The Red Tent - by Anita Diamant
"a poignant, realistic story developed from one line of the Bible"
The Red Tent is juicy as an apple and once you start it you can’t stop. This book is called “Religious Fiction” which sounds about as fun as reading the King James Bible, but what this book does is give you a real view of life in Biblical times. The book’s protagonist is Dinah, a character with only one line in the whole Bible about her. The author Anita Diamant weaves a story around the one thing we know about her. Dinah is Jacob’s only daughter; she is sister to the men who form the twelve tribes of Israel.
Dinah marries a prince from a neighboring city and for a while she’s happy until her brothers meddle. They first make a painful request of all the men of the neighboring city, which the men follow through on. Later her brothers convince their father, Jacob, that Dinah has been raped. They kill her husband’s father and murder her husband while she is in the bed with him. This part of the story made me angry at her family for taking away her only happiness.
From there the story grows and gives Dinah a life the Bible did not. Diamant gives this character strength that can only be compared with other Biblical women such as Sarah, Ruth, or Mary. Dinah’s story is heart wrenching and painful at times but also is joyous and ultimately a story that needs to be told. This book is fast paced and poignant but not for the weak-of-heart because it can get quite graphic. Diamant takes an ancient story and makes it seem not only true, but relevant.
The story is told in Dinah’s voice, which only makes it seem more real, like reading her diary. Diamant gives a voice to an otherwise voiceless character. In a looking glass to our past, she gives us a view to what a women’s life was like in Biblical days. Though this story is sometimes graphic and gross, it is also wonderful. It is a story of love, hate, passion, torture, family and solitude, but above all it is a story of a girl whose life influenced the world more than she could have ever known.