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Book Review: A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

I’d seen this book everywhere for a while now, and was just drawn to it. It’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 naΓ―ve 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. Deya can’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 – 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 can’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 Isra’s mother in law, who’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, she’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. 

Etaf’s ability to write from such different perspectives, really shows immense talent.

The final main character the book centres around is Deya, Isra’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 couldn’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 β€˜heavy hearted’ 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 hopeful…. and OMG what an ending!


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    • "π™·πšŠπšŸπšŽ 𝚒𝚘𝚞 πšŽπšŸπšŽπš› πš πš˜πš—πšπšŽπš›πšŽπš πš‘πš˜πš  πš•πš˜πš—πš πš’πš πšπšŠπš”πšŽπšœ 𝚝𝚘 πšπš’πš 𝚊 πšπš›πšŠπšŸπšŽ? πš†πš˜πš—πšπšŽπš› πš—πš˜ πš•πš˜πš—πšπšŽπš›. π™Έπš πšπšŠπš”πšŽπšœ πšŠπš— 𝚊𝚐𝚎. π™·πš˜πš πšŽπšŸπšŽπš› πš•πš˜πš—πš 𝚒𝚘𝚞 πšπš‘πš’πš—πš” πš’πš πšπšŠπš”πšŽπšœ, πšπš˜πšžπš‹πš•πšŽ πšπš‘πšŠπš."
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Another Reese’ Bookclub β˜€οΈ pick that did not disappoint! This book literally had me gripped from the first sentence (πŸ‘†πŸ»).
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I found Catherine’s writing style fantastic as she told the story through Erin, who was both wry and amusing! It’s a great story of how one, unforeseen moment can determine so much in your life ✨ The story also makes you really think too – how far will you go for the life you want and how much do you really know someone? πŸ€”
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I don’t want to say too much out of fear of spoiling it, but to summarise in 3 words: Addictive, Intense and Spine Tingling! 😬😬
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Booked up Girl rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
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πŸ’­ What’s your favourite β€˜vacation set’ book? 🏝
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#bibliophiles #booksofig #bookaddiction #bookworms #booklove #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #readersofig #books #readeverywhere #readingspot #summerreads #newreleases #booknerdigan #readersgonnaread #cozyvibes #bookstoread #goodreadschallenge #readwithme #readathon #crimefiction #vscobooks #booklife #lovetoread #weekendvibes  #reesesbookclub #holidayreads #thrillerbooks #beachread #somethinginthewater
    • My weekend plans right here 😍
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✨ Happy Friday Everyone ✨
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🎟 After my somewhat stressful vacation last week, this weekend, my BIG plans involve minimal human interaction and alternating between couch and bed whilst reading as much as possible πŸ˜‚ (with some good coffee + snacks πŸͺ of course!)
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πŸ“š Book wise, I’ll be finishing Things you save in a fire (currently half way through), and then The Nickel Boys, which looks really interesting, and finally starting Park Avenue Summer! πŸ™ŒπŸ»
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πŸ’­ What are your plans this weekend? What books are you thinking of reading? πŸ€”πŸ‘‡πŸ»πŸ‘‡πŸ»
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    • I read this as part of a buddy read with @theladyscrime at the weekend which was such fun. I absolutely LOVE buddy reads πŸ–€
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I was actually reluctant to pick this one up – mainly because there had just been SO much hype around it and there’s been a couple of super hyped booked lately that I didn’t think were all that! But … I did thoroughly enjoy this – Tense, gripping and fast-paced would be an understatement! 😬😬
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πŸ—£ Full review and buddy discussion is up on the blog now. Link in bio!
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πŸ’­ Have you read this one? What were your thoughts on the plot? Characters? πŸ‘‡πŸ»πŸ‘‡πŸ»
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#bibliophiles #booksofig #bookaddict #bookworm #booklover #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #readersofig #bookishlove #readeverywhere #currentread #readersofig #summerreading  #newreleases #booknerd #readersgonnaread #cozyvibes #booksbooksbooks #thechain #buddyread #readwithme #readathon #readcrimefiction #vscoreads #booklife #ilovereading #weekendreads #booksharks #thrillerreads #booksandcoffee
    • Welcome to the ... CART(as in family 🀣🀣). This will be a new, and regular feature on the blog introducing the newbies that arrive to my TBR cart πŸ‘€πŸ‘€
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πŸ“šWe have THREE awesome new additions (πŸ‘‰πŸ» swipe to see the gorgeous covers 🀩):
✨ Park Avenue Summer by Renée Rosen
✨ Star Crossed by Minnie Darke
✨ Things you save in a fire by Katherine Center
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I am SOOO excited by all of these and will be starting Things you save in a fire tonight πŸ–€
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πŸ’­ Have you read any of these? Are they on your TBR? πŸ‘‡πŸ»πŸ‘‡πŸ»
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 #booksofig #bookaddict #bookworm #booklover #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #readersofig #bookishlove #readeverywhere #readersofig #summerreading  #booknerd #readersgonnaread #booksbooksbooks #readwithme #readathon #booklife #ilovereading  #blogger #cozybedroom #happyplace #goodreadschallenge #readingspot #bibliophiles #bookshark #bookcoverdesign #lovetoread #bookcart #tbrpile #thingsyousavebook
    • Last night I binged through half of Where’d you go, Bernadette by Maria Semple - which I got for the cover … I mean… Just look at it!! 😍😍😍
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✨ It’s a pretty enjoyable read so far, I am loving the uniqueness to it: the story is told through a mixture of thoughts, emails/letters from multiple point of views, which is quite interesting. Also, the witty tone is right up my street and I am finding the book hilarious in parts! 🀣
