Cover image for Pitching my tent : on marriage, motherhood, friendship, and other leaps of faith
Pitching my tent : on marriage, motherhood, friendship, and other leaps of faith
Diamant, Anita.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Scribner, [2003]

Physical Description:
xiii, 223 pages ; 23 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


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E184.37.D53 A3 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Following the enormous success of her two bestselling novels, The Red Tent and Good Harbor, award-winning author Anita Diamant delivers a book of intimate reflections on the milestones, revelations, and balancing acts of life as a wife, mother, friend, and member of a religious community.Before The Red Tent, before Good Harbor, before and during six books on contemporary Jewish life, Anita Diamant was a columnist. Over the course of two decades, she wrote essays about friendship and family, work and religion, ultimately creating something of a public diary reflecting the shape and evolution of her life -- as well as the trends of her generation. Pitching My Tent collects the finest of these essays, all freshly revised, updated, and enriched with new material, forming a cohesive and compelling narrative. Organized into six parts, the shape of the book reflects the general shape of adult life, chronicling its emotional and practical milestones. There are sections on marriage and the nature of family ("Love, Marriage, Baby Carriage"); on the ties that bind mother and child ("My One and Only"); on the demands and rewards of friendship ("The Good Ship"); on the challenges of balancing Jewish and secular calendars ("Time Wise"); on midlife ("In the Middle"); and on what it means to embrace Judaism in today's culture ("Home for the Soul").

Author Notes

Anita Diamant is the author of Saying Kaddish, Choosing a Jewish Life, The New Jewish Wedding, Living a Jewish Life, The New Jewish Baby Book, Bible Baby Names, and the bestselling novel, The Red Tent. She lives in Newton, Massachusetts. Anita Diamant is the author of the bestselling novel "The Red Tent" & several books on Judaism, including "Living a Jewish Life", "Choosing a Jewish Life", & "The New Jewish Baby Book". A journalist who has written for "Redbook", the "Boston Globe", the "Boston Phoenix", & other publications, she lives in Newtonville, Massachusetts.

(Publisher Provided) Anita Diamant was born in Newark, New Jersey on June 27, 1951. She received a bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from Washington University in 1973 and a master's Degree in English from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1975. She worked as a freelance journalist for numerous years and wrote for such magazines and newspapers as the Boston Globe, New England Monthly, Self, Parenting, Parents, McCalls, and Ms. She also wrote about Jewish practice and the Jewish community for Reform Judaism magazine, Hadassah magazine, and

She eventually started writing guidebooks to Jewish life including The New Jewish Wedding; The New Jewish Baby Book; Living a Jewish Life: Jewish Traditions, Customs and Values for Today's Families; and Saying Kaddish: How to Comfort the Dying, Bury the Dead and Mourn as a Jew. She also writes novels including The Red Tent; Good Harbor; The Last Days of Dogtown, Day after Night and The Boston Girl.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Diamant has achieved fame worldwide as the author of The Red Tent (1997), but this collection brings together essays that first saw life as newspaper and magazine columns and were written primarily before her megabook. She has revised and updated most of the pieces and links them together as seasons of life--love and marriage, motherhood, middle age, death--offering ruminations along the way about life's precious milestones, including holidays, retirement, and the moment when a child leaves home. Diamant also writes about her husband, a lapsed Presbyterian who converted to Judaism and helped her find a more meaningful faith, and her daughter and what it meant to her sense of self to become a mother. She talks about her first retreat and how she wants to retire to a commune with other aged hippies. And always there is her religion, which centers her, sustains her, and marks the passage of time. The essays, some quite short, have the feel of Anna Quindlen's later work but with a Jewish flavor, of course. Yet the topics and feelings Diamant writes about are so universal that putting a religious label on them does them an injustice. Comforting and thought provoking but never saccharine. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

