Monday, May 18, 2009

Audiobook Review: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant



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.

My Review:

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

13 comments:

stacybuckeye said...

I tried to read this book many years ago, but didn't have the time or patience for it. I need to pick it back up :) Very nice review. I love audio books, but there are some books that don't work or the 'reader' is all wrong.

Ti said...

I read this at the height of all the hype and it was only so-so for me. We had a lot to discuss for book group but I didn't care for it. Can't put my finger on why but it just didn't click.

Dar said...

I read this years ago and I really enjoyed it. I'd be curious to hear it on audio. I have a couple more of her books on my ever leaning shelf that I haven't gotten to yet.

Toni said...

I thought I was the only one who hadn't read this one. Great review. It reminds me to get a copy and give it a shot. :)

Missy said...

I have never read this...thanks for the review!

Jess said...

I just got this book from the library over the weekend because the ladies at book club were raving about it. Some books are tough it listen to on audio.

Margot said...

I once was "accosted" by a woman, a stranger, several years ago in a bookstore who INSISTED that I buy this book. She said it was so good that I would be so glad that I did. I walked around the store with the book in my hand until she left. Then I put the book back on the shelf. I've never read the book but I've never forgotten it either. And now your review - I need to read it don't I?

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

I have a copy of this book at home, so I'm glad you reviewed it (I haven't yet read it). You're right: there are some books that are just better in printed format. Think I'll read this one this summer!

Amy said...

I enjoyed this book when I read it...it really made me think and swept me away to that time period!

TexasRed said...

I read this as part of a book club and it was good to be able to read and talk about. I wouldn't want to go back and read it again, but some good history and ideas to think about.

Beth F said...

I enjoyed the audio of this a lot. Then I tried another of hers on audio aand didn't really care for it at all.

lilly said...

I agree that Diamant's writing talent does shine through the novel but I don't think I would ever re-read it, or re-listen as I also happened to listen to it instead of read it. I do have to give credit to the narrator, I think she did a good job.

Lisa said...

I would love to read this book one day. I haven't had much luck with audio books. Maybe I'm too critical of the narration.