Hardcover, 271 pages.
Read from December 4, 2017 to December 11 2017.
This is one of those books I purposely avoided in my youth. Don’t ask me why but I had a thing in wanting to avoid highly feminine literature or anything do with motherhood. I guess I did not think I wanted kids and I was wrapped up in my own “cool girl” persona. There are some powerful moments in this book that spoke to me despite the strong motherhood tone. I should also point out that I was not at all familiar with the original story of Dinah that is referenced in the bible until after I read this book.
Dinah is born as the only daughter of Jacob. She grows up with the other strong women in her family under the presence of the Red Tent. The Red Tent is a place where women gather when they are menstruating or giving birth. It is a strength-giving place where women reset and pass down midwife knowledge to younger generations. However, as Dinah grows these traditions are coming under threat. They make men uncomfortable, this brewing power and community that women have, and Dinah will learn first hand, how a threat of power will cause even men she loves to act out in horrible ways.
“Why did I not know that (child) birth is the pinnacle where women discover the courage to become mothers?…Until you are the woman on the bricks, you have no idea how death stands in the corner, ready to play his part. Until you are the woman on the bricks, you do not know the power that rises from other women.”
I can see why this book was an instant hit with so many readers. For any woman that has had a child, this book would validate the beautiful gift of childbirth and motherhood which is something we, as a modern society, have fallen a bit out of touch with. We medicalize birth, view women’s menstrual cycles as a nuisance to be stifled and controlled, and have gotten out of touch with raising children in a community setting which, leaves mothers extremely isolated and without the resources or help that other woman and the bond of motherhood can provide. Additionally, I would say that the book made a strong comment on Christianity in that that the community and strength that women had in this book was brought to end by Christianity when women’s sexuality and virginity was being controlled by men.
As I do not have children at this point in my life the motherhood theme was a bit overpowering at times, however, this book helped me reconnect with my feminine side and appreciate the strength that comes with being a woman, making it an important read for all women.