Book Review

Review – A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum


Three generations of Palestinian-American women living in Brooklyn are torn between individual desire and the strict mores of Arab culture in this heart-wrenching story of love, intrigue and courage.

Palestine, 1990. Seventeen-year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naïve and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children – four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man.

But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths about her family…

Set in an America at once foreign to many and staggeringly close at hand, A Woman Is No Man is a story of culture and honour, secrets and betrayals, love and violence. It is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and closed cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.

My Review:

I have already heard so many amazing things about A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum before I started reading it. I had expected a great read, but what I didn’t expect was how much this book was going to affected me after I finish reading it.

I won’t go into all the details of the story or what this book about; I feel like it is best to going into this book knowing as little as possible, so you can experience the shock and anger like I did while I was reading it.

A Woman is No Man is a brutal fictional account of what it meant to be a Palestinian woman and what it was expected of a Palestinian woman. It is fiction but it hurts my heart to think it is still happening today to a large extend. I was in shock most of the time and I felt so much anger in my heart while reading it. This book has open my eyes to the culture I know so little about and made me have even more compassion towards those women. The story was told in three different perspectives with the past and present intertwined. Phenomenal story telling!

It is painful, unbelievable and heartbreaking. It is about family, about a tradition that is so deeply rooted in a culture that people refuse to change; it is about the violence those woman endure every single day and it is about the strength they possess in order to provide for their family and make the best of their lives.

Incredible and moving. A Woman is No Man deserves all the praises it receives.

Thank you so much HQ Stories for sending me this copy to review.

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