December 18, 2019
A Woman is No Man
*Three days later*
So good yet so very sad.
*One week goes by*
See, yeah cause no.
*Six more days pass*
Okay, last review of the year.
*Like an hour ago*
Review ain't gon' write itself.
"Telling a story wasn't as simple as recalling memories. It was building on them and deciding which parts were best left unsaid." ~ pg. 42
In Brooklyn, eighteen-year-old Deya is starting to meet with suitors. As a young Arab-American lady, she does not want to get married but it is expected. Her grandparents demand that tradition is followed. It seems that history repeats itself. There was a time when Deya's mother, Isra, didn't have a choice either. She left Palestine as a teenager to marry Adam and raise a family in America.
Unfortunately, Isra is not around to help guide her daughter. Deya was raised to believe her parents died in a car accident, until a mysterious note literally lands on her doorstep alluding otherwise. Told from alternate points of view and time periods, a powerful story unfolds about secrets in their community and the dark effect of traditions.
"Books were my armor. Everything I'd ever learned growing up, all my thoughts, dreams, goals, experiences, it all came from the books I read. It was like I went around collecting knowledge, plucking it from pages and storing it up, waiting for a chance to use it." ~ pg. 149
A Woman is No Man is stuck in my head like I just read the last sentence. Like these characters were friends of the family. Yet I cannot form the words to tell bookhearts why it deserves a spot on their reading lists. It is indeed a must-read for any multi-cultural woman. I believe every woman of color would relate. It is not the average holiday novella. Far from it! It is not a sweet romance either. In fact, I barely smiled while reading. In place of a grin was that lump in throat right before you cry. I would have shed a tear had I not put the book down to focus on something else for the moment. I'm a fast reader but it took me daaaaaays to complete it. To no fault of the writer though! There is such good pacing, character development and engaging dialogue that scenes/conversations took a leap off the page and got tangled up with my own emotions. The author, Etaf Rum, let readers inside the lives of conservative Arab women living in America. Of course I heard about arranged marriages but it is so much deeper than just marrying a stranger and moving to a far land. Children having children. Reading is forbidden. Having no voice in matters that involve your body or livelihood. The pressure of being judged in your own community. Even sadness is like a cancer. Well maybe not to this extreme but I got the message. Point most certainly taken, Etaf Rum! I felt such empathy for Isra and Deya—fictional characters, need I remind you. I learned to appreciate my own culture and freedom. Because this book right here will have you grateful for life's liberties no matter how fucked up it may seem at times. Americans, y'all...we are privileged. I'll remember this story for a while. A Woman is No Man is THAT type of debut novel.
And yes, I am fully aware that my review is a rambling paragraph. ✌🏾
Title: A Woman is No Man
Author: Etaf Rum
Published: March 2019
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