Monday, April 4, 2011

The Red Tent-Review & Giveaway


The red tent was a place designated for the women in this biblical story to congregate during their menstrual cycles, times of birth, sickness and healing. Only women are allowed in the tent and during the time spent there, they shared experiences, spoke of traditions and discussed all matters of importance.

Dinah, the daughter of Jacob [Israel], tells her family’s familiar story from her own experiences and from the experience of others that she learned while in the red tent.


Sounds interesting enough right? Especially when you consider that the only record we have from that time period is from a male perspective. But see that is the problem with a synopsis; they are written to sound interesting. You can’t get enough information from a synopsis to know what else may be lurking between the covers. So please, don’t judge a book, as I did, by the synopsis on the cover - judge it by its reviews.

The author was too easily sidetracked with lurid sexual references and often lost sight of the forest through the sleaze (thank you Hitch). I am not going to argue about whether or not the Bible is a romanticized record of what actually took place during that time period or if these stories are even true or based on parable. My issue with this book is that this new look into this story from the Old Testament adds little to the progression of humanity in comparison to it’s male perspective counterpart.

Within this story the author had a unique opportunity to express her thoughts and feelings regarding the good and bad that takes place when progress interferes with tradition and she totally blew it. She took so much time setting up the story to explain the complicated relationship that evolves around families, especially between mothers and daughters and when the time came to really drive the idea home, she just put her pen down and walked away. This approach made the fictional part of the character Dinah seem flat with no depth worth holding onto. Dinah began the story as a girl filled with potential and possibility and by the end had evolved into a creature of circumstance rather than choice and that just bothers me about people in general, especially women.

In the end, the book receives a 1-star rating because I had a hard time absolutely hating a book that prompted me to pick up my dusty old testament and read the ancient story for myself. If The Red Tent is a reflection of what the Bible would read like, if women wrote it, I am eternally grateful, that men were the scribes back in that day. Not because I think the men had a better handle on reality but because this women’s version tried to stretch truth in all the wrong places. But perhaps the book really wasn’t that bad and I’m just mad because  this was the first book I’ve purchased in a really LONG time and I would have liked it to be better than what it was. 

So, if you are still interested in reading the book, let me know by leaving a comment on this post sometime before midnight on April 11, 2011 (that's one week). I’ll send you my copy to keep! (if more than one person requests the book I’ll use to choose the winner.)

Oh and if you don't want a copy, you can still leave a comment - just let me know you are not interested the giveaway. :)


1 comment:

Katie said...

Dang, it totally sounded cool from the synopsis. Did someone recommend it to you?