Monday, September 23, 2013

Book Review: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant, is the story of Dinah as told from her point of view.  She is a daughter of the biblical figure Jacob.  The story is a fictionalized account of Dinah’s life that is only mentioned in passing in the Bible.  It weaves tales of her childhood, growing up with all of the sons of Jacob and the tragedy that became her adulthood.  The most interesting piece Diamant tackles in this book, based on historical documents, is what has become known as the rape of Dinah.  She plays into the vagaries the multiple translations and shifts in meaning languages have undergone since the story was originally documented.

I appreciated Diamant’s story here.  While I think there were pieces of the story that were overly detailed or bogged down some in descriptions, I loved her version of this sometimes overlooked Bible story involving a woman.  I also appreciated the strength she gave Dinah while keeping her fairly true to what women may have lived like in this time period.  Even the alternate explanations she gives for the missing pieces of Dinah’s story are plausible.

All in all I would put this on the list that you will absolutely get to reading.  While it is fiction, it casts this story into a whole new light reminding us that there are more sides to a story than what is written in the history books.  Even when the history book in question is the Bible.


  1. THE RED TENT is one of my favorite books and literally changed me when I read it. I have a minor in Women's Studies as part of my BA degree, but it was this book that truly helped to show me EMPOWERMENT and community among women. I was 30 when I read it (wow 13 years ago) and I can tell you that I have not been the same girl or woman since.

    1. I know. That was one aspect I loved about the book. It showed how much power women had, even in a time when women were pretty powerless. It is certainly one of those books you never forget.