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🎬 I’ve only just heard this is actually going to be a movie – coming out this week with Cate Blanchette (who I πŸ–€)… I am really excited to see the screen adaption of this and have high hopes it’s going to be REALLY good 😬😬
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πŸ’­ What do you think of screen adaptions- Is there a book to screen you have absolutely loved? πŸŽ₯ πŸ‘‡πŸ»πŸ‘‡πŸ»
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 #booksofig #bookaddict #bookworm #booklover #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #readersofig #bookishlove #readeverywhere #readersofig #summerreading  #booknerd #readersgonnaread #booksbooksbooks #readwithme #readathon #vscoreads #booklife #ilovereading #thrillers #blogger #cozybedroom #happyplace #goodreadschallenge #wheredyougobernadette #favoritecharacter #readingspot #bibliophiles #bookshark #bookcoverdesign #lovetoread
    • I’ve finally caught up on my reviews! πŸ₯³πŸ₯³ … Oh the kiddo enjoyed sitting with me for a few hours at the coffee shop over the weekend whilst I wrote them! 🀣
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πŸ†• Up on the blog today (links in bio):
β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €
- A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles: Captivating, Thought-provoking & Beautiful πŸ’ž 4/5
- Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager: Page Turner, Creepy & Twisty 😬 4/5
- The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister: Magical, thought-provoking & Mesmerising ✨ 4.5/5
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πŸ’­ Have you read any of these? What did you love πŸ–€ (or hate) about them? πŸ‘‡πŸ»πŸ‘‡πŸ»
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 #booksofig #bookaddict #bookworm #booklover #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #readersofig #bookishlove #readeverywhere #readersofig #summerreading  #newreleases #booknerd #readersgonnaread #booksbooksbooks #readwithme #readathon #readcrimefiction #vscoreads #booklife #ilovereading #bookblog #agentlemaninmoscow #thescentkeeper #rileysager #thrillers #blogger #cozybedroom #happyplace #goodreadschallenge
    • I’ve managed to get through some real gems during this holiday πŸ’Ž Finishing on a real high with this one πŸ’
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✨ I’m not sure what drew me to this book, it’s not had a huge amount of hype on social media, but something about it just made me want to read it. I was not disappointed! πŸ‘ŒπŸ»
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πŸ”Ž What’s it about? EVERYTHING. It’s the coming of age story of Emmeline. A young girl living in a remote island with only her father. No other human-being surrounds them. Their cabin is lined with tiny drawers, each containing tiny vials of scents. They must not be opened, they must be protected. It’s the only life Emmeline has ever known, until one day it’s not.
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I can’t say any more without totally spoiling it. It’s like no other story. It’s magical, it’s thought- provoking, it’s sad, it’s about memories that make and define us. And it left me feeling somewhat heavy hearted. It’s a book I won’t forget for a long, long time.
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Booked up Girl rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½ (full review up on the blog tomorrow when I’ve finished catching up post holiday!!)
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#thescentkeeper #bibliophile #bookish #booklover #booksofig #bookaddict #bookworm #bookbloggers #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #readersofig #readeveryday #bookishlove #readeverywhere #currentread #readersofig #readstagram #bookreviewer #summerreading  #mustread  #booknerd #cozyreading #fortheloveofbooks #whatimreading  #augustreads #readersgonnaread #vacationmode #bookishgirl #pageturner #booksaremagic
    • It’s time for another buddy read! πŸ₯³This time, I’ve paired up with @theladyscrime to read the new gripping thriller The Chain by Adrian McKinty.
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😬 I am only about 60 pages in but I am really enjoying it so far, it’s pretty intense and it’s just the kind of excitement I need for a Saturday night! (Along with the BEST πŸ•pizza from @v.i.p.veryitalianpizza )
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πŸ’­ Have any of you read it yet? Let us know your thoughts? πŸ‘‡πŸ»πŸ‘‡πŸ»
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#bibliophiles #booksofig #bookaddict #bookworm #booklover #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #readersofig #bookishlove #readeverywhere #currentread #readersofig #summerreading  #newreleases #booknerd #readersgonnaread #cozyvibes #booksbooksbooks #thechain #buddyread #readwithme #readathon #readcrimefiction #saturdaynightvibes #pizzanight #booksandpizza #vscoreads #booklife #ilovereading #weekendreads
    • To celebrate National Book Lover Day I have teamed up with My Chronicle Book Box @mychroniclebookbox a super wonderful UK based book box subscription πŸ‘€πŸ‘€ (they ship worldwide!) to offer you 10% off your first box!
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✨ Code: BOOKEDUP10 ✨
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πŸ“¦ Check out what I got in my amazing box πŸ‘†πŸ» (see stories for unwrapping!): πŸ“š 3 FANTASTIC books (all individually wrapped, including 2 signed copies!), a lovely candle, bookmark and fridge magnet 🧲. Head over to their website www.mychroniclebookbox.com and order yours!
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#nationalbookloversday #mychroniclebookbox #booksubscriptionbox #bibliophile #bookish #booklover #readingchallenge #booksofig #bookaddict #bookworm #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #readersofig #readeveryday #bookishlove #readeverywhere #currentread #readersofig #readstagram #bookreviewer #augustreads #summerreading  #mustread  #newreleases #booknerd #readersgonnaread #cozyvibes #booksbooksbooks #crimefiction #thrillerreads
    • .... And I’ll just leave you with this 😍
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πŸ’†πŸ»β€β™€οΈ This spot has been the perfect reading nook πŸ‘‰πŸ» swipe for view and a close up of that bad boy coffee πŸ˜‹
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πŸ’­ Where’s your perfect reading nook? πŸ“– πŸ‘‡πŸ»πŸ‘‡πŸ»
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