Friday, December 23, 2011

"The Red Tent" by Anita Diamant

The Red Tent
by Anita Diamant
321 pages

Short Version: Dinah, daughter of Jacob, tells her story beginning with her mothers and continuing through her life, giving readers a glimpse of biblical women's lives.

Why I Read It: I was told by a few people this was a good book to get into, so I finally took the time to do just that.

The Book: From Goodreads
Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that are about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons. Told in Dinah's voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood--the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of her mothers--Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah--the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through a hard-working youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah's story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate connection with the past. Deeply affecting, The Red Tent combines rich storytelling with a valuable achievement in modern fiction: a new view of biblical women's society.

My Thoughts: As I mentioned above, the reason I read this was because I was told it was a good book to get into. My friends who told me that were very right. I have to admit, I put off reading this book for awhile because I assumed it would be very religious. Well I have learned my lesson again- I should not be judging books by their covers. I was worried it would be very biblical and I wouldn't fully understand everything, but Diamant does a wonderful job at making this easy to understand (I especially loved the family tree in the front of the book- this helped keep all the characters straight). Dinah lived a life with many struggles, but she was such a strong woman and dealt with what came to her. Her courage and determination made me proud to be a woman.
The book is told in three parts. First, Dinah tells the stories of her mothers- Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah. Between the four of them they have many sons of Jacob. The second part tells Dinah's story as she is growing up as the only daughter of Jacob. Dinah is doted on by all of her mothers and learns their stories, secrets, and skills of midwifery as she spends time with them in the red tent. The final part of The Red Tent is about Dinah's life in Egypt after tragedy has turned her against her family. (I will not go more into that- read for yourself!).
The story, the history, and the characters brought this book all together to make is a wonderful read. I recommend this to all women looking for a good book to get into!

4/5 Stars

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