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A Woman Is No Man

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  7,352 ratings  ·  1,214 reviews
Introducing a brave, new Arab-American voice, an unflinching debut novel that takes us inside a world where few of us have been before: the lives of conservative Arab women living in America.

In Brooklyn, eighteen-year-old Deya is starting to meet with suitors. Though she doesn’t want to get married, her grandparents give her no choice. History is repeating itself: Deya’s m
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Harper
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Amy Bergstrom
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Julia Kardon The book was originally sold under the title "The Place an Arrow Shoots From" which was a reference to THE BELL JAR. The title was ultimately changed…moreThe book was originally sold under the title "The Place an Arrow Shoots From" which was a reference to THE BELL JAR. The title was ultimately changed after discussions with the Harper editorial, sales & marketing teams.(less)

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4.32  · 
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 ·  7,352 ratings  ·  1,214 reviews

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Etaf Rum
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I'd like to thank everyone who's taken the time to read. Regardless of whether you loved the book or hated it, thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts here.
Will Byrnes
I was born without a voice, one cold, overcast day in Brooklyn, New York. No one ever spoke of my condition. I did not know I was mute until years later, when I’d opened my mouth to ask for what I wanted and realized no one could hear me.
Deya Ra’Ad, a Brooklyn teenager, had been raised by people who guarded old-world beliefs and customs. It was expected of her that she would agree to marry one of the Muslim suitors who passed her family’s muster, and begin producing babies as soon as possible,
Nilufer Ozmekik
This book like a gun blast to my chest, ripped my emotions and scatter them all over the places.
This book made me sooo angry, this book made me cry, this book made me curse, hate the characters, made me feel sorry for the unfairness, inequality, ignorance !
There was not any exaggeration, there are too many women in the world suffering the rules from patriarchal culture, customs, illogical traditions made them feel vulnerable, worthless and weak. They never know how important their lives, how to
Diane S ☔
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor-2019
A look inside an embedded patriarchal culture. Isra loves to read, books show her a wider world than the insular one where she lives. Custom, however, dictates that women cannot continue with their schooling but must marry instead. When a Palestinian family, one who now make their home in New York, travel back to Palestine to find a bride for their eldest son, Isra finds herself married. She wants to fall in love, to be loved and to have more freedom. She is hoping in America to find a three.

A c
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a heartbreaking story of three generations of Palestinian-American women in one family..who have been oppressed by their culture. Trying to find a voice in their world dominated by men.
This was a deeply affecting novel, a fantastic debut..and I loved it!
Leena Weddy
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
THIS BOOK. Holy shit. To be completely honest, even as a Palestinian Muslim who has spent her entire life unapologetically refusing to abide by patriarchal norms, the concept of this book scared me. So honest and raw, but so public. Muslims & all POC know too well that you don’t air your dirty laundry. You don’t talk about all your shit in front of outsiders. Even if it comes at the expense of your community’s advancement, you deny that there are any deeply rooted problems, for fear of confi ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes you read a book and you have no idea where to start because your emotions are all over the place? Am I right? But I also want to write my review now because my emotions are fresh, and this book was an emotional ride from start to finish. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Told in two past timelines with different narrators, we mostly hear from eighteen-year-old Deya, and her mother, Isra. We also occasionally hear from Fareeda, Deya’s grandmother and Isra’s mother-in-law.

The family is Palestinian, and the st
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Let me begin by saying that after my last experience with an internet famous "author" (term used as loosely as possible since she didn’t even write the thing, but failed to give credit where credit was due until being called out about it), there is zero chance I would have ever read this. Unfortunately, I’m not super hip on the times and as soon as I saw this was going to be a Book of the Month selection I immediately put a library ho
Book of the Month
Why I love it
by Siobhan Jones

Before I tell you about this book, I have to tell you a little about its author. Etaf Rum is one of the most thoughtful, dedicated #bookstagrammers in the game. For a few years now, she’s been sharing great literature on her Instagram feed, @booksandbeans, and tirelessly advocating for up-and-coming authors. When I found out she was writing a book of her own, I was pleased for her. And when I read it and found it to be really, really good, I was completely elated.

