My First Sin

Lili Dauphin

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Reviews

A unique story told through the eyes of an extraordinary child. "My First Sin" captures the wonder and the terror of a little girl navigating through dangerous terrain, battling superstition and fear. Through love and courage, she is able to save herself, and the people around her. An entertaining and inspiring read.

Daisy Lin Shapiro - Filmmaker

A unique story told through the eyes of an extraordinary child. "My First Sin" captures the wonder and the terror of a little girl navigating through dangerous terrain, battling superstition and fear. Through love and courage, she is able to save herself, and the people around her. An entertaining and inspiring read.

Daisy Lin Shapiro - Filmmaker

Lili Dauphin's My First Sin is captivating and beautifully written in Lili's unique signature style. This novel boldly illustrates the brutal realities in third world poverty. The story and perils are told through the perspective of beautiful and brave little Tilou, while sharing personal, intimate and heart-warming conversations with her beloved, trustworthy dog Moun. In Tilou's world, amenities that we take for granted become a dangerous and sometimes deadly journey to obtain. Tilou is destined to find her very first sin— I experienced a gamut of emotions while reading My First Sin. This unbelievably incredible tale will hauntingly touch your soul forever. A must read book for young and for those who are older than young!

Debbie Green - Graphic Artist

"My First Sin", written by Lili Dauphin, is a story that depicts the life of one young girl named Tilou and her many adventures on a small Caribbean island. The reader can feel that "late afternoon sun" and personally enter Gran's yard, greeting all of her colorful friends and family members. This is a spiritual journey, one of reaching one's majority. We cheer Tilou on when she goes off to search for her "sin". We see a young girl who shares her generosity, humor, and courage in the face of one trial after another, no matter what. She never once fails to share her love and joy with everyone she meets. We find the meaning of forgiveness in her words as her eyes are opened to her own responsibilities and how her actions affect others.

Jennifer Mims - Actress

The reader will enjoy My First Sin as an inspiring narrative of nine-year-old Tilou who desires to make her First communion. To partake in this ritual, Tilou has to make her first confession but she is confused as to what sin she has committed. It is this wish; this dream to make her first confession and her First Communion that sustained her through this journey of a life engulfed both in hell and in hope. Her journey motivates the reader to turn the page and to watch her navigate her way. The hope is Tilou herself. In the midst of rejection, she is kind and conciliatory. Even though she is neglected and basically abandoned. She aids stray characters, like her lost cousin, a puppy that is rejected from the litter. Tilou projects her hope in the friendly personification of the moon, the mountain, the dolphin, and her pet dog, Moun. These "characters" magically offer Tilou encouragement as she recovers from each set back. Lili Dauphin has pitted the innocent consciousness of a nine-year-old girl against the frequent sinfulness and confusion of her environment. This is not a novel about Tilou's life; rather it is the mission of Tilou's survival.

Angela Colicchio - Teacher

Tilou, an innocent yet intelligent nine-year-old girl faces betrayal, loss, and the humorous challenge of a faith ritual as she seeks to preserve truth in her treasured friendships, but most of all, in her own self. My First Sin is a story of the survivability of an orphaned spirit and her enduring grace. Another tale flows from Lili Dauphin's remarkable pen that is one for telling as she conveys the understanding and growth experiences of a favorite human character.

David Jadunat - Writer

Lili has done it again. This latest book will join her others on the best-seller list. This book has everything—suspense, humor, compassion, chases, voodoo celebrations, werewolves—in short, everything to do with life in Tiville. You will absolutely fall in love all over again with little Tilou, this remarkable child who is years beyond her age in life's lessons learned. This is an unforgettable read.

Jean Wood - Retired

Lili Dauphin has written her third book about Tilou. This time Tilou is looking for her first sin. This young innocent child embarks on an adventure that is filled in suspense and intrigue. She uses her imagination and inner strength to get herself and others out of dangerous situations. There are many colorful characters who shape her experiences--like no other. My first sin is compelling. A must read. I couldn't put it down.

Karen Lee - Editor

"My First Sin" really opens the door to my childhood. Tilou keeps us on our toes. The story is funny, courageous and moving. I love the way she communicates with the donkey and the dog. I laugh so hard. We're amazed at the way Tilou always manages to get herself out of trouble no matter how complex the situation. I had a lot of fun reading the story.

Walter Damour

Description

"My First Sin" is a feel-good adventure story, which takes place in a village on the Caribbean Island. It is a sequel to "Crying Mountain" the acclaimed story about a young girl named Tilou and her journey through a hurricane that devastated her village. In "My First Sin" the reader is uplifted by Tilou's spirit and strength as she goes on her search for her "first sin" so she can have something to confess before receiving her First Communion. We are amazed and inspired by Tilou's tenacity and sense of humor as she takes us on her odyssey of discovery.

We see a young girl who shares her generosity, humor, and courage in the face of one trial after another, no matter what. She never once fails to share her love and joy with everyone she meets. We find the meaning of forgiveness in her words as her eyes are opened to her own responsibilities and how her actions affect others.

Finally this is a story about miracles, trust, love, and above all, courage. We watch Tilou keep going along on her "impossible" journey. We rejoice with her when she finally attains her finest hour. Recommended for readers thirteen years old and up.

Excerpt

I'm having a dream and in my dream I am desperately searching for my little cousin, six year-old Tibou. I am calling his name out loud in a very large and dark forest. My good friend Moun, the dog, is at my side helping me find him. He's snooping around the bushes, sometimes creeping through the underbrush like a dedicated soldier. Occasionally an old bone or an animal carcass distracts him but, nevertheless, he stays right by my side.

"Tibou, Tibou, Tibou, Tibou, kote ou ye (where are you)?" I call.

