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The Red Tent

July 18, 2007

Tenth Anniversary EditionI read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant four years ago on the recommendation of my girlfriend Chau. She and I, for the most part, have the same taste in books. I really enjoyed reading it then and was anxious to pick it up again when it was selected for my book club. I enjoyed the book even more the second time around.

Based on a short passage in the Bible (which describes a violent encounter involving Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah) this piece of historical fiction  follows the story of Dinah’s life. The first half really focuses on Dinah’s relationship with her biological mother Leah and her “mother-aunties” or the women who not only are Leah’s half sisters, but also the other wives of Jacob. A lot of time is spent in the “red tent” where women go when they are menstruating.

This short review, copied from Amazon.com explains a bit about the overall feel of the book.

They traded secrets like bracelets, and these were handed down to me the only surviving girl. They told me things I was too young to hear. They held my face between their hands and made me swear to remember.” Remembering women’s earthy stories and passionate history is indeed the theme of this magnificent book. In fact, it’s been said that The Red Tent is what the Bible might have been had it been written by God’s daughters, instead of her sons. –Gail Hudson

The second part of the book describes how Dinah, after suffering through a terrible event, eventually becomes a self-sufficient and strong woman.  

At first it is easy to become intimidated by the large list of characters to keep track off, but at the beginning of the book there is a family tree so you can follow along.

It is a beautifully written and extremely interesting book and lent itself to a great discussion at our book club meeting last night. If you haven’t already done so, make sure to read The Red Tent.  It is really one of the best books that I have read in the last five years.

The 10th Anniversary edition will be available at Amazon next month.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 18, 2007 8:59 am

    Hey there! My book club “Planet Books” is reading this book for July. It won out of a four title voting poll. I had read The Red Tent about six or seven years ago while commuting to work from Maryland to D.C. on the Metro Bus. There were about five other women reading it at the same time (how random is that?!) and we would ask eachother where they were and what they thought. Everyone agreed that it was a great book and couldn’t wait to get on the bus and subway to and from work so they could get back to reading about Dinah and her world.
    Anyway, please check out my site at http://planetbooks.livejournal.com and join in our discussion questions when I start posting them this Sunday if you like.
    -K

  2. July 18, 2007 11:05 am

    This is one of my favorite books! I probably should read it again.

  3. July 18, 2007 11:24 am

    One of my favorite books of all time! I’ve read it twice and enjoyed it so much both times. It was one of the only books everyone in my book club at the time liked!

  4. July 18, 2007 11:38 am

    I’ll add it to my wish list! Thanks for a great review – you are really good at writing them and I admire this ability. Just enough information without spoilers!

  5. July 18, 2007 3:53 pm

    I really like this book as well. Actually, three of us just posted about it today on our group historical fiction blog: http://historicaltapestry.blogspot.com

  6. July 18, 2007 6:09 pm

    This is the book that started me on my blogging journey. I had been thinking about starting a blog, but once I had finished this I just had to write a review of it…to talk to other people about it! It is still one of the first books I mention if someone asks for recommendations!

  7. John Saunders permalink
    July 18, 2007 10:57 pm

    “The Tent” has been on my shelf for about a
    year. I guess it’s time for me to start
    reading it.

  8. August 6, 2007 9:38 am

    I don’t tend to read religious fiction, but this one sounds incredibly compelling. Another for the wish list, I guess!

  9. September 12, 2007 11:33 pm

    I loved this book and think I could benefit with a second read as well. I read another one of her books (last days of dogtown), but it wasn’t as good.

  10. December 29, 2007 11:56 pm

    I just ordered this one yesterday with a gift card I got for Christmas. Can’t wait to read it.

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