Wednesday, January 14, 2015

ANITA DIAMANT: CELEBRATING WOMEN’S LIVES



Born in New Jersey and educated at several U.S. colleges, author Anita Diamant began her writing career as a newspaper and magazine journalist. Her interest in Jewish religion and culture led her to also write books about Judaism, including Living a Jewish Life.  She hit the literary jackpot with The Red Tent, a reader and book group favorite. That novel, as well as others by her, can be found on the shelves of the Monrovia Public Library. 

In The Red Tent Ms. Diamant reimagines the life of Dinah, a minor Old Testament character who was the daughter of Jacob and Leah. Dinah’s life and the lives of the women of her tribe center on a red tent, where they give birth, have their monthly menses and recover after illness. It is also where women are free to speak and share confidences. This bestselling book struck a note with readers and gives voice, although in a fictional way, to women who lived in Biblical times.

Ms. Diamant’s strong female characters and relationships also highlight her other books. Good Harbor takes place on the New England coast and is about two women, one with a health crisis and the other with family problems, who bond over their beach walks. The author returns to historical fiction with The Last Days of Dogtown, also set on the coast. This is the story of a 19th century town whose female residents live in unexpected ways.

When a granddaughter asks her grandmother about the past, Addie Baum tells her story in Boston Girl, fiction that reads like a memoir. Addie relates how her life changed from living with old world Jewish traditions in the tenement section of Boston to becoming a new woman, joining a library club to learn literature, wearing pants and getting a job. With its strong female characters and easy to read prose, Boston Girl shares much in common with The Red Tent.



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