Wednesday, June 20, 2007

If I May Be So Sappy...

Warning: Sap alert.

I'm reading The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. It's okay. One of my very literarily inclined friends described it as a "book club book", and so it is. It's interesting and well-written, but probably not one I'll read again. I think it is fairly culturally accurate, but the author took great liberties with the biblical account (it is a fictional retelling of the story of Dinah, Jacob's daughter). Her liberties are very creative and intriguing, but she takes them too far at times.

Well, anyway, this wasn't supposed to be a book review. Last night I read a passage in the book that described the birth of Dinah's son. Giving birth and being a new mother were the most intense experiences of my life, and I think Diamant did a good job of describing some of the emotions that go along with those experiences.

"Why had no one told me that my body would become a battlefield, a sacrifice, a test? Why did I not know that birth is the pinnacle where women discover the courage to become mothers? But of course, there is no way to tell this or to hear it."

And then later, as Dinah describes her first moments with her son...

"Just as there is no warning for childbirth, there is no preparation for the sight of a first child....There should be a song for women to sing at this moment, or a prayer to recite. But perhaps there is none because there are no words strong enough to name that moment. Like every mother since the first mother, I was overcome and bereft, exalted and ravaged. I had crossed over from girlhood. I beheld myself as an infant in my mother's arms, and caught a glimpse of my own death. I wept without knowing whether I rejoiced or mourned. My mothers and their mothers were with me as I held my baby."

I told you it would be sappy.


Anonymous said...

I tried reading that book...for my book club. I got 100 or so pages into it, but I gave up...just couldn't make myself forge on through it. Those are accurate feelings though, I would say, of being a mother.


Jude said...

i really want to read that book now - its sounds soooo good. I teared up - your sap warning was spot on.