For most of human history, the stories of women have either been written out of our collective memories or they have been simplified into a much shorter narrative that often lacks the colors and the nuance of the full story.
In the Bible, the story of Dinah, the only daughter of the Patriarch Jacob and his first wife, Leah is only known by the fact that she was raped by Shechem. Nothing else is said about her.
In the last twenty years or so, modern writers have looked to the Bible and the often maligned or marginalized women as the protagonists for new stories where these women have been fleshed out and celebrated as full human beings. One of the earliest novels in this genre was The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant.
Two years ago, the book became a TV movie. The cast included Rebecca Ferguson as Dinah, Iain Glen as Jacob and Minnie Drive as Leah.
I read the book many years ago and re-read it just before it hit the small screen. Among the books within this genre, it is one of the best. I expected and hoped that the TV movie would do justice to the novel and to Dinah, a woman whose life story has been lost to history for thousands of years. The Red Tent is not the first and will certainly not the be last book dramatized for the screen where the plot and/or the characters were altered.
As much as I love the book, I felt that the adaptation was lacking. Anita Diamant, as a writer is able to grab the reader and not let go until the final page. The plot was a little slow until the second half, when the story finally gathered steam.
Do I recommend it? Let me put it this way. If you intend on watching the television adaptation, read the book first. Then watch the movie. I personally prefer the book, but someone else may prefer the movie.
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