Here is a summary of The Red Tent from Anita Diamant's website:
The Red Tent retells the story of Dinah, which is found in the Biblical book of Genesis, Chapter 34. This episode, usually known as the "Rape of Dinah" has been a difficult passage for bible readers for centuries because of the murderous behavior of Jacob's sons. In Genesis, Dinah does not say a single word; what happens to her is recounted and characterized as rape by her brothers. In my retelling of the story, Dinah finds her voice. The Red Tent is told entirely from her perspective and the point of view of the women around her.
I have heard so much about this novel that I figured it was about time that I check it out. I wasn't anticipating to be able to actually read the book any time soon, so I listened to the audio version. Dinah is the only daughter of Jacob and this book is written from her viewpoint.
The story begins by acquainting us with Jacob's four wives, Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah. Although Leah is Dinah's biological mother, all of these women provide maternal guidance to Dinah at some point during her life. This book focuses on the relationships that these women built and the traditions that they followed during this time of history.
The red tent was a place that the sisterhood of these women was even more private and intimate. The women were not allowed to enter the red tent until they began menstruating, so when a girl finally crossed over to womanhood and was granted entrance to the red tent, this moment was celebrated until the early hours of the morning to welcome the newest woman into the sisterhood. The red tent was one place where women could be themselves and share their most intimate thoughts and secrets without having to worry about the men in their lives.
When Dinah's life appears to be about as perfect as she can imagine, she is deceived in a way that reaches deep into her sould and destroys all she has known. She decides to leave the only family land she has ever known to start a new life.
This novel brings us through Dinah's entire life. She follows in her mother Rachel's footsteps by learning what is necessary to be a midwife. She develops quite a legeacy from this venture and is seeked by royalty when women are preparing to deliver their children.
As the book closes Dinah reflects on her lifetime, her relationship with her mothers and all that they shared together in the red tent. She remembers all that has happened with her father and brothers and how those events have helped her to develop into the woman that she has become. Although I did enjoy this story, I think that there were too many characters too be able to appreciate the audio version. So if you were going to look into this book I would definitely suggest reading it rather than listening to it. Although the audiobook didn't put me over the top, I could definitely tell that Diamant is a gifted and talented story teller, and I hope to read more of her work.
My Rating: 3/5