"Tilou, Tilou, Tilou, Tilou, mwen la (I am here)," says a voice I can barely hear.

At least, that's what I think I hear, or maybe that's what I want to hear. I stop and listen carefully. My voice is resonating throughout the very large forest, each word rebounding from the trees to the mountaintops, and down into the savannah.

I must wait until after the echo stops before saying another word. The long echo is interfering with the sound of my voice. In a way, it feels good listening to the projection of my words. It seems almost like a game. It reminds me of times when I was playing with a friend and, after I'd say something, they would mimic what was said, just to tease.

Could the mountain and the forest be playing with me? Could it be that my little cousin is also teasing me? I hope so. As we proceed towards the coffee grove, Moun becomes uneasy and turns to go back up the hill.

"Hey Moun! Where are you going? " I ask. He comes back reluctantly. He must be sensing something. Gran told us little kids not to venture around this particular coffee grove at night because of the many lougawous (werewolves) and vampires hiding in it. But in spite of my fears, I don't want to leave until I find my little cousin. As I continue to dream, my need to find Tibou overcomes the scary feelings I'm getting from the dark trees.

Moun is barking in intervals and he too seems obsessed with his voice echoing through the forest. It makes him bark even more. Each time he barks, he sits, listens, and barks again. Then he whimpers until the sound of his barking returns. When the echo dissipates, he barks the way he normally does. Moun is the funniest animal and the best friend I have ever known.

In spite of this slight distraction, Moun knows very well why we are in the forest. He knows we are looking for Tibou so he too doesn't stop his search. He continues to sniff around, looking everywhere for my young cousin. Moun walks inside a small dark area surrounded by dry branches where he finds something that he drags out and shows to me. It is a piece of clothing which looks like Tibou's old shirt. At that point my heart begins to palpitate.

I slip beneath the branches with much fear, but I realize that I must prepare myself for anything. I look beneath the leaves of a scrub oak and suddenly I am face-to-face with a huge rattlesnake and her babies. The snake's head alone seems bigger than Moun's. She buzzes to warn off intruders. I have never seen anything like this before. I take off running and so does Moun who has always been a big chicken at heart. He's always the first to run whenever he's frightened.

"Aren't you supposed to protect me?" I say to Moun after we're a safe distance away from mama snake. He looks at me as if to say, "Not today, child."

It's even darker now, but I refuse to stop the search. We continue looking and I decide to walk down to the savannah to see what's up. I knock on every single door hoping to find Tibou, but with no luck. Then I arrive at Ton Nele's house. He's one of the fishermen who lives down on the savannah.

"Is he the short little kid with a large gap in his mouth?"

"Yes," I respond, waiting patiently for an answer.

Scratching his head he replies, "Oh yeah! He's losing his baby teeth. I still remember my first baby tooth, and my second, and my third. They all disappeared and then reappeared for a while. But today, I look inside my mouth and realize that they're all gone now. Do you know where they might have gone?"

"I'm sure they'll be back someday," I say with a smile.

"Good, because I'm tired of eating foufou (mashed plantain). I used to crack open the toughest nuts not to mention hard cow bones, you know," he laughs aloud.

I am standing there waiting in anticipation. I hope he'll eventually tell me where my little cousin is.

Ton Nele stops for awhile.

"Let me think. I'm losing my memory, you know. I'm getting old and my mind is not as sharp as it used to be. What were we talking about?"

"My cousin, Tibou," I calmly say.

"Ah! My cousin Bobo. He's in heaven now. Child, he wakes up one day, eats his foufou and says 'goodbye'. I think he lived way too long, anyway. One hundred and eight is way too much for anyone. I bet he's watching us from Heaven right now. Between you and me, he was a lougawou (werewolf). But don't tell anyone I told you," he says.

Realizing that I am getting nowhere with Ton Nele, I say "thank you" and walk away.

Our search continues. We search everywhere for Tibou. I look under four large mango trees then I notice that the day is getting darker. I am afraid that I may have to call off the search. I turn around to leave and suddenly I am face-to-face with a tall figure. I look closer, and the figure seems to be wearing a long, black coat. A very long, black, laced, hooded hat covers its entire face. The figure has a black glove in its hand and it stands right there looking at me. I am petrified.

"Oh my God! For the first time in my life, I am face to face with a vampire," I think.

I look beside me and notice that Moun is doing number one on the side of a banana tree that really deserves to be watered because of the drought.

"Hurry Moun, I need you now," I say to myself.

The dog must have heard my thoughts. Moun soon notices the strange looking figure and starts to bark out of his mind. The creature springs at me. Moun is there in time to attack its leg. I take off running and the tall figure, after disengaging itself from Moun, starts chasing after me. Of course Moun goes after it immediately.

It kicks Moun in the head and Moun yaps a little but continues his attack. However, the strange creature shows too much resilience. It chases after me so I run into the dark forest as fast as I can.

In my haste to evade this scary monster, I trip and fall hard onto the ground. The vampire closes the gap. A hand grabs me but Moun pounces and clamps his jaws around one of its feet, ending up with one shoe in his mouth.

The tall figure runs away leaving the shoe behind. I watch Moun settle down with the shoe, chewing happily. I think to myself, "I didn't know vampires wear shoes."

I feel as though I've seen those shoes before, but I can't remember where. I run up the hill to Gran's house and see Bojo, a man who lives down on the savannah below our house. He is holding Tibou's limp body in his arms. My heart starts beating fast.

Nearby there is a man hiding under the lemon tree, holding a second shoe. I look at him under the bright moonlight and recognize the same clothes worn by the creature from the forest.

"Oh my God!" I whisper.

I think I recognize him. He looks directly at me and places his index finger over his mouth as if to tell me to be silent. Then he slips away.