Monday, July 19, 2010

The Red Tent

I picked up this book because it had been on lots of reading lists I frequent.  I had no idea what it was about but after the frequency of this title increased as I started to prep for the pre-AP class that I'm going to teach, I knew I needed to read it. 

This is a story based (very) loosely on the story of Dinah found in the bible.  It tells about the lives of her mother, Leah, and aunts, their individual relationships with Jacob and the feelings she has for each of her eleven brothers.  She shares the stories told by these women to her, experiences that are not shared with men and are not written down.  Then she recounts the experiences of her life as created by the author.

I loved the voice in this book.  I really found it to be authentic to how I would assume a woman of this period to speak.  I loved the characteristics that were given to the brothers, the personalities, little quirks, and the way that Dinah would have related to them.  I found myself longing for the time when the network of women was as connected as is was during this time, the way that days were set aside each month for the unity of women to be just theirs. 

This book had significantly more discussion about sex than I thought was necessary.  I just don't see these characters being as sexualized as Diamant imagined.  Obviously it was a part of their lives, but I can't see it at all the way depicted.  I loved the way Diamant transitioned from the Canaan society to the Egyptian, that the names changed, the clothing looked very different, etc. 

I liked this book.  I wanted to finish reading it.  And with these kinds of books, it is important to look at the characters with the same discrepancy offered to the characters realistic portrayal in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  Yes, they were real people, but that doesn't mean this is the depiction of them.  Overall I thought it was a good read, but I just don't see how it would be a book that most men, regardless of their age, would enjoy, and it would take a mature girl/woman to be able to read it without blushing.  

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