Innana’s Tears is one of those books that you know you should read, but you may have trouble convincing yourself to start. It’s like saying, “I should crack open that Charles Dickens book and give it a quick read before bedtime.” You’ll certainly be culturally richer for it, but it can be tough to work up the energy to do it.
While not a recounting of historical facts, Innana’s Tears is a story firmly rooted at the end of Sumer’s reign. You may or may not recall from history classes that Sumer is the culture that gave us the written word. Though the Egyptians had their beautiful pyramids, the Sumerians did a better job creating permanent records of their history through writing.
From page one, Innana’s Tears does not easily welcome the reader. The first three pages rely heavily on text, and it is written in a font that is so stylized that it’s difficult to read. If you continue reading the book, though, you’ll later come to understand that this challenging font is intended to represent the crude version of man’s first words–but you don’t find that out for a while, so you’ll just have to trust the creative team that the book is going somewhere.
Once the story kicks in, Innana’s Tears is an interesting tale set in a historical period and culture that I knew very little about. The creative team’s extensive research is easily apparent in their use of religious formal titles and understanding of the early civilization’s economic structure. One of the more shocking aspects of the book is the statue of the goddess Inanna. It seemed like a crude toy, but a quick search engine check showed that the art in the book is closely based on the real thing. Along that same line, there is some nudity in this book, but it is not meant to be sexually enticing. Various states of dress and undress were a simple fact of fashion in early civilization.
The story of the book focuses on Sumer undergoing a great transition. The chief religious leader has passed away, leaving his political and religious power to a woman who is ready to improve the land. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against her, and her new position, her religion, and her nation are all at stake.
Though the setting and the action of the book are more interesting than the characters themselves, Inanna’s Tears is a book worth reading. It certainly isn’t a book that will appeal to everyone, though. However, I believe that a segment of history buffs will really enjoy it.