”Where I come from, voicelessness is the condition of my gender, as normal as the bosoms on a woman’s chest, as necessary as the next generation growing inside her belly.”

”Where I come from, we’ve learned to conceal our condition. We’ve been taught to silence ourselves, that our silence will save us. It is only now, many years later, that I know this to be false. Only now, as I write this story, do I feel my voice coming.”

”You’ve never heard this story before. No matter how many books you’v
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Pressure. I can’t even conceive of the pressure immigrant Arab women must live under. Rum is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants herself, and like her character Deya Ra’Ad she was born and raised in Brooklyn in a Palestinian-Arab enclave. The pressure to maintain Palestinian customs and its patriarchal culture is suffocating. Rum has chosen to expose the burden this places on women, despite the fact that it plays into certain anti-Arab stereotypes.

Rum tells the stories of three women. There i
Aug 08, 2018 added it
Shelves: arc, 2018, i-own-it
Disclaimer: I received an early review copy of this book from the author. However, all thoughts & opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

This novel follows three generations of Palestinian women in one family. Isra, our main character, is married off to Adam and taken to live with his family in Brooklyn, NY. Her new mother-in-law, Fareeda, is deeply enmeshed in the patriarchal ways of their culture and pushes those same beliefs on Isra—beliefs like a woman is only good for childbe
Stacey A.  Prose and Palate
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-reads
“On her knees on the floor, she could barely breathe. Blood leaked from her nose and down her chin. But she wiped her face and told herself she would take a beating every night if it meant standing up for her girls.”

Every now and then a book comes along that impacts me so much it changes who I am as a reader and as a person. It leaves me reeling, it haunts me, it compels me to dig deeper, to stop everyone I know and tell them “if you only read one book this month, THIS IS THE BOOK YOU NEED TO RE

1.5 stars

wow this just completely missed the mark huh

◘ I'm so starved for any kind of Arab representation in fiction, let alone ownvoices Muslim Arab representation, so I jumped at the chance to read this when the audiobook popped up on Scribd. And oh boy was I disappointed.

◘ This book's biggest weakness is without a doubt its lack of nuance. I don't want to be the person that's like oh the oppression you represented in your book isn't complicated enough. I'm sure women did and still do experi
Amy Bruestle
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
The cover, title and preface of A Woman Is No Man are very striking and I was drawn into the pages immediately. Set in Brooklyn, the novel is about the voiceless women in a Palestinian immigrant family.

The story felt familiar, I have read so many novels about the oppressed lives of women living within insular communities - Orthodox Jewish, Morman, Saudi Arabian etc. But Rum has created the story anew. She captures the trapped doom of Isra perfectly. I rooted for her and her daughters while wish
Feb 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
I think this book is about how women are oppressed? Maybe? It’s mentioned only 20 times on every page, so it’s a little unclear.

I hope the sarcasm there is as transparent as this book’s message. Bad, heavy-handed writing reads like what a beginner creative writing student produces. HERE IS MY THEME, it announces. HERE IS MY MESSAGE. MY CHARACTERS TAKE A BACK SEAT TO MY SOCIAL COMMENTARY. Not sure how this has such a high rating on Goodreads, or anywhere, for that matter. Bad bad bad.
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: march-2019-reads
Prepare to feel conflicted.
If you liked my last inner dialogue review, you're in luck because this is going to be a long mess. (My thoughts that is.)

Let's talk a little bit about me. I'm 37, white, of Russian/German/French/Swedish/Irish/Canadian descent, born and raised in Buffalo, NY. I'm a progressive, have a graduate degree and am part of the middle class. (Whatever that means anymore.) The reason for the bio is that I could not be further away from the characters in this book. Besides being
Jessica Jeffers
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an absolutely remarkable novel.
Janelle • She Reads with Cats
Special thank you to Harper Books for this amazing opportunity.

