Pen To Paper: The Children’s Bible By Lydia Millet, Unveiling The Burden Of Climate Crisis

Pen To Paper: The Children’s Bible By Lydia Millet, Unveiling The Burden Of Climate Crisis

Read this review of 'The Children’s Bible', authored by Lydia Millet. The book masterfully addresses a dystopian version of our own world: a place where people in power are indifferent to the looming threat of a climate crisis.

Mattie GuptaUpdated: Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 12:30 PM IST
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Mattie Gupta | File

Are those who triggered the climate crisis to blame, or is it the burden of those enduring its consequences?"

Lydia Millet’s novel The Children’s Bible masterfully addresses a dystopian version of our own world: a place where people in power are indifferent to the looming threat of a climate crisis.

By exploring the lives of characters thrust into a world already doomed to destruction, the book comments on the consequences of ignoring the climate crisis on our planet today.

The story begins in a paradise, a stately summer mansion where Eve, the main character, and 11 other children are vacationing with their parents. This story, however, is not the paradise that we’re promised in the opening lines.

As our view of Millet’s well-laid-out world expands, we’re introduced to the parents: selfish, irresponsible people whose naivety created this world for their children in the first place. Within the first chapter, we’re introduced to their denial through Eve’s thoughts.

“Didn’t they know there were urgent subjects? Questions that needed to be asked?” The reader is also introduced to Jack - Eve’s intelligent, but innocent younger brother who has no idea what lies ahead. In the contrast between his view of the world and Eve’s, the books’ main themes of generational divide and climate change are highlighted further.

His innocence, carried over to the simplicity with which he views his life in comparison to the Bible, becomes a cornerstone to the way that Millet uses biblical allegory to strengthen the narrative. The first thing that caught my attention upon reading this book was how the monumental burden of the apocalypse was portrayed.

The acceptance of all the children to their fate combined with the allegory to biblical stories made the entire conflict of the book feel completely unescapable. One thing that Millet’s book does extremely well is portray the dystopia it describes as inevitable, through the characters’ words and the parent’s actions, slamming the reader in the face with the conflict of the book.

The clear biblical allegory, often directly pointed out by Jack, only added to this sense of doom to a narrative. The portrayal of helplessness that the characters face in regards to their future is one of the things that makes The Children’s Bible such a powerful book today. But ultimately, the Children’s Bible is a story of hope.

Even as we watch our 12 protagonists grapple with the bleak future set out in front of them, there's a sense of determination that the children have to survive. In a world poised on the brink of environmental disaster, Lydia Millet's novel "The Children's Bible" not only highlights the dire consequences of climate negligence but also weaves a narrative of resilience and determination among the young protagonists.

As we navigate the dystopian landscape with Eve and her companions, the story becomes a poignant testament to the enduring hope found in the face of an unavoidable and challenging future.

(This review is part of the winning reviews published in the Pen to Paper contest hosted by The Free Press Journal annually . This exclusive contest is open to teenagers only)

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