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Pitching My Tent: On Marriage, Motherhood, Friendship, and Other Leaps of Faith Hardcover – September 16, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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 © American Library Association. All rights reserved


An ideal book for bedside or briefcase--a few stolen moments with a wise, witty friend [to] lift your spirits. -- Jewish Woman Magazine, Winter 2003

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (September 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743246160
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743246163
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,209,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

In my first novel, The Red Tent, I re-imagined the culture of biblical women as close, sustaining, and strong, but I am not the least bit nostalgic for that world without antibiotics, or birth control, or the printed page. Women were restricted and vulnerable in body, mind, and spirit, a condition that persists wherever women are not permitted to read.

When I was a child, the public library on Osborne Terrace in Newark, New Jersey, was one of the first places I was allowed to walk to all by myself. I went every week, and I can still draw a map of the children's room, up a flight of stairs,where the Louisa May Alcott books were arranged to the left as you entered.
Nonfiction, near the middle of the room, was loaded with biographies. I read several about Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, and Helen Keller, with whom I share a birthday.

But by the time I was 11, the children's library was starting to feel confining,so I snuck downstairs to the adult stacks for a copy of The Good Earth. (I had overheard a grown-up conversation about the book and it sounded interesting.)The librarian at the desk glanced at the title and said I wasn't old enough for the novel and furthermore my card only entitled me to take out children's books.

I defended my choice. I said my parents had given me permission, which was only half a fib since my mother and father had never denied me any book. Eventually,the librarian relented and I walked home, triumphant. I had access to the BIG LIBRARY. My world would never be the same.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
PITCHING MY TENT by Anita Diamant, author of THE RED TENT, is a collection of short and personal essays on family, friends and religion. Arranged by topic, the essays are, for the most part, light and enjoyable reading. Gathering many essays from her days as a columnist, PITCHING MY TENT reflects the things that are most important in the author's life, and they are things that will resonate with many readers.
Diamant begins by exploring "Love, Marriage, Baby Carriage." In this section she shares personal and general thoughts on marriage and partnership. These thoughts, like those in the rest of the collection, in many ways center not just on marriage, but on a life lived within a particular religious tradition. She shares how she and her husband celebrate Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, and his conversion to Judaism. While this section of the book is actually dedicated to her husband, she does discuss her first marriage in frank emotional terms. From pet peeves to health issues, from mutual friends to the birth of their child, Diamant is candid about her marriage; the specifics she shares point to universals.
Next, Diamant dives into the topic of motherhood and her focus is on her daughter Emilia. She writes loving essays about parenthood as both "an adventure and an education." Two essays in this section stand out. The first is entitled "One" and discusses Diamant and her husband's decision to have only one child, despite the pressure to give Emilia siblings. The other is "The Mother's Bat Mitzvah Speech." This speech is a touching and tender tribute to her daughter on a very special occasion.
The third section in PITCHING MY TENT gathers essays about friends and friendship. These are short yet sweet.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robin Kall on November 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As a long time fan of Anita Diamant's work - THE RED TENT and then GOOD HARBOR, I was thrilled to see that a new one from Ms. Diamant was on the shelves! I bought it right away!
PITCHING MY TENT was a fast read but one that I can see revisiting from time to time. In this compilation of articles and musings, the reader will get a real sense of what it was like for a woman who had choices and took chances - while her faith in Judaism and living a Jewish life blossomed!
Written in such an honest and personal way, this book stirred many thoughts and emotions and really made me think about life.
This is a book to give to the women in your life, messages that we will all identify with. It may even enourage you to pick up a pen and jot down some of your own memories!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. Williams on June 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
A wonderful and inspirational collection of stories and insights on life, love, and faith. Diamant does a beautiful job of making a uniquely Jewish meditation palatable and applicable to people of all faiths. Anyone who has ever raised a child, made a friend, lost a lover, or wondered about the world should invest in a copy of this fantastic collection. I borrowed it from the library, got to the end and flipped back to the front to start again. As soon as I could, I bought my own copy. I know it will never be far from reach in every heartbreaking, wonderful moment when a kind word or new insight will make all the difference. It's like having a stunningly insightful and delightfully funny friend living on your bookshelf. I know from reading the book that Diamant occasionally reads the comments on her books on Amazon, so if you're reading this, my friend, thank you. For this, and many of your other works, I'll be forever grateful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julie Jordan Scott on December 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this collection of essays after reading "The Red Tent" which absolutely adored.

Half-way through the book I thought, "Converting to Judaism might be a good idea!" I don't mean to jest about a serious subject...and it is Diamont's friendly, heartful, down to Earth tone (and the fact that she shares her being vis a vis her judaism)that makes me want to adopt some of her ways.

I zipped through this book in record time, and I know I will read and re-read and give copies to many friends.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Story Circle Book Reviews on February 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Long before The Red Tent and Good Harbor, Anita Diamant was a columnist. For some twenty years, her columns delivered her own refreshing takes on life. Written with warmth, common bonds of womanhood, a sense of spirituality, and her own unique take on adult life, these essays are personal and yet universal.

The author of several books on contemporary Jewish life as well as her two popular fiction works, Diamant shares her classic essays with readers in this new publication.

Subtitled "On Marriage, Motherhood, Friendship, and Other Leaps of Faith," the book promises much and delivers even more. Ms. Diamant draws the reader into her world with a personal invitation at the end of her introduction:

"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."

Throughout these essays, the author's passion for life reaches out and beckons her readers to look within. By interjecting aspects of her Jewish life and customs into her essays, Ms. Diamant brings a higher degree of understanding to those unfamiliar with contemporary Jewish lifestyles. Her essays speak of tolerance, acceptance, enjoying life to its fullest, and counting blessings in each of life's passages.

Pitching My Tent is divided into six parts. Each section looks at an integral part of adult life and offers wonderfully enjoyable readings. My favorite essay is "Girlfriends, In Particular." Opening with a profound statement, Diamant's brief essay speaks volumes about the mystique and wonder of the bonds formed by women. "Women's friendships are, I think, one of the great secrets of the social universe." By the time I finished reading, I was so touched that I had to connect with my own dear friend and sister of my soul.
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