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My mom got me this book for Christmas mainly because she wanted to read it I read the summary on the back and I was intrigued, but wasn t intending to pick it up right away until my mom demanded that I read it as soon as possible so she could read it So I did I read it in a day.I m a fast reader no matter what, but give me a good book, I ll finish it faster than usual This book was good Excellent I was drawn in with the first word There were stories within stories and I was able to follow each and every one of them and become absorbed Diamant s writing took me back to this time period, and instead of pointing out all that was bad and raw in a time we often look back on as savage and uncivilized, she points out and embraces everything that was wonderful Or at least she writes in such a way you look at it as completely normal and okay I was also surprised how much these people embraced womanhood, when often when you hear about those times it s all about how women were submissive and cursed, born only to be slaves to men But the women in nearly every culture Dinah passed through were respected for the most part, and held some sort of power This is not the time when men began stepping on the women Something happened between then and now that changed the view of womanhood to be ugly and wrong.Speaking of the women, the one problem I had was that the women the first third of the book was dedicated to, just ended up disappearing We were lead to fall in love with these women, only to have them later have them fall off the radar It s not a huge flaw, because Dinah has to lose them as well, and they fall of her radar as well and we do learn what happened to them in the end, but stillOther than that one small, but understandable flaw, this book was fantastic Dinah goes on an amazing journey and it is told beautifully in her voice Diamant has a wonderful gift as a storyteller Do yourself a favor and sit down with this book, you will hear Dinah speak and you will feel the gritty, dirty, wonderful world she lives in Don t let the fact that it was taken from the Bible deterr you Diamant writes in such a way that if you are familiar with the Bible things come up and you re like, Hey But, if you re not religious at all, she writes so that you aren t shut out from a special world, you are welcomed and embraced and the story is still just as wonderful. In Hebrew literature, there is a form called Midrash which in essence is an exegesis on Hebrew texts Even though I m not Jewish, I would personally categorize this book as Midrash.Why Because Anita Diamant does not stray from the Jacob Dinah story in the bible one whit Many people who read this book and then go back to the biblical texts are surprised to find that there are household gods and concubines and that Jacob used some rather superstitious means to breed spotted goats, that Rachel claimed having her period to hide the gods hidden in the sacks from her father Laban and that Dinah must have been of some importance because she is one of the few women who gets mentioned than a few verses worth in the Pentateuch.Diamant uses her vast knowledge of the history of her faith and that time to flesh this story out in very real ways never perverting the original text And in doing so she weaves a story of women and their bond with each other in a time and a place that is difficult to understand in our modern world but at the same time is fascinating These characters linger with you long after the book is finished. Are you ready to go into the Red Tent JACOB S DINASTY THE REALITY SHOW We have been lost to each other for so long My name means nothing to you My memory is dust This is not your fault, or mine The chain connecting mother to daughter was broken and the word passed to the keeping of men, who had no way of knowing. Disfunctional family falls short to describe Jacob s household.Nowadays, it would be easily a high rating TV reality show Jacob, a weak man put into the stressing place of being a patriarch of his race, manipulated by his scheming mother and later by his insidious sons.Leah, mostly a good woman BUT willingly played her role in a mean scheme to marry her sister s boyfriend.Zilpah and Bilhah, with a image of not killing a fly but they make surgical comments with the sharp edge of a knife, whenever they can.Simeon and Levi, a couple of homicidal psychos, which they don t hesitate to kill every single man in a settlement when those men were even unable to defend themselves or even selling one of their own brothers to slave traders.Rebekah, a mother who doesn t hesitate to favor a son of hers over the other or throwing out a granddaughter from her tribe.Good thing that God already did a flood to rid of all the bad people Geez THE FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME FOR DINAH If you want to understand any woman you must first ask about her mother and then listen carefully Stories about food show a strong connection Wistful silences demonstrate unfinished business The a daughter knows about the details of her mother s life without flinching or whining the stronger the daughter. It s odd that in many descriptions about the book, The Red Tent, it s mentioned that one of the intentions is to denote a different scenario for the rape of Dinah, and while obviously I am not a Bible Scholar, one thing that I did was to read what my Bible says about the brief mention of Dinah on it And as I understood, indeed Dinah was a fleeting line in the middle of the huge recollection of stories in the Bible, but it was clear at least to me that she wasn t raped, and clearly her brothers were a bunch of psychos with the exception of Joseph, of course.Besides, Dinah s brothers were clearly psychos but also men of short vision, since if they were so greedy, they could take the rape of Dinah into their own economical benefit, and therefore, instead of asking a massive circumcision, they could ask for better lands, with water s supply and a real potential to farm and to pasture, so they could gain something tangible out of their ruined honor.What they gained killing every single man in that fortress Nothing Psychos and stupid Very bad combination Clearly, there are several versions of the Bible and all of them are subject to translations and interpretations My bible is