The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

6/10

This title belongs to the biblical fiction genre, something that I wasn’t too sure about at first (revisiting the idea that I might be a book snob). It came highly recommended, though, and I wanted to see the TV miniseries that was inspired by the novel, so I gave it a go.

The story centers around Dinah, son of Jacob and Leah. Biblically, Dinah is the subject of Genesis 34, in a story commonly referred to as “the rape of Dinah.” However, as Diamant points out in The Red Tent, her original story in the Bible isn’t really about Dinah at all, but instead about her brothers’ revenge. This is one of the most  compelling aspects of the story; that is seeks to shed light on the equivalent of a Biblical walk-on character.

But though Diamant chose an interesting subject to write about, there were some elements that were not as captivating. One issue was that, unless you are a biblical whiz, some of the story seems either superfluous or overly complicated. Which isn’t necessarily the author’s fault, but it is a lot to ask for me to remember back to reading Genesis in the sixth grade. On the plus side, though, Diamant did manage to force me into reading way more about Dinah and her history than I would have in any other circumstances.

The book is difficult to rate, because it is aimed at a Judeo-Christian audience, so if that’s your thing you’ll probably like it? For me, it was a decent read, but I’m not planning on a reread any time in the near future.

AND WHAT ABOUT THE MOVIE? Not so much a movie as a TV miniseries. It’s two episodes, so it hit that middle ground of not being overwhelmingly long but still getting almost all of the book onto the screen. It’s got some great acting and is visually beautiful. But even with these things, it wasn’t super memorable, and my recommendation would be to either read the book or see the series, but both isn’t necessary.

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