Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Book Review: The Red Tent

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant is a story based on a book of Genesis in the bible which tells the story of Dinah-The Fallen Woman (click here to read the bible chapter.) The story is historical fiction based on the story of Dinah and her family, centering around her 5 mothers (her birth mother Leah, and her 4 "aunties" Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilah.) If you know your old testament (which I don't so don't worry about it) these are the 5 wives of Jacob, son of Issac, son of Abraham. (yes that Abraham!)

The author here does such a wonderful job of engrossing you into the lives of women who lived in that time. What they did, what they cooked, who they believed in, what they sang and laughed about, how they had children and raised them. The passing of time in their home was marked by the menstrual cycle of the women, who at the new moon would gather together in a "Red Tent" specific for celebrating the cleansing of the womb and the preparation of possibly taking a new life in the next month. During those few days they talked and laughed together and praised the goddess' responsible for blessing their lives.

This was my second time reading this book; I first read it during my freshmen year of college, quite by accident while working in the URI Theater Department costume shop as a seamstress. The head of the shop was named Sally, and she was quite the "granola" type of woman. She was Bohemian in every essence of the word, and I liked here a great deal. Anyway I digress. She always had books on tape playing in the shop that we would listen to while we worked. I became quite interested in a particular one and when she told me the title which was this book I went out and read it cover to cover in one weekend. It sucked me in completely. I love when books do that.

One thing this book really makes me reflect on is how women treat other women. I really think today's women have relationships to one another all backwards. We are way too catty with one another (she's fat, that outfit is horrible, she's a b*tch) and we are missing out on the bonding experience we uniquely can have as women. I love my friendships with my girlfriends but honestly the women I consider as "sisters/kindred spirits" are a very small number indeed. As women of today we have so much more than these women who lived thousands of years ago, but they loved their children just as we do (will do), and they loved each other, just as we should.

Who are your sisters? your kindred spirits?

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't heard of this before, but I think I shall be adding it to my list. It looks like an interesting read!