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Book Review: A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

Iโ€™d seen this book everywhere for a while now, and was just drawn to it. Itโ€™s been one of the most anticipated reads for 2019 and available now!

A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum

Genre: Fiction/Domestic Fiction

BUG Rating: 4.5/5

Overall: Heartbreaking, Captivating and yet hopeful. This book went way above my expectations. I absolutely loved it. Etaf managed to seamlessly take us through different periods of time, through the view of three Palestinian- American women, who in their own way were each amazing. The storyline is set deep in a patriarchal culture, which they are all trying to navigate their own place within. This book is totally unforgettable, and Etaf is clearly a writer to watch!

That was the real reason abuse was so common, Isra thought for the first time. Not only because there was no government protection, but because women were raised to believe they were worthless, shameful creatures who deserved to get beaten, who were made to depend on the men who beat them.

Plot:

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 naรฏve 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 โ€“ four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Israโ€™s oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareedaโ€™s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya canโ€™t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. 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 โ€“ knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.


Just wow. I am really going to struggle to express just how good I thought this book was. I was so surprised. I wanted to read A woman is no man, after just seeing it all over social media. I wanted to know what the hype was about. Nothing could have prepared me for the rollercoaster of a ride that this book took me on!

The story follows the lives, through different years, of three generations of Palestinian – American women. The main characters are just so wonderfully created. All with their own flaws, strengths and amazing personalities. All of them have been through so much.

I absolutely love Isra. Her story starts in Palestine, at the young age of 17 she is married off by her parents to Adam, who lives in Brooklyn, NY. Isra is young, naive, a dreamer, a romantic, all of which contribute to her weakness and inability to make her voice heard. Life in America is not how Isra thought it would be, and marriage was even less what she thought it would be. You canโ€™t help but feel a connection with Isra, she has a loveable personality and she wants to be accepted, and loved by her husband and new family. 

Which leads us to Fareeda. Fareeda, is Israโ€™s mother in law, whoโ€™s life revolves around looking after the home, her husband and ensuring her boys are married off to the perfect wives, (to bear grandsons – appearances are everything to her), all whilst trying to keep her daughter, Sara, on the right track and preparing her to become the perfect Arab wife. Fareeda appears to be a hard, unforgiving, strong woman, but deep down, we get to see, sheโ€™s broken. A past that haunts her, though her own point of view chapters in the book (which comes in much later), you get insights into the horrific, challenging life she has had herself. 

Etafโ€™s ability to write from such different perspectives, really shows immense talent.

The final main character the book centres around is Deya, Israโ€™s first daughter who is now a teenager. Deya is a strong willed young girl, who does not want to conform to the traditions imposed by her grandmother – so you can imagine what fireworks happen!

Deya wants more for herself, and more than anything Deya wants to know what happened, she will stop at nothing to uncover the truth about her parents.

I literally couldnโ€™t put this book down, I loved every single page of it. The writing was beautiful, clever and gave just the right amount of gripping details to keep me hooked.

It was a sad, emotional read. I definitely felt โ€˜heavy heartedโ€™ during the time I was reading this. It really pulls at your heart strings. The terrifying moments in this book these women suffered under a patriarchal culture, were just shocking, and still happen. The story was devastating yet still hopefulโ€ฆ. and OMG what an ending!


