The Red Tent
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The Red Tent

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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  320,286 ratings  ·  13,906 reviews
Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that are about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons. Told in Dinah's voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood--the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of her mothers--Leah, Rachel,
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Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by St. Martin's Press (first published June 1st 1997)
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Skylar Burris
The Red Tent is (very) loosely based on the story of Dinah in Genesis, and it is a book that is very easy to read. Dinah's tale is one that deserves fleshing out; in the Bible it is an interesting though undeveloped and uncertain chronicle. The author does a fairly decent job of developing her female characters, but her male characters are largely flat, stereotypical, and unnecessarily negative.

In the Bible, the characters of Jacob and Joseph are more well-rounded; they are humans with both fau...more
Embee
I was at Border's Express one day searching for a little something to curl up in a chair with for an extended period of time. When I was approached by a clerk asking me if I needed help with anything, I KNOW, WEIRD!, right? Customer service? Who knew it even existed anymore? Anywho, I made my desire known to the saleswoman and she points me to this...

I immediately think to myself, "Oh crap! a religious book!" I know I'm taking a chance at offending the church goers among you, but let's not throw...more
Sammy
My mom got me this book for Christmas mainly because she wanted to read it. I read the summary on the back and I was intrigued, but wasn't intending to pick it up right away until my mom demanded that I read it as soon as possible so she could read it. So I did. I read it in a day.

I'm a fast reader no matter what, but give me a good book, I'll finish it faster than usual. This book was good. Excellent. I was drawn in with the first word. There were stories within stories and I was able to follow...more
Gracielou
Jul 16, 2008 Gracielou rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any adult
Recommended to Gracielou by: my friend Julie
In Hebrew literature, there is a form called Midrash which in essence is an exegesis on Hebrew texts. Even though I'm not Jewish, I would personally categorize this book as Midrash.

Why? Because Anita Diamant does not stray from the Jacob/Dinah story in the bible one whit. Many people who read this book and then go back to the biblical texts are surprised to find that there are household gods and concubines and that Jacob used some rather superstitious means to breed spotted goats, that Rachel cl...more
Jena
Oct 17, 2012 Jena rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one (or if I want to trick someone into wasting their time)
The ONLY reason I read this is because a post-menopausal lady I worked with at the time said, "Hey this book is great you'll love it! You have to read it and tell me what you think - my book club is reading it! I got it at Costco!" So about four chapters into it I thought, "wait this is really depressing and I don't want to even finish reading this when I can read my Bridget Jones talk about Vodka and Pride and Prejudice." But I already told her I would finish reading it and she was "expecting f...more
Jen
Feb 21, 2008 Jen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of historical fiction who aren't easily offended.
Recommended to Jen by: Mary Pitts
Shelves: adult-fiction
Anytime a work of fiction targets a Judeo-Christian audience, it's hard to rate. Should religious doctrine be taken into account, or should we judge it solely on it's merits as a good story? Because I think some of the more negative reviews of The Red Tent are in regards to its biblical inaccuracies.

Let me start by saying that if you're a moral conservative who believes in the Old Testament, I'd advise caution before reading this book. That's not to say you shouldn't read it; just be aware befo...more
Chrissie
It doesn't matter at all what is fiction and what is history in this book - it is just as lovely to imagine what it would be like if such a custom as "the red tent" did exist. I have now finished the book. WOW! Diamant truely moves our emotions. The beauty of birth, the sorrows AND wonders of aging, the horror of injustice - elements that are a part of all lives. The ending of the book is so beautiful and profound. What exactly is it that we want to reap from our lives? What hurts most? To be to...more
Rachael
My frustration with this book stemmed primarily from the depiction of the various characters. I liked the writing, I liked the way Diamant addresses the contemporary socio-cultural issues, and I thought the characterization was quite vivid--I just didn't agree with the way the characters were presented. Yes, the people in the Bible were real people with varied flaws and gifts, but I didn't like the portrayal of so many of them as petty and conniving. And I especially didn't like the sexual depic...more
Heather
While I enjoyed the parts about midwifery and wish that a place like the Red Tent really did exist, I think that the author got the story all wrong. She turned all the men in the book, including men like Jacob and Joseph, into sex crazed, egotistical, superstitious bigots. I think she took WAY TOO much creative license and basically re-wrote the bible to her liking. In some part she didn't even try to be historically accurate with what the bible says.For example, she says that Joseph and Potifar...more
Bobby
This is an epic tale based on the Biblical character Dinah and her life. I found the story very moving, and much credit goes to the author, Anita Diamant. I think she is a great storyteller, a la Barbara Kingsolver and John Irving. Although I was familiar with Dinah and what happened to her from having read her story in the Bible, Ms. Diamant's story is much richer and complex. Though I should add that some religious people, especially those who believe Bible to be literally true, may be offende...more
Vanessa
I had to read "The Red Tent" for a book club I was in a few years ago. I agree with an earlier post that decribes it as chick-lit masquerading as historical fiction. It also seemed to be two different books - one set in the desert with Jacob, biblical super-stud, and his wives; and the other one set in ancient Egypt. There were all sorts of things that irritated me about this book, including:

