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on May 7, 2011
This book had been sitting on my shelf for over a year before I decided to pick it up and give it a try. My mother had recommended it to me, but I was hesitant to read it because of the biblical storyline. I am not very religious, so I was unfamiliar with many of the characters that were presented, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that my lack of knowledge about the history did not prevent my understanding and enjoyment of this book.

It is the story of Dinah, who is barely mentioned in Genesis, told from her point of view: from the time of her father's meeting of her mother and three 'mother-aunties,' through her childhood, to her first marriage followed by unbelievable grief, and into the later years of her life as a renowned midwife. There are several dramatic plot twists that held my attention and forced me to keep reading to find out what would happen, more so in the second half of the book than in the first.

I would recommend this book to anyone, even those who are unfamiliar with the story from the Bible.
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on June 7, 2016
Want to read a bit about polytheism, early Judaism, spinning (yarn/string), Egypt, love, family, disappointment, loss, betrayal, menstruation, midwifery, growing up, women, women, and more women? This is the book for you.
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on July 2, 2004
We have been lost to each other for so long...I am so grateful you have come...Blessings on your eyes. Blessings on your children. Blessings on the ground beneath you. My heart is a ladle of sweet water, brimming over. Selah."
As of 082903, this book is among the Top Ten Most Popular (most registered) Books on It's not hard to see why. It's the kind of book that should be passed from sister to sister, mother to daughter, generation to generation. Women in the Bible have generally been portrayed as virgins or harlots, often serving as postscripts to the more familiar stories of men who begat men. But who gives birth to those men? Strong, splendid, complicated, terrible, beautiful women.
Anita Diamant weaves a compelling tale of the most vivid, human characters. Her writing flows like the Nile. Rock on.
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on July 19, 2004
I loved this book for all the same reasons everyone else did, but I must add that it was very refreshing to read a book with such a unique format. The format of most stories and novels goes: 1. introduction 2. rising action 3. climax 4. falling action 5. resolution
However, "The Red Tent" has no rising action, so the climax hits you like a ton of bricks making for a very unpredictable story. Then, the story continues to rise and fall in very atypical undulations. I love this completely unpredictable format.
One last remark I must make is that I appreciate how Diamant makes no bones about this book being "based on" or having a direct correlation to the stories in the bible. On the very first page of the book she cautions the reader that the stories and names in "The Red Tent" may be similar to those of the Bible, but she is in no way implying that they are true or should be believed.
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on February 15, 2007
I must be a late bloomer - it is 2007 and I just read the book loaned to me by a neighbour when I recently broke both my ankles.It is wonderful and as the Boston Globe says "this is what the Bible would read like if it were written by a woman". I concur - this book was wonderful - gave me a sense of the time, the life of women, the life between women and men. The people who complain about the facts should stick to reading the Bible if that is what they are looking for. I loved being able to read about characters that I had heard about in an interesting way.
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on June 30, 2004
I'm not religious. What I know about the bible, I know from being preached to by pius people, television & grandparents.
The story of Jacob was completely new to me, and while reading this book I rented the religious film "Jacob" to compare the stories... The book was awsome, but I'm glad I compared it to the patriarchal version of events, because I realized how horribly unrealistic the "biblical" story was, compared to this work of fiction.
It's a wonderful story that should be read by every woman... especially those who take their priveledges & rights for grantid.
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on June 25, 2004
I'm not sure whether men would like this book, but as a woman, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The red tent is where the women in this Biblical story go when they're on their periods, to give you an idea of what this book is about. I fell in love with all of the characters. The plot is fascinating and fast-paced. The style is beautiful. The fact that the author took one little passage from the Bible and based this entire book on it is remarkable. This book is how the Bible would have been if a woman had written it. A great idea, and well executed.
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on August 11, 2004
One of my favourtie books--ever! Give copies to your girlfriends and they will love it too.
I originally thought this was a book about biblical issues--the treatment of women, the brutality of life, the differences in politics--but it is about so much more than that. The core of this story of Dinah is about sisterhood, the bonds between women, and how history often forgets there moving and deeply personal experiences. It's not an Oprah book or a feminist rant, the author is too subtle for that.
The Red Tent is engrossing, mesmerizing, and unforgettable. Read it!
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on August 22, 2009
I loved every moment of this novel. It brought me to tears on numerous occasions. As an exploration of womanhood, childbirth, and all the pain and joy of being women it is without compare. It explored the interesting balance between early Judaism as it coexisted with paganism, even within the same family...and it chronicled the destruction of the power of the goddess image that was inherent in the move to monotheism. It is important for people to recognize that the god of Abram was NOT viewed by early Hebrews in the same way that the diety is now. Whether one sees the god changing or man's (and here I emphasize MAN's) understanding of that god deepening, is irrelevant. The erosion of women's power is a fact of religious history. I found her historically accurate in her depictions of cultural variances between the Canaanites, the Jacobites and the Egyptians. I also found it fabulous the way the three intermixed as they clearly had to have. Men do not come off as horrid en masse and those who do like Levi and Simeon didn't fare too well in the Bible either. Her story is about women and she captures us in all our glory and folly weaving a story of complexity and profundity that left me both heart-broken and enlivened.
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If the Bible had been written by a group of women this is what it may have been like. As we follow the story of Dinah, whose brother was Joseph of the Amazing Technicolor Coat fame, we see how Bible history unfolds through the eyes of a female. Treated indifferently by the men of her family she bonds with her mothers and aunties during their time in the red tent. The red tent is a place where the tribeswomen went for a period of days during their moon cycle. Here they gave birth, passed their monthly courses, grew old, and passed on their knowledge to each other.

As we follow Dinah through her early years and adolescence, we witness her coming of age and becoming one with mother earth. We watch her personal growth as she learns to love, to lose, and to love again. We watch as she trades the family of her youth for the family of her maturity.

Biblical history takes a back seat here, giving the story just enough to form the backdrop of a powerful story. Dinah's brother Joseph is portrayed more realistically in this story as a man who wears his celebrity amongst the Egyptians as a heavy yoke instead of a crown. He becomes much more human.

The characters in The Red Tent became so much alive for me that I hated to see the story end. Highly recommended.
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