I first read The Red Tent about ten years ago and I loved it. The book stuck with me – the comraderie of the women in the red tent. The tie between women. The danger of the one man, many women set up.
I had planned to re-read it one day, so when I saw the audio book at the library I decided now was the time.
Again, my favorite part was the section with Jacob’s wives in their tents with their growing families.
As I went further I got to the section where Dinah moves to Egypt and her journey continues, I realized that I had forgotten about this piece completely.
The book was as good as I remembered it. It’s earthy and warm. The characters come to life and for parts of the book you get so wrapped up in the lives of these women it’s hard to re-focus on life outside the book.
As someone who grew up in an evangelical Christian, the stories of the ‘Old Testament’ were completely foreign. A culture I didn’t understand and was rarely explained in a meaningful way. The first time I read this book it opened up my eyes to the importance of understanding the Jewish context of the scriptures. I had never experienced the Jewish traditions of re-telling scripture in new ways. It was an eye opening experience.
While I loved the first sections equally as much this time around, once Diamant ventured to the part of Dinah’s life after her brief mention in scripture ends, the book seems to go downhill. Her life in Egypt is okay, but it just doesn’t stand up to the earlier writing. Adding to that the length of the book, it does start to drag. I found the final sections as forgettable this time around as I did last.
I’m currently reading Rachel Held Evan’s book A Year of Biblical Womanhood, and smiled to read her many references to this book. Obviously the book impacted her as much as it impacted me!
I would definitely recommend this book, particularly to women readers. However, I would recommend it with the caveat that the latter piece may be a little bit of a letdown.