1. Descriptions like how everyone loves Rachel because she smells like water. What kind of water - pond w...more
Liz
I'll have to think about this...I may go back and add another star, depending on what stays with me. I think if I wasn't reading this book through a Latter-day Saint lens, I would have given it four stars, because the prose is absolutely gorgeous.
This is the story of Dinah, the sister of Reuben, Gad, Asher, Levi, Joseph, Benjamin, etc., etc. You know, the twelve sons of Jacob. It is written by Anita Diamant, and does a wonderful job of giving motivation to all the things that happen from the ti...more
Shovelmonkey1
Aug 05, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ladies loving history
This book is my exception to the rule book. Generally I will be tying on my sneakers good and secure, and heading for the hills at great speed if anyone threatens (recommends) me with a tale of female bonding, sisterhood and lovey-dovey fuzziness. At first glance I would have interpreted this as a sort of biblical version of the First Wives club or some other story where all the ladies band together in order to achieve some sense of self and self worth and to high five each other and sing songs...more
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 13, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Jose Nacianceno
Shelves: retelling, religion, drama
For me, this is a book that is hard not to like. Last month, I and some friends here in Goodreads agreed to read the Bible for 12 months. Most of us are now on the seventh book, Judges and so far, my favorite is still Genesis. The reason is that there are just too many interesting events in it and so many unforgettable characters whose stories can be told and retold many times but we will not be tired hearing about them.

One of these stories is that of Isaac and Sara who have two sons, Esau and J...more
Chavah
Jun 14, 2007 Chavah rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone. (esp. Jews and Xtians)
i can't remember the last time a book made me cry. (Midrash, gotta love it) ;-)

the only people i have ever met, who actually believed Dinah was "raped" (as recorded in the Bible) have been men...

granted, that might say something about the circles i tend to move in (hasidic) and our propensity for personal interpretation of the scriptures (to an embarrassing degree, at times) but any woman, rebbetzin/wife/mother/sister/otherwise, which i have discussed this story with (speaking of the scripture)...more
Matt
Okay, so I knew before I read this book that it wasn't written for my demographic. I'm an adult male. This is a woman's book through and through. With that disclaimer in place, take what I'm about to say worth a grain of salt: I really didn't care for this book.

The Red Tent is the "Fried Green Tomatoes," "Steel Magnolias," or "The Notebook" of the Old Testament set. It tracks the life of a quaternary character in Genesis, Dinah, from before her birth to after her death. Diamant takes massive, bu...more
Books Ring Mah Bell
My apologies to Anita Diamant. This book is good, in the sense that she takes an interesting concept (a bit of the bible) and expounds upon it. And, in all fairness, she wrote well. Alas, this was just NOT my cup of tea. No sir.

Here I'd like to throw in a disclaimer that I am not one who finds the Bible holy. If I were and then I read this book, I'm thinking I may have been offended. So, be warned if you think you are getting biblical fiction that is... unoffensive? All I can say about this is t...more
Joanne
Apr 19, 2007 Joanne rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes historical fiction or family sagas.
This is the second book I have read recently which is based on events which occured in the bible, and it is by far the better one. The story is so alive and flowing that I have finished the book within one day and it has stood in sharp contrast to the previous book I read, which was much longer, took much more time and effort to read and was a lot heavier.
The book tells the story of Dinah. A character hardly mentioned in the bible except for a few lines (after finishing the book, I fished out th...more
Cindy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kwesi 章英狮
I am not a Bible fanatic (as a reader), I mean I don't read much bout the bible even though I have a dozen of different translation of the Bible in my dormitory. I loved to collect different bible from the smallest to the heaviest encyclopedia-like Bible, I must be a theologically insane when you saw my family's collection of rosary, bible and statues but I never finished a Bible in my entire life.

