the red tent

title: The Red Tent

author: Anita Diamant

genre: Fiction, historic, biblical

suggested by: Stephanie R.

dates read: Feb 11th – Feb 12th

review: 5 of 5 stars

summary: Dinah is the daughter of Leah, the first wife of Jacob from the book of Genesis in the Bible.  She tells the story of her birth mother and her mother-aunties (all sisters of Leah) Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah, Jacob’s other wives.  Each mother has a special place in her heart and teaches her something about life and love.  She is the only daughter of all four wives and so is given special treatment, allowed to enter the red tent during that time of the month, when typically it’s only allowed of females who had reached womanhood.  From her mothers she learns her duties and role in society.  The story of her life is not always happy, but it rings true with the pain and beauty of the journey.

personal thoughts: Beautiful prose and a wonderful tale.  As someone who has read and heard the stories of Jacob, Leah, Rachel, and Joseph many times, I found this to be a new and interesting take.  Some small details of the stories I know were changed, but they didn’t take away from this narration.  Another captivating book.

favorite quotes:
“If you want to understand any woman you must first ask about her mother and then listen carefully.” p. 2

“In the red tent we knew that death was the shadow of birth, the price women pay for the honor of giving birth.  Thus, our sorrow was measured.” p. 48

“No offerings were made, but as the bundle was covered with earth the sighs that poured from my mothers’ mouths were as eloquent as any psalm.” p. 141

“Why had no one told  me that my body would become a battlefield, a sacrifice, a test? Why did I not know that birth is the pinnacle where women discover the courage to become mothers?” p. 224

“Death is no enemy, but the foundation of gratitude, sympathy, and art.  Of all life’s pleasures, only love owes no debt to death.” p. 320

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