This collection of short essays, culled primarily from the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine and then reworked, offers a taste of nonfiction from the author of the novels The Red Tent and Good Harbor. Diamant describes these selections, organized around such themes as love and marriage, child rearing, friendship and living a religious life, as "a sort of diary." Some pieces ring with poignancy, such as Diamant's memorial to her friend David. "I wish," she writes after she leaves the cemetery before David's casket is lowered, "I had stayed to see the workmen come with their truckload of soil that would tuck him in the earth. I would have added my flower to that blanket, burying him just a little." Other selections are less appealing, such as the one on witnessing a four-alarm fire and another on teachers and sexual harassment. The book's strength lies in its woman-to-woman conversational tone, especially in the opening section about married life and its dark side. "In my more rational moments," Diamant writes, "I understand that nagging is not only unattractive but also a total waste of energy. Jim [Diamant's husband] is never going to (a) clear out his piles of magazines, (b) pinch pennies, or (c) give his lungs and heart a break from nicotine just because of anything I say." Diamant's fans will relish "Midrash-or Not," which answers the question of whether The Red Tent is really Bible commentary. Taken together, these morsels will make a tasty snack for Diamant's admirers. Agent, Amanda Urban. (Oct. 2) Forecast: The staggering success of Diamant's previous works and a jacket photo of the author looking casual and approachable will attract female browsers, although it's unlikely this will approach Tent-like success. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Before Diamant's best-selling novel The Red Tent and her six collections on contemporary Jewish life, she was a columnist for the Boston Globe. Her job was "to report on the events of the day and changes under [her] own roof," with the goal of using her experiences to reflect trends. In writing about topics as seemingly diverse as friendships, marriage, birth, death, her dog, electoral politics, abortion, lingerie, situation comedies, God, and country, Diamant connected with her audience by tapping into the zeitgeist. Organized into six parts, this memoir includes sections on love and marriage, mother and child, friendships, the challenges of balancing a secular and religious calendar, midlife, and what it means to embrace Judaism. Because Diamant (like her readers) was "reinventing the female psyche and soul," the essays she has included here are deeply personal and, admittedly, "a sort of diary." The result is a humorous, honest, and friendly collection impossible not to love. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/03.]-Pam Kingsbury, Florence, AL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Introduction Before The Red Tent, before Good Harbor, before and during six books on contemporary Jewish life, I was a columnist. I wrote essays about friendship and fashion, about marriage and electoral politics, about abortion, lingerie, situation comedies, birth, death, God, country, and my dog. I covered the waterfront and the supermarket, my synagogue, the waiting room outside the intensive care unit, and my own kitchen table. I did this over the course of twenty years for publications that included a weekly newspaper with a mostly twenty-something readership, and later for a Sunday-magazine audience of millions. I wrote for food lovers in a New England magazine, for the parents of young children in a national publication, and for an international Jewish audience in an on-line magazine. Most of the time, my assignment was weekly; sometimes, it was monthly. My job was to report on the events of the day and the changes under my own roof. The challenge was to pay closer-than-average attention and then shape my experiences and reactions into entertaining prose that rose above the level of my own navel. It was more than a great job -- it was a meaningful job. This collection, culled from those publications and years, turns out to be a sort of diary. It includes musings about the contents of my refrigerator as well as reflections about the most important decisions of my life. To divorce and marry again. To have a child. To live a Jewish life. I suppose it's a measure of how much the world has changed that what once seemed like "edgy" choices now seem fairly mainstream. But at the time, I was thinking and doing things that were simply unimaginable for women at any other period in human history. Having been born female, white, and middle class in the United States, in the middle of the twentieth century, meant the women's movement happened to me, in me, for me. It meant that it was highly unlikely that I would die in childbirth, and it meant that I could teach my daughter to speak in her own voice. It meant I could love my work and love my family. And it meant that there was an audience for what I had to say about the trials and joys of this girl's life. Actually, the audience was the great, unexpected gift of the assignment because they wrote back. A few said, "No way," and "How dare you?" But many more said, "Me, too," and "Thanks." We connected -- my readers and I -- because we were trying something entirely new. We were not just tinkering around the edges, adjusting our "roles" as women and men. We were reinventing the female psyche and soul, which of course required a radical recasting of the male. We're still at it, too, and with more confidence, wisdom, and resources every year. That our daughters and sons are blasé about this transformation is a measure of our success. Looking back through these essays, reflecting on the reflections, is a lot like leafing through the family photo album. I stop and exclaim over the difference between my daughter then (kindergarten) and my daughter now (college). The changes in me are not quite as photogenic, but I think I've become kinder and more patient. I sure hope so. My tent is filled with friends and songs and books and memories. My tent -- and I hope yours, too -- is filled with blessings. Come see. Copyright (c) 2003 by Anita Diamant Excerpted from Pitching My Tent: On Marriage, Motherhood, Friendship, and Other Leaps of Faith by Anita Diamant All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
Love, Marriage, Baby Carriage
The Kissp. 5
Religious Fanaticsp. 11
Why Marry?p. 15
Blast Offp. 19
Naggingp. 24
Truce and Consequencesp. 28
Grief, Dispossessedp. 32
Airing It Outp. 36
Bedtime Storyp. 41
Firefliesp. 44
My One and Only
Onep. 55
Nursing a Dreamp. 59
Tender Trianglep. 63
Artfulp. 67
Reading Materialp. 70
Learning to Let Gop. 74
Beach Beaconp. 77
Dear Emiliap. 80
The Mother's Bat Mitzvah Speechp. 83
Columbinep. 86
Friday Night at the Crossroadsp. 89
The Good Ship
Side by Sidep. 97
Girlfriends, in Particularp. 101
With a Friend in Mourningp. 104
A Four-way Debatep. 107
Widening the Circlep. 110
To Sir, with Lovep. 113
Dogs and Katzp. 116
Time Zones
Straddling the Calendarp. 125
Rosh Hashanahp. 128
The Sukkah Next Doorp. 132
Assimilating Thanksgivingp. 135
Christmas Lessonsp. 138
Ha-Ha-Hanukkahp. 141
Purim Rocksp. 145
The Orange on the Seder Platep. 148
Yom HaShoahp. 151
Yahrzeitp. 154
In the Middle
Midlife, the Beginningp. 161
First Flamep. 165
Vigilp. 169
Time-outp. 173
Good-byep. 176
Heaven on Earthp. 179
The Communal Routep. 183
Home for the Soul
Aleph-Betp. 191
Reformingp. 194
My Teacherp. 198
Joyful Noisep. 201
Meeting Adjournedp. 204
Midrash-or Notp. 207
Living Watersp. 211
Communityp. 217
Acknowledgmentsp. 221