This is one of the most powerful stories I have ever read. I’m speechless, but I need to find a way to tell you all why this book is so important to read. I cannot get over or fathom the tremendous strength of Palestinian women coping and persevering through the most horrific treatment: having your soul, dreams, and body crushed on a daily basis, but finding a way to survive. It’s emotional, painful, and important to learn the storie
This story follows 3 generations of Palestinian woman. It's told by 2 woman, Isra, who is a mother in an abusive arranged marriage, And by her daughter Deya. Isra is far away from her home country of Palestine raising her family. Deya is afraid of following in her mother's footsteps, in which her mother has died under sketchy circumstances. Deya feels she has no voice, no choice in her life. She does not want to get married, she wants to go to college. She's willing to fight for what she feels. ...more
Apr 08, 2019 added it
Shelves: islam
Can we get a book centred around Muslim characters that's not about forced marriages, terrorism etc? Or are we just going to stick with the same narrative that we are "backwards" and "oppressed" to reinforce the wests perception of us?
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
Nope. Had to DNF. This was wrong on so many levels. It starts with a premise I was excited about, looking at the Palestinian diaspora but disappointed on all levels. The characters are caricatures, there is no subtlety just hammer the heads of the readers with the themes of misogyny and the plight of women in Muslim/Arab American families, but falls back on the worst stereotypes to convey the point. these are issues I want explored but I could not connect with the tone and voices the author reli ...more
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: botm, fiction
2.5 stars rounded down because while it ended on a strong note, the writing style just wasn't for me.

I feel like this book suffers from false advertising. I chose it as my BOTM because I love a good intersectional feminist story written by a woman of color and I love contemporary literature. I was hoping for a narrative with more nuances and subtleties and this was just not what this book was trying to bring. It most definitely has the feel of a YA or New Adult novel in that it's relatively heav
Hayley Stenger
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this book down. It was devastating, but also hopeful.
Vivek Tejuja
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
So here's the deal with this book: Either people have loved it or didn't like it at all. I belong to the category of readers who loved it. What the book encompassed for me really was that sometimes you have no choice, no matter how hard you try.

While a part of me, vehemently opposes the idea, there's a part of me that also agrees. I also believe that circumstances play a major role in deciding what you choose or vice-versa: You choose and your choices create those circumstances. Essentially, it
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: release-2019
5 ☆ My TOP PICK of 2019. Setting my emotions on fire this novel has affected me in a way that I will not forget. Highly recommending!!! 👏🏻🙌🏻
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-be-bought
A surprisingly beautiful slice-of-life novel about Arab immigrants trying to find their way in the United States. Following three generations of Palestinian women, this book veers from the horrific to the poetic. A huge trigger warning for violent domestic abuse, murder and sexual assault, because it's littered throughout this book, but never gratuitously. Rum brilliantly captures the diaspora of younger women searching for something more and their mothers and grandmothers still caught in the tr ...more
Britta Böhler
The topic is interesting and important but the characters never quite came alive for me, and the writing and the structure would have needed some cleaning up.
Laura//lauralovestoread Gelinas
“It’s time you grew up and learned this now: A woman is not a man.”

I’m a white American woman and I don’t feel like I can justly review this novel, but I am a woman, and this was such a powerful story that needed to be told!

In A Woman is No Man, we meet Deya, her Mother Isra, and grandmother, Fareeda, as well as her Aunt Sarah. These 4 women, strong in their own ways, yet held down by the oppression in their culture that values a man. A woman means nothing and a woman only belongs in a home.

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question 3 15 May 13, 2019 03:09PM  
Book of The Month: A Woman is no Man 7 91 Mar 29, 2019 07:07AM  
Play Book Tag: A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum -- 5 stars + ♥ 5 25 Mar 24, 2019 10:50AM  

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