Monday, March 23, 2009

Becca Does A Book Review – The Red Tent

This is one of those books that has been recommended to me on several occasions over the course of the past 5 years.

And it is, of course one of those books that I dragged my heels on ever reading because I wasn’t entirely sure what the premise was.

All I really knew was that it was about the Menstrual Tent that women back in the day shared when they were bleeding.

With my penchant for anything related to Mensturation … I probably should have read this one earlier, but for some reason I just never did.

And then, my best friend’s mother placed a copy in my hands, and that’s all it took.

The Premise:

The story is based upon Genesis 29 – 34 in the Bible, but from the perspective of Dinah, Jacob’s only daughter (he had a ridiculous amount of sons).

The reason why the novel is called “The Red Tent” is because much of the novel takes place within this distinctly women’s space, where all the women in Jacob’s tribe spend three days of each of their months bleeding, chatting, and bonding.

Why You Should Read This Book:

The storytelling is incredible. Diamant really paints a vivid picture of this biblical world, and while I was reading, Dinah’s world really took it’s own shape and form through the authors descriptions.

The imagery of the Red Tent is incredible. Just like in real life, the women central to this novel fight and do shitty things to each other, but the Red Tent, a place that is a space just for women, is one of healing and life and non-acrimony. It makes me want to bleed on a pile of straw for three days, just so I can kick it with my girls in a space where by our very biology only we’re allowed to go. Holla.

Lots of Midwifery. The ability of women’s bodies to create life is a huge theme in this book. I love midwives, and I love reading about birth via midwife. There’s a great deal of this in the book, and I just think it’s cool.

So Many Emotions. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to punch things. Anita Diamant took a fairly straightforward biblical thome, and made it into one hell of a great story. Women figuring out ways to navigate male power structures, drama, action, everything. If nothing else, it’s great.

Pleasure! Who doesn’t like some good commentary on female pleasure? Well, I’m sure there are folks out there, but yours truly always likes the incorporation of this into a story. Holla.

Why You Might Not Want To Read This Book:

You like the bible the way it is. Patriarchal, where women have little agency or are vilified. Okay, that was harsh … but I actually took the time to read the portions of Genesis that relate to this … and women in the little snippet I read are not incorporated as agents (unless they’re engaging in trickery, of course).

That’s all I can really think of actually. I think that this is a great book with a great flip to an already pretty epic story.

In conclusion:

Read the Red Tent, you won’t be disappointed!


1 comment:

  1. This is completely unrelated to the post, but our mutual friend Tarsikin thinks you would enjoy this: .