the MacArthur Study Bible, basically since I wanted to have a bible with footnotes and additional info to give a deeper understanding about what s shown in the Bible.So, I don t discard the scenario that my Bible s version isn t as many others But taking is account that the Bible any version has been subjected to editions, censorships, exclusions, translations, etc so who can say what really happened It s amazing the vision of Anita Diamant, the author, of choosing Dinah, an ephemera, easy to forget Biblical character and to develop such rich and complex story around her, to expand her original Bible s fifteen minutes of fame to her deserved epic legend about her.Because it s really unfair to see how the twelve male offspring of Jacob became nothing less than THE patriarchs of the Twelve Tribes of Israeland Dinah Oh, just the daughter who was raped, having barely a paragraph and disappears from Bible s records.When you think about Dinah s role in the middle of Jacob s direct offspring, it s clearly odd that the Bible didn t give her a better position, since she was the only girl between several boys, it was obvious that if God would think in somebody as special in that generation, it has to be Dinah and not the boys.But again, it s no shock that the Bible or rather the people who manipulated it gives importance in the most cases to men s stories only and if a woman was ever mentioned, she must be guilty of something and or playing a discreditable line of work.It s amazing that nowadays there are still women in the Catholic s faith and to be clear, I am in this religion, but I am open minded and I like to question stuff since it s unfair that a woman who goes into the service of God, her highest chance to climb in Catholic Church s chain of command is to be a Mother Superior, that it s barely one upper step from being a Nun, BUT a man Pftt He can be potentially the Pope Certainly one of the best things of Anita Diamant s approach to Dinah s story is that while she is clearly a likeable character, she isn t perfect, with or without justifications, she has a dark side in her soul but don t we all And the story isn t a blind feminist propaganda or a men hating pamphlet, since if you are objective in your reading experience, you will find in the book, as many sins made by women as by men, but also great women as great men as in real life.And at lastDinah won t be a forgotten Biblical paragraph any Now, not only women but also men will be able to get inside of the Red Tent, to learn Dinah s story, to keep her legacy, to celebrate her life, and to share it with others. Anita Diamant image from her site The Red Tent offers a female perspective on the biblical tales of Jacob, father to the twelve tribes of Israel, and his family, people with some serious issues, who would be right at home on HBO, with copious quantities of blood and betrayal to hold one s interest Dinah was the only daughter of Jacob It is through her eyes and her retelling of others tales that we see the world of that time, the social organization within the family, how they related to other cultures, the roles of men and women I found it moving to the point of tears as the end neared The Red Tent of the title was a room of their own, where women could commune without having the male sorts leaving their socks and Cheetos crumbs all over the place Diamant takes liberties with the story as told in the bible, a rapist in the bible is a love interest here which no doubt freaks out biblical literalists Rebecca Ferguson and Iain Glen as Dinah and Jacob from the Lifetime seriesMidwifery is core to the women s experience, pointing out, ironically and tragically, the existential threat posed by pregnancy This dovetails well with the great need of the time to attend to cycles of nature to ensure survival The women even find themselves menstrually in synch No coincidence that the bloodiness of birth and monthly cycles takes place in a red colored space.Dinah s secrecy about her own story in the novel reflects the omission of a female perspective from the tales and history we know from the bible Her eventual ability to share her story realizes a dream of a equal telling The Red Tent offers an interesting and informative tale with engaging characters, particularly appropriate for female readers of most ages, and enlightening for us guys as well The book was made into a soapy two part miniseries on Lifetime EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author s personal, Twitter and FB pagesA 26 page preview from PicadorA pretty interesting article on how the book, which struggled at first, found its audience en route to becoming an international best seller, sparking a reimagining of biblical tales Jewish Telegraphic Agency August 1, 2017 How The Red Tent invented a new kind of fiction by Erika Dreifus This was a very compelling read, and I don t have enough words to describe how beautiful the writing is Anita Diamant wove a very intricate and poignant story that captivated me, and I think I ll be moonstruck for a while The Red Tent follows the life of Jacob s daughter, Dinah, who s a minor character in the Book of Genesis Diamant pretty much expanded Dinah s story and it s told from her POV As her story unfolds, you will get to witness the lives of her mothers Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah, as well For a woman in the times of Genesis, life can be pretty scary Back then, women had very little power Their main function in society was to get hitched and produce heirs for their husband The red tent is the one place where these women have their own world and their own power You really won t get to see the red tent in the second half of the book, because Dinah is no longer with her mothers Nevertheless, the memory of the red tent lingers throughout the book Dinah constantly looks back at the red tent with nostalgia and longing, and so did I I don t want to expound on the plot further and trust me, you will be better off reading it The Red Tent is like an acknowledgement for all the untold stories, for the forgotten characters, and for the struggles deemed unnecessary Most of us do not experience great glories and victories in life, rather, most of us gather our joys and small pleasures where and when we can and the rest of the time, we do what is necessary to survive Dinah, does no