Book Review: The Red Tent

The Red TentThe Red Tent by Anita Diamant

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Growing up Catholic and attending Catholic school for 13 years, I know more than my fair share about the Bible. However (at the rick of being offensive), I am no longer a practicing Catholic nor am I really much of a believer in the Bible. That being said, I really enjoyed Diamant’s perspective of the much untold story of Dinah in the book of Genesis.

To begin with, Diamant’s vivid story-telling made the characters, locations, and time period come to life. I felt almost as if I had once lived in the homes of Dinah and her mothers, as if I knew them personally. Throughout the whole novel each person, place, and event is described so fully that it is impossible not to feel the pain or joy experienced by the characters with the passage of time.

The women of the novel, Dinah and her mothers, are the main focus of the first third of the book. Diamant describes these women in amazing detail, so much so that they begin to feel like old friends. Much of this first part of the book focuses on the near exploitation of women at the time. However, Diamant writes about this in a way that makes it seem okay as it was just the way of life at the time. She also writes in depth about how these women embrace their womanhood and the rituals that play into their lives as celebration.

Later in the novel, these wonderful women disappear completely from the book. It left a gaping hole for me but this fits in with Dinah’s story since she must leave her mothers behind as well. While it may seem out-of-place to the reader, I thought it was a good call by Diamant as I felt more connected to Dinah and her feelings of loss.

Dinah’s story is one of love, loss, pain, and suffering. She takes every event in her life in stride, good and bad. She goes on an amazing journey though her life and Dinah’s voice tells it in an amazingly, beautiful fashion. The ending, though bittersweet, wraps the novel up nicely. We find out the fates of Dinah’s mothers, father, and brothers. We discover Dinah’s true feelings toward her amazing, untold life story. I was left satisfied that Dinah’s story was finally told and reflective on my own life and where it is going.

While some readers may be disappointed or offended the liberties Diamant takes with the Bible, I found it to be a necessary step in telling Dinah’s story. Overall, I could not put this book down. It was an amazing read. Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, this is a book I feel anyone can relate to or at least find something to take from the story.

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