Saturday, May 24, 2008

Rachel and Leah by Orson Scott Card

Last year I tried to read Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. It seemed that every blog I read recommended it. Even though it was written several years ago it was still HOT! But it was on hold at the library so I found and read Ender's Shadow instead. It was...okay. I found Rachel and Leah at Barnes and Nobles and thought, "why not, let's buy this and see what it's like". I thoroughly enjoyed The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. I know, I know...many people did not appreciate that book - too graphic, too fleshy. I was rather captivated by the earthiness. What can I say?

Card's Rachel and Leah is part of a series. He's written about Sarah and Rebekah and I believe he hopes to cover more women of the Old Testament. Rachel and Leah follows the same type of read as The Red Tent but without the graphic-ness. Card speculates as to the dialogue between Rachel, Leah, Jacob, Bilhah, Zilpah and Laban. Other characters are added - like Laban's sons, various servants, Bilhah's father, etc. I enjoyed the speculative dialogue and insight into the life and times of every day living ca. 2000 B.C. (give or take a few hundred years)

Card's portrayal of Jacob was interesting. He paints the guy to be a type of superman - loved but all, wins over his enemies, wise, strong, manly, sensitive, a man's man and a woman's man. Hard not to love him. But when I read scripture I don't see Jacob like that. He's rather manipulative, deceitful, greedy and spoiled. I didn't mind the different take on the guy though.

Laban was another character I read differently in Scripture than Card. For Card Laban isn't manipulative but rather sincere and a seeker of peace. He doesn't deceive Jacob, rather Laban desires to protect Rachel and Leah and through a couple mishaps you-know-who ends up the first bride.

It was this twist of Laban's character that kind of turned the book sour for me. There were a couple dialogues, especially toward the end (when Laban and Leah and planning how to get Rachel to marry Jacob) which made him sound like a soap-opera character from today rather than a middle-eastern patriarch.

Oh, by the way, I picked up Ender's Game this week and started to read but got bogged down by the continual head-butting, nose-punching, stomach-kicking of six year olds. It happened over and over again in Ender's Shadow and I didn't feel like reading about it again. Maybe it's a mother-thing but that kind of physical persecution just doesn't make for pleasant reading.

For more book reviews go to She posts and hosts reviews every Saturday. Ohh, and birthday pictures are on their way.


Anonymous said...

I'm waiting patiently for pictures!

Heidi said...

I ended up really liking Ender's Game, which completely surprised me. Sometimes I have to be in just the right mood for stuff like that. I, too, get really upset at children being abused, in pain, neglected, or hurt emotionally. I've always been that way, but being a mom of little boys made it a million times worse. There are some great books I've tried to read and had to put away because I couldn't handle it....