Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Voice in the Silence

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Adult Fiction

This book revolves around a little discussed woman in the Bible, Dinah.  She was the sister to Joseph, the guy with the amazing coat, and almost a dozen other brothers. 

I've always struggled with many biblical stories as female voices are absent.  The Bible, for me as a woman, has always been a silent place, so discovering this book was a delight.  Finally, a voice, a story, behind the name!

This is a book about the power of women during this time, a time when women were viewed as little more than livestock.  Everything in this book revolves around the wives of Jacob, which is a much truer story than the ones traditionally told in Sunday school classes.  Dinah's story, her voice, is so strong.  It was amazing to get a glimpse into her world---and that's when you know a book has crossed over, has truly come alive--when the voice and the words and the world within in becomes real.  This character, Dinah, must have existed JUST AS the book said.  It was too real not to be true.

I loved the tradition of the Red Tent and wonder why we ever abandoned it!  Women who are menstruating shut themselves away in this red tent until their menses is over.  Honestly, that sounds heavenly to me.  Sometimes, I wonder what we lost when we burned our bras in protest.  Most of the book takes place in the tent as each of Jacob' wives shares her story with Dinah. 

I loved this book.  It so very clearly shows the importance of women in a patriarchal society, and strong women at that!  The four mother characters were so very interesting and I particularly loved Leah, who won her husband's love through the strength of her devotion.  This is a book to love for both Christians and non-Christians, for all who are in the Sisterhood.  Which means 'sorry guys, you probably won't like it.' 

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