less and does so with honor Even minor characters have a story worth telling reminding us of the internal, silent, and unsung glory that can occur inside each of us as we live our lives as best we can. Anytime a work of fiction targets a Judeo Christian audience, it s hard to rate Should religious doctrine be taken into account, or should we judge it solely on it s merits as a good story Because I think some of the negative reviews of The Red Tent are in regards to its biblical inaccuracies Let me start by saying that if you re a moral conservative who believes in the Old Testament, I d advise caution before reading this book That s not to say you shouldn t read it just be aware beforehand that this is a story nothing written by someone who has taken biblical names and accounts and re formed them to suit her literary needs Don t look at this as a history lesson from the Bible, Ok And if you re easily offended, you will be Facts are changed, beloved Old Testament patriarchs are turned into pagan brutes, and bizarre sexual rites bestiality are accepted parts of the culture If you can accept that this is a story and not religious history, though, then I would recommend you read this book The narrative is rich and compelling, and the sex, though frequent, is not overly graphic Dinah s story will draw you into her world, and cause you to experience her wonders, her heartaches, and her joys over the course of a lifetime.What I thought would be the most repugnant aspect of the story arranged marriages women s treatment overall in that society is actually kind of candy coated by the author The women are happy, most of them desiring their husbands, and as a sex they are given far power and respect than I think is historically accurate though granted, I m no historian No doubt this is due to the author s mother goddess philosophy, which saturates every aspect of the narrative.So to sum up don t assume that if you go to Temple or Church you will love this book If you are aware of what you re reading,though, then I think you will enjoy this well crafted tale. The ONLY reason I read this is because a post menopausal lady I worked with at the time said, Hey this book is great you ll love it You have to read it and tell me what you think my book club is reading it I got it at Costco So about four chapters into it I thought, wait this is really depressing and I don t want to even finish reading this when I can read my Bridget Jones talk about Vodka and Pride and Prejudice But I already told her I would finish reading it and she was expecting feedback whatever Last time I ever made that mistake Can we all say depressing novel worse than Clan of the Cave Bear I thought Clan was depressing because Ula or whatever her name was had a totally crummy cavewoman lifestyle and she was shunned by her cave people etc etc but I guess things probably didn t change TOO much by the time of Joseph s technicolor dreamcoat There s a reason that Dinah is only mentioned ONCE in the Old Testament let s not hype her up like she s Judith m kay Not only does this book involve a whole lotta biblical time raping and loved ones dying left and right, but it even ends depressing And every time of the month , during the red wave , all the women get sent to a red tent to bleed together in and bathe in that s about it If you want a really good novel about women growing up or whatever read Maya Angelou s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Way better than Red Tent and the heroine of Caged Bird is obviously believeable with real life experiences we can relate to than Dinah s story. I was at Border s Express one day searching for a little something to curl up in a chair with for an extended period of time When I was approached by a clerk asking me if I needed help with anything, I KNOW, WEIRD , right Customer service Who knew it even existed any Anywho, I made my desire known to the saleswoman and she points me to thisI immediately think to myself, Oh crap a religious book I know I m taking a chance at offending the church goers among you, but let s not throw stones Think totally oppressed religious upbringing, among the most offensive group of hypocrites you can imagine and perhaps you can cut me some slack Okay, so back to the book.Being the uber polite, can t imagine offending someone to their face type of woman that I am Just consider it a given that I would ve bought the book no matter how much it cost Quite simply because I knew this gal would be ringing me up at the register and I just couldn t allow her to think I didn t trust her judgment, especially after asking for her advice So I schlepped home with my religious book And you know what I LOVED it What an amazing story of the courage, determination and resiliency of women Hey, just try to imagine what it would be like to be thrown into a cramped tent, with a plethora of other menstruating women, in a time when tampons had yet to be invented The hormones alone in that one tent, make it completely understandable as to why the men steered clear and thought it best to risk their lives in the dessert in search of food, even if the food ate them first Seriously though, this book will make you proud to be a woman I recommend reading it while you have your period It ll make you cry.There are so many other books I ve read that I d like to mention, but this post is already long and I haven t yet gotten to the good part The Red Tent, Anita DiamantThe Red Tent is a novel by Anita Diamant, published in 1997 by Wyatt Books for St Martin s Press It is a first person narrative that tells the story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob and sister of Joseph She is a minor character in the Bible, but the author has broadened her story The book s title refers to the tent in which women of Jacob s tribe must, according to the ancient law, take refuge while menstruating or giving birth, and in which they find mutual support and encouragement from their mothers, sisters and aunts.It begins with the story of her mothers Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah the four wives of Jacob They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through a hard working youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land Dinah s story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate connection with the past 1999 20.