This was a great book. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it at first, but I ended up falling in love with the characters and the story line. I really can’t recommend this book enough.
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 tell of her father, Jacob, and his twelve sons.
Told in Dinah’s voice, Anita Diamant imagines the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood–the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of the mothers–Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah–the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through childhood, 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 lives.
There’s so much to say about this book that my mind is going a mile a minute trying to put into words what it’s thinking. The Red Tent moves well past the biblical story of Dinah and her family; and instead focuses on the rich traditions and stories of the women of the time. The Red Tent becomes an essential character of the book as the women head to the tent for their monthly bleeds and essentially celebrate their womanhood within the tent’s wall. The Red Tent is where secrets are shared and stories are passed on from generation to generation.
There’s a particularly empowering scene when Dinah has her first period. The first period is marked as her official introduction to womanhood and all the secrets that being a woman entails. Her four mothers celebrate the occasion with an all night ceremony that involves rituals and food. When I got my first period, I was so nervous that I hid the news from my mom for months. Getting your first period is huge, maybe I wouldn’t have been so nervous if I knew I would get a party out of it?
The female relationships and connections in the book made me appreciate my own relationships with the women in my life and how important that female bonding still is today. We may not sit in a red tent anymore, but we go for runs, eat meals together, and have book club. There’s still that yearning to pass stories on from generation to generation. Maybe one day I’ll have the opportunity to pass my stories to my future daughters, just as Dinah’s mothers passed their stories on to her.
I also enjoyed how strong the females of the book are, particularly Dinah who becomes wise beyond her years at such a young age due to tragic circumstances.
Have you read The Red Tent? What did you think?
Courtney hosted tonight’s book club meeting with a chili pot luck.
She made the chili and we brought the toppings, cornbread, salad, and dessert. I made an arugula salad with roasted red peppers, feta, and artichoke hearts for the occasion.
Steph made a chocolate crock pot dessert recipe that was delicious. I have a few crock pot desserts pinned, she inspired me to try one soon.
Time for bed.