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Everybody knows the story of Noah and the ark. How he recieved a message from God fortelling the end of the world, how he built an ark and filled it with two of every animal and how he set sail to beat the floods that lasted forty days and forty nights. Everyone knows this popular bible story don't they? Well, think again...
Not The End Of The World tells the story from a new and forgotten perspective; that of Noah's disgraced daughter, Tinna, who faces her own trials and tribulations aboard her family's vesel. Here, for perhaps the first time, they get a more realistic account of what it must have been like to be part of God's chosen family- and all this in a book set for children too!
In this version, we get to see how Noah's family are shunned as being a little bit strange for building a great wooden barrel that will become the ark and how Noah's family must keep the secret; unable to tell their neighbours what is really going on. We also see the reality of the situation as the family are forced to cull those animals that appear in their multitudes ~ for after all they can only take two of each species, one male and one female, if there is to be room on their ark for them. Even when they set sail, we are presented by harsh realities as Noah and his family each find their faith being tested and their food supplies begin to rot and go sour. Scurvy begins to set in and at times it becomes doubtful as to whether or not Noah and his sons have been chosen or whether he is just delusional.
With it's overly female perspective, much of the book is told from Tinna's viewpoint, this is an interesting and enthralling read that keeps you entertained. But this is no fluffy bible tale as evidenced at the very beginning when Noah and his sons take to bashing survivors from the hull of their ark and beating off stragglers who try to struggle aboard amidst raging tides. This is a very dark and uncompromising story that does not cut any corners just because it is aimed at a younger audience! That a children's book can take on such a heavy tone and yet still convey a familiar story is quite a feat and Geraldine McCaughrean has excelled herself by challenging the reader with what they thought they knew and making them see it through different eyes!
I was not entirely sure what to expect upon picking this book up but it piqued my interest and I am glad, in hindsight, that it did. Too much young fiction is too easily ignored by more adult readers and this book proves that you can still get something out of a tale aimed at a much younger audience even if you are that little bit older. Though not paticulary religious, I would reccommend this book to anyone who fancies a different and unique tale based on a popular bible story that has been passed on for generation after generation.
And who knows, it might just prepare you for when the next big flood comes....after all, with the state of the world today, it surely can't be that long before God takes to smiting again....