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    • ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ฒ ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ป ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ธ๐˜€ ๐—ฏ๐˜† ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿฒ ๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—น๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ถ๐—ฟ ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ถ๐—บ๐—ฒ - now that is freaky! Do we notice at all?! ๐Ÿ˜ณ You are not alone is full of lots of other fascinating random facts! ๐Ÿ“Š
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๐Ÿ˜ฌ It is a fast pace, binge worthy thriller- you will be ok the edge of your seat!
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๐Ÿ–ค I really enjoyed the story (๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿป swipe for plot) and it was full of twists and turns, but I did find some parts a little far fetched.
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โœ๐Ÿป Iโ€™m obsessed with the duos writing style and loved getting to know all the characters through the alternating POVs with each chapter.
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๐Ÿ‘€ If youโ€™re looking for an intriguing suspense novel, look no further โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ๐Ÿ’ซ Out next month ๐Ÿ“†
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    • Itโ€™s my birthday ๐Ÿฅณ I love to read a birthday themed book for it, and last night I binged on this gem ๐Ÿ’Ž
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๐ŸŽ‚ The story follows Eric and Morgan, whoโ€™s friendship is bound by being born in the same hospital, on the same day, at the same time! The book spans several years and how their friendship and lives change over this time (๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿป Swipe for plot)
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โœจ Itโ€™s a truly incredible book. @_myfictionalworld recommended it a while ago and Iโ€™ve only just got round to it ๐Ÿ™ˆ. I cried a lot, I smiled a lot. I loved this book ๐Ÿ˜ญ The story is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Itโ€™s a powerful story of friendship, love, grief and self discovery/acceptance.
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๐Ÿคง An important must read book, I canโ€™t recommend it enough โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ๐Ÿ’ซ
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๐Ÿ’ญ Have you read this one? Tell me how much you loved it ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป
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    • Nearly didnโ€™t post today ๐Ÿ˜ฒ just feeling so unwell from antibiotics/steroids, but here I am, dedicated to #bookstagram ๐Ÿ˜‚ (and luckily found a draft post Iโ€™d still not added ๐Ÿ˜‹)
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๐Ÿคธ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธAfter being obsessed with the new Netflix docu series, Cheer, I wanted another sports fix! ๐Ÿ‰ Funny, well-paced- the perfect brain candy after a few harder reads! I literally got through Intercepted in a few hours.
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โœจ Itโ€™s such a quick read, full of drama and romance. It had major Mean Girl vibes! Despite enjoying overall, one thing that really bugged me was the constant hashtagging ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ
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๐Ÿ’ญ Do you like sports romances? Any must reads? ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป
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    • Only TWO days of work for me this week ๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿฅณ
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๐Ÿ“š My TBR stack is HUGE and I have a large number of buddy reads to get through this month ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜… so hoping to be spending most of this week reading ๐Ÿค“
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๐Ÿ“– Reading update: Just finished A good girls guide to murder by Holly Jackson, a @the_spines rec which I REALLY LOVED ๐Ÿ–ค (review up soon) and Iโ€™ve just started You are not alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen ๐Ÿ˜ฌ
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๐Ÿ’ญ Whatโ€™s everyone reading this week? ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป
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    • Isnโ€™t this the CUTEST gift? ๐Ÿ˜ I absolutely love the idea of โ€œblind datesโ€ with books and @wearehownovel offers just that! ๐ŸŽ
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๐Ÿ“š Thereโ€™s loads of different genres/themes to choose from! โœจ Pictured is the Deadly mystery box ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ To get 10% off your first order, head over to @wearehownovel and use code: bookedupgirl10 ๐Ÿ›’
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๐Ÿ’ญ Do you love surprises? Can you guess the title based on the clues? ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป
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#gifted #mysterybooks #crimefiction #readcrimefiction #thrillerbooks #blinddatewithabook #mysterybox #whattoreadnext #clues #canyouguess #creepystories #murdermystery #bestbooksof2019 #mustreads #bookishgifts #booklover #bookclubs #booknerd #readerslife #bookstagramuk #bookgifts #bookish #ilovebooks #bookreader #bookphoto #mybookfeatures #surprisebox #bookobsessed #readingtime #bookmerch
    • After loving Outlander so much, I pretty much started book 2 straight away โ€“ Dragonfly in Amber ๐Ÿ˜…
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๐Ÿ’“ I LOVED this book. I have totally fallen in love with Gabaladonโ€™s writing style and have really enjoyed losing myself in the last two books. The story and cast of characters are so well crafted, rich and highly addictive! ๐Ÿ’˜
