Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What I read: "The Red Tent" by Anita Diamant

I really want to tell you something about "The Red Tent" by Anita Diamant, but I can't seem to think of anything of substance to say about it. I read this book like you would devour an entire bag of potato chips while watching a cheesy movie on the SciFi channel. You're full and you're entertained but you don't have a whole lot to show for it (except greasy fingers).

I didn't get greasy fingers reading "The Red Tent" and, although it was a page turner, I didn't really come away with anything meaningful.

My good friend Lisa told me that when this book first came out about 10 years ago, many women's bible study groups read this book. And while the book uses some characters from the bible -- the main character is a minor player in the Old Testament -- I don't think this is really a book for Christians. Many of the men worship "the God of Isaac and Abram," but the women worship their household gods, the river goddess and others.

Of course, I'm not much of a bible scholar. Mention Goliath and I'm picturing a talking claymation dog. As for the Egyptian gods, I'm probably imagining the system lords from Stargate SG-1. So, I guess I'm a poor judge of what constitutes bible study.

I go back and forth as to whether the book is all about female empowerment or just a study in how women have been controlled. Some women are very powerful, while others are naked slave girls. And all have husbands, fathers or brothers to answer to.

The book made me happy and angry in turns, so I suppose it's more powerful than I am giving it credit for. Then again, it has enough "drama" to be a soap opera. I think if I look at this book as a fun read for a snowy weekend, I really like it. If I try to look at it as a serious study of female empowerment, I don't care for it as much.

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