Friday, January 8, 2010

The Red Tent

Yeah, yeah I know I suck at New Year's Resolutions. I've been so busy lately it's not even funny. I have two big projects due this week, so I've been working on them. Both are for English classes, and both required me to read a novel, both of which I have now finished! So here is one of the books I had to read:

Title: The Red Tent

Author: Anita Diamant

Pages: 321

Rating: ****

Summary (from Amazon): The red tent is the place where women gathered during their cycles of birthing, menses, and even illness. Like the conversations and mysteries held within this feminine tent, this sweeping piece of fiction offers an insider's look at the daily life of a biblical sorority of mothers and wives and their one and only daughter, Dinah. Told in the voice of Jacob's daughter Dinah (who only received a glimpse of recognition in the Book of Genesis), we are privy to the fascinating feminine characters who bled within the red tent. In a confiding and poetic voice, Dinah whispers stories of her four mothers, Rachel, Leah, Zilpah, and Bilhah--all wives to Jacob, and each one embodying unique feminine traits. As she reveals these sensual and emotionally charged stories we learn of birthing miracles, slaves, artisans, household gods, and sisterhood secrets. Eventually Dinah delves into her own saga of betrayals, grief, and a call to midwifery.

Review: This book was quite good. The writing was outstanding. It was an interesting story about the hidden lives of women during biblical times. Have you ever noticed how almost all the stories in the Bible are told from the male perspective? This story is no different. Dinah's story is in the Bible--she has about three paragraphs. It tells us about Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob, who was brutally raped on a trip into the city. But this is just what her father and brothers say. What does Dinah have to say? Anita Diamant filled in between the lines. There are many connections to biblical stories in this novel, but you don't have to be religious to enjoy it. Religion is actually a very minor part of the story (which you wouldn't expect from a book based on a story in the Bible). The women of The Red Tent are strong, honorable, and loving. Dinah is a powerful protagonist with an honest voice that any woman can connect with. The first part of the story is the story of her mother and aunts, who are all very different but all very loving and important. The second part is about her childhood and teenage years. When the unthinkable ahppens, her life is flipped upside down. That is the third part of the story. All in all this book fascinated me, and made me proud to be a woman.

Recommended for: all women at or above high school age.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this book. I sometimes wish we had a red tent (ok, not a tent, but a red apartment) where we women could hang out and have no responsibilities for 5 days! :-)