The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was an amazing read and I feel like I'm bursting to tell someone about it. I loved the point of view from Dinah, and from the prologue to the end I could not put the book down. It was a bit graphic, so I think you must read with caution, but because of it's graphic nature I felt I was right there. I could smell and taste it. I loved the large portrayal of female relationships and what this book has to say about what it means to be a woman, to give birth, to be a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and to love and be loved. I disliked the part about Wernero and her story. I am not sure why it had to be in it, unless it was to give Dinah voice. Women have a need to express themselves and feel connected through conversation, gossip, and stories, and that is how the book read, like one big conversation. When women are not allowed to have voice with each other they become depressed and isolated. It seemed that theme became a major thread tying the pieces together.
As a piece of literature this book is a work of art. The thing I loved the most about it was the change the characters undergo throughout the years. Rachel was one of my favorite people to watch, who grew sweeter because of her trials. It was as though you could see the wisdom of God and His hand in her life. I wish I could say that for the rest of the book, but it's definitely not the same Jacob, Joseph, and even Isaac and Abram that I have imagined from the Bible as prophets of God. So, if you're going to read it as a true historical explanation of the Bible you'll be sorely disappointed. It's not meant to be that way. It's totally fictional, and although it gave me a new prospective of Rachel and Leah that I thoroughly enjoyed, I had a harder time with the men in the book because they were just that--men. Full of faults, appetites of the flesh, and holier-than-thou attitudes. And although it gave me better insight as to how some of the horrible things in that time could have happened, I'd like to think they heard and followed God's voice more clearly. It seems one goal of the author was to elevate women to the seer/prophetess/goddess status that we usually associate with men, while humanizing the men in the book and making them look like guessing, self-serving, conceited fools.
A very complex tale with people who change with the seasons of their lives, very moving.
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