Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dinah - the sole daughter of Jacob, finds her own way when she cuts off her own family

I've been told number of times to read this book for the WOW Book Club, and finally it happened and no regrets!

We all enjoyed The Red Tent, which highlights the story of Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob, son of Issac and grandson to Abraham (the one who almost sacrificed his elder son Issac to prove his loyalty to God). Dinah is raised by her mother and three sisters - all of them married to Jacob, and spends her time in the red tent, exclusively for women who have their menstruation (hence the name). But with Dinah they make an exception and we get to see her perspective of her family from child to young woman.

She becomes visible to Jacob and her brothers once the prince Shalem of Shechem falls in love with her and she loves him back. Jacob and her brothers afraid to lose their control over Dinah, who they hadn't even cared for before, sets upon a horrific tragedy that leads Dinah to curse her family and escapes to Egypt.

It is in Egypt where Dinah's life becomes more optimistic and empowered, where she finally finds her own way to become the best midwife in town.

Of course many more things happen throughout the whole story, such as the character of Werenro, a redhead eccentric messanger of Dinah's grandmother, whose life is heartbreaking and yet the saviour of Dinah in Egypt; Meryt, Inna and Rachel - all midwives who influenced Dinah to set her on a path to become the best midwife she can be; Benia - a beautiful man who gives Dinah a chance to love freely and find peace in the rest of her days.

It was powerful to see this one character who's mentioned 8 times in the bible, a complex and resilient woman of her times in Anita Diamant's incredible book.

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