Tag Archives: anita diamant

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (unabridged audiobook read by Carol Bilger; 12 hrs on 10 CDs): Most people know the story of Joseph and the coat of many colors, but do you recall that he also had a sister? Dinah is only mentioned in a single chapter of Genesis, and then only as a victim. This is her story. Though told in first person by Dinah herself, it covers the time period from her parents meeting to years after her own death. I admit I was more interested in learning about Bronze Age life than Old Testament drama, but I enjoyed the narrative as well – more or less. I never felt any sort of emotional tie to any of the characters, perhaps because Dinah herself was so fixated on motherhood as to almost be a caricature of pre-suffrage womanhood. Though I understand and accept that motherhood was the primary occupation and ambition of most women of the time, I got a little tired of the constant obsession with wombs and menstruation and pregnancy. Then again, the male characters weren’t any more developed. I was surprised by the devoted polytheism of the wives of staunchly monotheistic Jacob, though given the lack of communication between the sexes I suppose it’s not so far-fetched. I’m not sure if I’d recommend this one or not. I mean, it was okay, but not a story that will stick with me.

A note on the audio: Bilger’s pronunciation of Dinah took some getting used to: I would have said DYE-nuh, but Bilger said DEE-nuh. Her voice was so gentle that I felt like I was listening to an advertisement for prescription medication, but all in all she was fine: inoffensive and unmemorable.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Good Harbor by Anita Diamant

Good Harbor by Anita Diamant: I started this one on the heels of another Diamant novel, The Last Days of Dogtown. It wasn’t intentional: I had a last-minute drive up to New Jersey and I needed something to listen to should Dogtown end before I got home. I picked up The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, figuring I should be familiar with it before the BookCrossing Convention in Washington, DC, next year, but I only got about two discs into it before realizing that it was far too stupid to be enjoyable. Not only has Brown evidently never stepped foot in DC, the so-called “facts” he relies on in his narrative have been so often disproved I couldn’t even suspend my disbelief. Life’s too short to read crappy books.

But anyway, this is not a review of that excreble book. This is a review of a very nice book. So let’s start over.

Good Harbor by Anita Diamant: Joyce is a romance writer who recently purchased a vacation home near Good Harbor, Massachusetts. Kathleen is a children’s librarian living in the area who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The two meet at Synagogue one week (both are Jewish, though Kathleen converted from Catholicism before getting married) and become fast friends. Together they journey through many changes in their marriages, children, and selves. It’s beautifully written, and has instilled in me a desire to see this magical place called Good Harbor. It sounds just lovely. I was also a little spooked by this book, because some of the details hit pretty close to home. Kathleen’s experiences with breast cancer, for example, are almost identical to my mother’s – who also used to work in an elementary school. The details of a child’s death described later in the book is eerily similar to a friend’s child who recently died. But despite some chills that aren’t really related to the story itself, this was a very pleasant little journey through two women’s lives. It’s not exciting or suspenseful, but it would make a good beach read.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant

The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant: Dogtown was a real place in early Massachusetts, reaching its peak population around the turn of the 19th century. Near the end, most of the inhabitants were misfits and loners: widows, freedmen, escaped slaves, prostitutes, and supposed witches. This story, detailing the last decade or so of the settlement, is not so much historical fiction as fiction inspired by history. Little is known about the residents of Dogtown, but this tale weaves a beautiful tapestry of birth and death, love and hate, kindness and cruelty. I think my favorite characters were Cornelius and Easter, and though I was disappointed in the tale of Sammy, it was a reaction to his decisions in life, not the writing style. All the characters felt real, like old friends. The time period fascinated me too, giving me a real sense for how ordinary people lived without weighing it down with famous historical events or people. This book was my introduction to the much-heralded Diamant, and I was not disappointed. Good Harbor is already on the TBR pile; I’ll have to keep an eye out for The Red Tent.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

© 2010-2024 kate weber All Rights Reserved -- Copyright notice by Blog Copyright