#14 - The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
This book is the fictionalized story of Dinah (pronounced Dee-nah), daughter of Biblical Jacob and the sister of Joseph. The book recounts the story of Dinah from Genesis Chapter 34. In the Bible, the story is told from the perspective of Dinah's brothers. The Red Tent gives Dinah a voice, and tells the story from her perspective and also fleshes out the stories of Jacob's wives and Dinah's life.
At first, I had a hard time getting into the story. The first part of the book seemed mainly about Jacob having sex. Almost to the point of being funny. As in the Bible, Jacob marries 2 sisters and takes 2 others as concubines.....and the discussions of who Jacob was sleeping with and when got a little bit old. But, once the story got past that, and Dinah was telling her life story, the book became very interesting.
This is a fictional account, but it really made me think about what women in that time-period went through on a daily basis. The hardship of life, the dangers of bearing children, and culture that they lived in.
The book has received both praise and censure. Some reviewers touted it as a masterful book giving a voice to the silent female characters in the book of Genesis. But several Orthodox Jewish historians commented that the book gives a false, negative view of the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Anita Diamant has written several other books including:
The Last Days of Dogtown
Pitching My Tent
The New Jewish Wedding
The New Jewish Baby Book
Living a Jewish Life
Choosing a Jewish Life
Bible Baby Names