Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Red Tent


The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, it took me a while to get through this compared to my previous reads. I've heard about this book off and on for a little while. It's been out for about 15 years now. It's not what I expected.

The Red Tent is a fictional story of Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob/ Israel and Leah from the book Genesis in the Bible. With it being from such a well known source, I had thought it would have stuck to it as well as it could for a work of fiction. Alas, it did not. Instead of this story being of forgiveness or anything uplifting, it was full of bitter, angry people who did not rely on God, but only of the lesser gods, most known to Egypt of the time or of the Canaanite people. It just left me scratching my head.

Dinah is not mentioned much in the Bible, expect for being Leah's daughter and the victim of rape at the hands of a prince and her brothers defended her honor in a very brutal way by killing the guy who raped her and every man in the city. Jacob then took his family and moved from that place.

So there is a lot of unknowns in the story of Dinah and Anita Diamant filled it in with her imagination. She took what we know from the Bible and changed it completely. They turned what is known from the passages and made it into a joke between the characters. The marriage between Leah and Jacob being an example. In the Bible, he was furious he was given the wrong sister in marriage, but in the book, he and Leah laughed over it and plotted that he should be mad about it as a joke.

The rivalry between Rachel and Leah was downplayed and made it seem like it was a fun time to be sisters and wives to the same guy. There is much that I learned from the Bible of these stories, it was hard to enjoy reading this book with out thinking, no, that is not it. The last part of the book is all fiction with what the author wrote on what happened to Dinah. We do see Joseph after being in Egypt and assisting the Pharaoh, but he is a unforgiving and bitter of the past.

I honestly did not see any redeeming character in any of these people. Mad, bitter, hostile, hurt, angry. If you are going to read this book, don't go in thinking of what you know, go in thinking that this is a book with only the names similar to what you know and nothing else.

The writing is ok. It was all written from Dinah perspective. It was more of a giant word picture then anything. There is not much conversation that goes on in the book. You mainly read that in the conversation between Jacob and Leah, this is what they would talk about. I could not connect with this book.

I say not to read.

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