The story of Mary and Joseph is one of a miraculous pregnancy, an arduous journey, and the birth of a son who would forever change the world. In her adaptation of the movie screenplay, Hunt applies historical accuracy and her imagination to show how the greatest of all gifts came from a humble beginning. 250 pages, softcover from Tyndale.
Based on the major motion picture, The Nativity Story is the very human, very dramatic, and uniquely inspiring saga of a journey of faith. Best-selling author Angie Hunt, who most recently wrote Magdalene, a historical fiction novel of the story of Mary Magdalene that was tied to The Da Vinci Code movie, now focuses on Mary, the mother of Jesus. She has adapted the screenplay for The Nativity Story into a powerful, historical novel. Her moving novelization of this film tells the extraordinary tale of two common people, Mary and Joseph, a miraculous pregnancy, an arduous journey, and the history-defining birth of Jesus. Brought to life with an unprecedented attention to detail and commitment to historical accuracy, Hunt tells how from humble beginnings, great things can come.
It's a difficult task to retell the biblical nativity story in a fresh
way-after all, it has been novelized, brought to stage and screen, and is the
stuff of endless children's Christmas pageants. Yet this companion novel to
the New Line Cinema feature film (which will hit theaters December 1) should
find a place on the bookshelf as a fresh and viable retelling. Hunt, the
author of more than 70 books and working from Mike Rich's screenplay, refrains
from oversanitizing the story, although Mary and Joseph are fairly
one-dimensional (there aren't a lot of character flaws here). She depicts
their gritty, hardscrabble existence as balanced by the love of family. As a
thoughtful reader would expect, the census trip to Bethlehem is no picnic,
but some readers may be surprised that the shepherds and wise men show up at
the stable together, unlike in the gospel account. The good-natured joshing
among the three wise men provides a lighter note to the chapters where Herod's
cruelty is well portrayed. Hunt balances the necessary violence with a
sensitivity that will expand her readership. Her rich prose and cultural
details utilize the five senses to recreate the familiar story, which spans
many points of view and includes a fine subplot about Elizabeth, Zechariah and
John. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The Nativity Story by Angela Hunt is based on the new motion picture screenplay by Mike Rich. It is not so much a story of the birth of Jesus, as it is the story of people who sought hope in obeying God and looking for the coming of a savior despite the discouraging circumstances around them.
This is not simply a story of the past. Throughout the book, there are parallels that can be drawn for the reader today. Mary and Josephs journey is the journey of believers. They seek to obey God and await the coming of His Son. The wise men are also on a journey, seeking to grow closer to God. One man comes in full earnest, no matter what the hardship; one comes because of a friend; and one comes not wanting to leave behind the creature comforts of the world.
Nothing is more fascinating than the character portrayals of Mary and Joseph. Mary is an obedient, yet not perfect, young girl just arrived to womanhood. Responding in faith to the angel, she yields, but she is naïve as to how much this will affect her life. Joseph is a kind, devoted follower of God, who is severely disappointed when he learns that his bride-to-be is with child. He is very real; he thinks of genuine problems that he and Mary will have in rearing Jesus. The three wise men, the priest Zechariah and his aging wife Elizabeth, as well as King Herod, are also important to the story. Their personalities are well-developed, but not quite to the breadth of Mary and Josephs characters.
Unfortunately, in historical accuracy, the book follows more of the Christmas legend than the biblical account. Here are some things in the book which are popularly true, but do not have biblical validation: there are three wise men, Jesus is born in a stable, and Mary has no midwife in attendance at Jesus birth. These are traditionally true, but not backed-up by biblical accounts. There are other occurrences in The Nativity Story that some biblical scholars would deem completely inaccurate, such as the star, which the wise men follow, appearing before Jesus is born, and the wise men arriving in Bethlehem the night Jesus is born, whereas most scholars feel it was a few years later.
Despite some biblical inaccuracy, there is a rich, historic and cultural background rooted in Hebraic names for God and the customs of marriage, travel, and sacrifice. This cultural depth helps the reader experience and understand the characters while the movie-like sequencing of scenes makes the book interesting and fairly easy to read. For the ambitious reader, Hunt includes discussion questions along with an interview that includes background information about turning the screenplay into a book.
The Christmas story has been told many times, but The Nativity Story is a unique description. Even though it is tailored more toward the traditional Christmas story than the biblical Christmas story, it gives an interesting look into biblical characters as well as the culture background for the era into which Jesus was born. If looking for theological material, nothing beats the biblical story, but when trying to get an understanding of what the nativity characters could have experienced, The Nativity Story can be at the top of the list. Kristi Meyers, Christian Book Previews.com
Have a question about this product? Ask us here.