't more famous. This novel did not change my sentiment.

A group of families get together one summer and rent a mansion, the Great House, by the sea. From the very beginning, the children, most of whom are 16 and 17, do everything possible to distance themselves from their parents. They play a game the object of which is to prevent their friends from finding out to which parents they belong. "Hiding our parentage was a leisure pursuit, but one we took seri
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
wowzy this book is out! you can read it too! (i missed the subtext entirely when i read it. i'm so ashamed).


i can't even begin to imagine what the world will be like when this book comes out. let me take this back, since it's only a month from now. i imagine it will be pretty much as it is now, except many more people dead.

which leads me to say, maybe don't read this if anxiety keeps you up nights. wait a bit. read whatever makes you sleep. escape.

lydia millet has been writing about the
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Maybe it's because I'm a parent but I found this book to be simplistic and insulting. It's a story about the end of the world brought on by climate change where the children are portrayed as intelligent, responsible, organized and mature and the parents are essentially stoners who have allowed this thing to happen.

Climate change had been happening long before the current crop of parents were out of diapers themselves and the reasons are more political than personal. It is very much tied to capit
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars: “A Children’s Bible” by Lydia Millet is at heart a climate change cautionary tale with a “Lord of the Rings” spirit. The children in this story hold their parents primarily responsible for all the environmental ills, accusing them of hedonism and ignorance. This is almost a dystopian tale of the future with climate change accounting for the destruction of the earth.

The story isn’t all bleak. Our narrator is Evie, a teen on a summer vacation at “the big house” with multiple families. T
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
I can’t decide if releasing a speculative fiction novel about a pandemic during a pandemic is the best marketing ever or the worst.

Personally, I didn’t particularly care for it. And do I need to add a pandemic trigger warning to this? I long for the days of 6 months ago when no such question would have even occurred to me.

But pandemic or not, the review must go on.

The Children’s Bible has its moments. The humor is quite good for the most part, as are many of the wry observations made by our ch
Proustitute (somewhat here, somewhat there)
Once we had let them do everything for us—assumed they would. Then came the day we didn’t want them to.

Still later we found out that they hadn’t done everything at all. They’d left out the important part.

And it was known as: the future.
An eerily prescient parable about the schisms between parents and children, as—headed into an unknown (and increasingly violent) future due to climate change, a hinted-at pandemic, and government inaction—parents drink to drown their sorrows and forget their p
Darryl Suite
Sep 24, 2020 rated it liked it
This book took a long time to get going. It took about 40 pages for me to get into its rhythm. I think it had to do with the jaded tone of the narrator. It slowed things down and it became tiring after awhile. By the way, jaded and deadpan narrators in these kind of stories seem to be trendy right now (Severance, Weather).

A Children's Bible did manage to go into really surprising directions. And ⅔ into the book was actually pretty terrifying. But there was something missing. To be honest, I thin
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
3.5 stars Millet is obviously a strong writer. The messages here are ones that are prominent these days - the irresponsible adults ruining the environment and the future of the world for the younger generations. The book is vague on the details, but climate change leads to a cataclysmic storm that the characters survive, but somehow very quickly disrupts society. A lot of the narrative from there on out follows a Hollywood movie-type arc of societal breakdown and a battle for survival. The eleme ...more
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A Children's Bible is an unusual book that tickled me mentally in all the right places. It gripped me and delighted me from the first paragraph and continued to surprise me through to the last sentence.
I wouldn't have picked this to read because of its title and assumption that it might be preachy and/or religious. After discovering that it had been shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and after reading Marchpane's raving review, I overcame my prejudice and borrowed this short novel
Nov 10, 2020 rated it did not like it
Mind-numbingly dull.
Gianna Lorandi
3.5 Stars. Interesting novel about a too-cool-for-school bunch of teenagers going on a summer holiday with their parents. The parent's only interests were drugs and alcohol, leaving the kids to fend for themselves which they were quite happy with.
Kind of a dystopian and sarcastic atmosphere mixed with a strong climate change message, I found this book quite unique in a way.
Still in two minds about whether I liked or not but certainly a refreshing read.

Thank you NetGalley for the advanced copy.
A dark satire on the generation gap, modern life, global warning, parenting, youth and denial. I was laughing but also crying/cringing throughout the book. Poignant, bittersweet and oh so witty, Lydia Millet writes like a dream. Four stars.
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Lydia Millet has written twelve works of fiction. She has won awards from PEN Center USA and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and her books have been longlisted for the National Book Award, shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and named as New York Times Notable Books. Her story collection Love in Infant Monkeys was a Pulitzer Prize fina ...more

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“It was them and not them, maybe the ones they’d never been. I could almost see those others standing in the garden where the pea plants were, feet planted between the rows. They stood without moving, their faces glowing with some shine a long time gone. A time before I lived. Their arms hung at their sides. They’d always been there, I thought blearily, and they’d always wanted to be more than they were. They should always be thought of as invalids, I saw. Each person, fully grown, was sick or sad, with problems attached to them like broken limbs. Each one had special needs. If you could remember that, it made you less angry. They’d been carried along on their hopes, held up by the chance of a windfall. But instead of a windfall there was only time passing. And all they ever were was themselves. Still they had wanted to be different. I would assume that from now on, I told myself, wandering back into the barn. What people wanted to be, but never could, traveled along beside them. Company.” 1 likes
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