The First Supper: A Tale of Two Hours
Amanda Worthington comes from an immensely wealthy and nonreligious family. Brian Grace, her boyfriend, grew up in a middle-class and conservative Christian environs. Amanda brings Brian home to announce to Chuck and Libby, her parents, that she’s pregnant and that they are getting married the following morning. And to top off the unexpected news, Amanda adds that she has invited Jim and Betty, Brian’s parents, for dinner. The young college couple is clueless as to what will unfold as the two polar-opposite families meet. A spin on the classic, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Schiff’s novel is a hilarious two-hour comedy of errors.
“Long before The First Supper was a book, it was a stage play,” states playwright and now rising author Karen Schiff. Opening with quick character cameos, Schiff’s incrementally timed chapters feature everything from the sublime to the ridiculous. Sprinkling a little bit of everything, such as hot-topic issues in politics, economics, and Christianity, Schiff even manages to sneak in subjects of race and gender among heated conversations between a small, but highly opinionated, cast that is set essentially within the confines of one room.
It is a battle of status and dogma among parents who are only looking out for the young couple’s future. Schiff’s hyperbolic characters undoubtedly highlight stereotypical double standards that grace today’s media, such as the rich who use their high-moral-issue votes as a façade for their selfish agenda and Christians who believe in the sanctity of life, yet are pro-gun. That said, Schiff’s plot is subliminally thought-provoking. Schiff keeps her third-person narrative moving by interweaving awkward conversations with hysterical situations, which eventually build up to the couple finding themselves in the maddening crossfire of their parents. A great example of Schiff’s conversation/situation combo is found in Chuck’s patronizing discussion with Brian, which is reminiscent of Mr. Potter’s talk with George Bailey in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life.
Satire at its best, The First Supper, hopefully, will be the beginning of many more comedic novels to come.