When I entered college I have this theologian professor who knows a lot about the Bible, even I ask...more
Charly
Jan 19, 2012 Charly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
My first read of anything by Diamant. While this book may seem targeted toward women it is one from which anyone would gain insight into the cultural roles of early biblical times. As the jacket says, this is a famous biblical story told from the feminist side. The style is light although the subject matter is not. Diamant is a master storyteller. Read it it will do you good.
Melissa
Jul 18, 2008 Melissa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: adult women who can think of it as a novel and nothing more
Recommended to Melissa by: Brandee Oakley
Shelves: bookclub
Since book club is over, I'll review this book. The Red Tent is one of my favorite books. Two things I would recommend for anyone considering reading this book: 1) don’t read up on the bible story until after finishing the novel; 2) If you know the bible story well, read this novel as that, just a novel of fiction relating nothing to the bible story. I have spoilers in this review, so continue reading with caution! I didn’t give it five stars because it’s a little too controversial and I was dis...more
Karla
I read this story over Mother's Day weekend so my take on it is the celebration of womanhood. I was absolutely fascinated by this time in history that is so vastly differnt from our modern times. I think if you are overly conservative and only look at the biblical inaccuracies you will miss out on a story with a gorgeous prose. I would caution you to read this as it is a work of "fiction". This is a family saga Diamant loosley wove biblical history into. told thru Jacob's only daughter Dinah and...more
Peggy
Okay, I really struggled through this book. I loved reading from the perspective of a woman in the Old Testament. That part was great. I have been told many-a-time that I am an individual who CHOOSES to be naive and for that reason, I didn't like the way the author portrayed some of the characters--some of my heroes--from the OT. There were just some disturbing things in there--like Jacob masturbating--(there is worse than that in the book, believe me) that I thought were AWFUL. In the end, Jose...more
Morgan F
This novel follows the tale of Dinah, the daughter of Jacob barely mentioned in the Old Testament. In the Hebrew Bible, she is seen as a young girl who a handsome prince took advantage of, and that the following slaughter was the result of her family defending her honor.

I went into this book solely expecting a rich, entertaining story and that's what I got. I never read the story in the Bible, so I didn't have any expectations in regard to being accurate.

I learned much from this book and I cou...more
Stefani
I suffered through this book...just because I felt like I'd started it, I may as well finish it. The "chick flick," of biblical revisionism...the "Ya ya sisterhood," of desert matriarchy.

It seemed to go on forever rewriting the histories of Jacon, Leah and Rachel...then elaborating on the amazing sisterhood and bonding that happens around the red tent...implying all the way that women have all the power, men take all the credit.

The writing finally became compelling upon the description of the de...more
Stephanie
Aug 25, 2010 Stephanie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stephanie by: My mother-in-law
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Crystal
Oct 01, 2007 Crystal rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: who like Bible stories retold with a flair of creative license
I didn't like this book. I started it years ago, and got partly through it, but put it down and didn't get back to it for years later. That alone should say a lot.
the book tries to creatively retell the story of Jacob and his family from the Bible. the author for the most part sticks with the basics from the Bible narrative, but builds on top of it a bold, earthy, imaginative story. I give her credit for making a living, breathing story out of a story that could become inhumane through its fami...more
Samantha
Sep 10, 2007 Samantha rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women everywhere
While the term biblical fiction may be applicable to this particular book, it feels more like biblical non-fiction. The stories of Rachel, Leah, Zilpah, Bilhah, and Dinah are more real in this narrative than they ever were in my countless Sundays spent in Hebrew class. Though this book strikes a particular cord with me being a Jewish woman, this tale of the secret lives of women can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of religion. In this book, characters whose names have usually only been spoken i...more
Samantha Newman
I wish I didn't hear so much hype about certain things. I expected this to blow me away. And I did enjoy it, and I was intruiged by the historical aspects and by aspects of the plot. There is a however, coming later.

The second half of the book, I enjoyed more. Basically after the whole craziness with the murdering brothers happened, I felt like it picked up for me a bit. I guess when it was more conjecture on the author's part, and less historical showing off, I enjoyed it more.

Especially during...more
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Anita Diamant is the author of eleven books and one on the way. She is best-known for her first novel, The Red Tent, which was published in 1997 and won the 2001 Booksense Book of the Year Award. Based on the biblical story of Dinah, The Red Tent became a word-of-mouth bestseller in the US and overseas, where it has been published in more than 25 countries. Three other novels followed: Good Harbor...more
More about Anita Diamant...
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“If you want to understand any woman you must first ask about her mother and then listen carefully. Stories about food show a strong connection. Wistful silences demonstrate unfinished business. The more a daughter knows about the details of her mother's life - without flinching or whining - the stronger the daughter.” 273 likes
“The painful things seemed like knots on a beautiful necklace, necessary for keeping the beads in place.” 114 likes
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