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โœจ The book was full of magic, passion and heartbreak (including many death and sex scenes!)
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๐Ÿ˜ฌ I was beside myself at the end โ€“ the most intense of all cliffhangers โ€“ be warned! ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ I am so ready to dive into book 3 to see what happens next!
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๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿป Also, swipe to see the Outlandish Companion ๐Ÿ“– My early birthday gift (๐Ÿ˜˜ @quirkychristine ) which has EVERYTHING and MORE about the first 4 books, including detailed synopsis, character deets! I love it!
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๐Ÿ’ญ Are you an Outlander fan? ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป
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    • The perfect book title for today ๐Ÿ–ค Emmanuel over at @4thestatebooks has been spoiling me with amazing books lately! Thank you for this one ๐Ÿฅฐ
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๐Ÿคช Definitely not a love story, but OMG it sounds so good! Deets โคต๏ธ
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๐Ÿ”Ž Itโ€™s February 1976, and Odessa, Texas, stands on the cusp of the next great oil boom. While the townโ€™s men embrace the coming prosperity, its women intimately know and fear the violence that always seems to follow.
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๐Ÿ”Ž In the early hours of the morning after Valentineโ€™s Day, fourteen-year-old Gloria Ramรญrez appears on the front porch of Mary Rose Whiteheadโ€™s ranch house, broken and barely alive. The teenager had been viciously attacked in a nearby oil fieldโ€”an act of brutality that is tried in the churches and barrooms of Odessa before it can reach a court of law. When justice is evasive, the stage is set for a showdown with potentially devastating consequences ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ
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๐Ÿ’ญ Out in June - whoโ€™s going to be adding this one to their TBR? ๐Ÿ“š ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป
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    • Another March release ๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿป A Conspiracy of Bones by Kathy Reichs ๐Ÿฆด Thanks to @simonschusteruk for my advance copy ๐Ÿ–ค
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๐Ÿ“บ I was a HUGE fan of the TV show Bones and was devastated when it finished ๐Ÿ˜ญ So I was very excited to see this new book from Kathy Reichs (TV show is based on her books!)
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๐Ÿ”Ž This is my first read by Reichs, and given there are 18 books before this one, I didnโ€™t get the most out of this book. Many of the characters and relationships were different to the TV show so it was hard to follow.
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๐Ÿ”Ž The case side was riveting ๐Ÿ˜ฌ, but there was far too many passages/detail on the relationships to try and follow - which normally Iโ€™d love! ๐Ÿ˜” I would definitely recommend reading previous books first so you donโ€™t feel as lost as I was ๐Ÿคช โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ๐Ÿ’ซ
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๐Ÿ’ญ Have you read this series? Thoughts? ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป
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    • I wasnโ€™t going to post this for a while BUT it was SO good, I just had to let you guys know! Thanks @michaeljbooks for my advance copy (out next month) ๐Ÿ–ค
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โœจ So, first off, as itโ€™s not clear from the photo - this is Recovery of Rose Gold by @stephaniewrobel (aka Darling Rose Gold in ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ)
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๐Ÿ–ค Secondly, I LOVED this! I received my copy before Christmas but was hesitant to actually read it. I thought it was going to be very similar to The Act, TV show, based on Gypsy Rose (this book is unrelated), and wasnโ€™t sure Iโ€™d be able to handle reading all the details of the abuse inflicted on Rose Gold by her mother with munchhausen by proxy ๐Ÿ˜ข
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๐Ÿ”Ž I was pleasantly surprised! The book focuses mainly on the time AFTER Rose Goldโ€™s mother, Patty, is arrested for child abuse ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป
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๐Ÿ”Ž The chapters alternate between Rose Goldโ€™s and Pattyโ€™s POVs, which I really enjoyed. Flipping between past (Pattyโ€™s time in prison, and Rose Gold adjusting to life without her mother - and LOADS of other stuff ๐Ÿค) to present (Pattyโ€™s release and relationship with Rose Gold)
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๐Ÿ”Ž I donโ€™t really feel like this fits into the thriller category ๐Ÿค” Itโ€™s more of a domestic drama with some real tension and twists ๐Ÿ˜ฌ I think if you enjoyed My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing you will like this! โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ
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๐Ÿฅ Also, I just want to acknowledge @aliceliveing AMAZING recipe for White chocolate + cinnamon croissant bake - it was SOO GOOD (pictured) ๐Ÿคค๐Ÿคค
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๐Ÿ’ญ Are you marking your calendars ๐Ÿ“† and adding to your TBR? ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป
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    • Last month saw the release of American Dirt, which caused quite a stir ๐Ÿ˜ฌ I did really enjoy it but I also wanted to check out some of the amazing own voice books that have been recommended! ๐Ÿ“š
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๐Ÿ’ญ Have you read any of these? Thoughts ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป
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