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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 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. 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 ‘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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🤪 Checked out the Brighton Upside down house - it was pretty cool 🖤 👉🏻 SWIPE to check out 😋 Including the photobomb 🙄🙄
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📖 Obviously snuck in some outdoors reading ... I’ve nearly finished The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren and just don’t want it to end 😭😭😭
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🍕 After 11.63 Miles of walking (24,551 steps!!!) we stopped for amazing vegan pizzas at @fattoamanopizza 🤤🤤🤤
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💫 Now I’m not leaving the couch ... 🛋
💭 Weekend reading suggestions? 👇🏻👇🏻
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👆🏻 Hoping mine will look pretty much like this ☀️
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📚 I’ll be finishing @christinalauren ‘s The Unhoneymooners, then I DEFINITELY want to read November 9 by @colleenhoover ... then I’m undecided 🤔
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🏠 And I REALLY want to check out the new @udhouseuk in Brighton this weekend 😂
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💭 What’s everyone reading this weekend?
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🖤 Loved, loved and LOVED All Your Perfects which I read last weekend - the (love) story of couple Quinn and Graham on their journey through life and infertility. Review up on blog (link in bio)
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💎 Then two more gems, November 9 and Ugly Love, I’m looking forward to getting into - maybe over this upcoming long weekend 😎
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💭 Have you read these? What did you think? 👇🏻👇🏻
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I got through this one in a day over the weekend. I’m conflicted 🤔 … I did really enjoy most of it, but there were parts that were just a bit ‘too much’ for me i terms of unbelievable and i don’t think it fully lived up to the hype 😔
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🔎 The story is told from the husband’s point of view, who is married to Millicent, has 2 teenage kids and is a tennis coach for an affluent country club. They are a ‘typical’ couple, until after 15 years of marriage, they get bored and decide to get away with murder 😬. It was definitely a weird, dark and twisty psychological thriller, and despite not completely loving it, it was definitely worth a read.
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Booked up Girl rating: ★★★½ (Mini review on the blog, link in bio)
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💭 Anyone else read? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 👇🏻👇🏻
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    • 💭 Do you ever just need to take a night off reading? 🙈
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🥂 Tonight I had a seriously epic meal at @riddleandfinns1 where I’ve wanted to eat F.O.R.E.V.E.R. It was so good 🤤🤤
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📺 Now to binge on TV shows ... Dreading the final Big Bang Theory episode 😭😭😭😭
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📖 Tomorrow, I’ll resume new book I started this morning, The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren 👰🏻🤵🏻
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🖤 This book is an amazing love story. I really felt the emotion, and pain of Quinn and Graham’s story – the writing was just beautiful✨ I loved every page of it!
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💫 “If you only shine light on your flaws, all your perfects will dim.”
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Booked up Girl rating: ★★★★½ (review on the blog, link in bio)
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👉🏻👉🏻 Also, I’ve had a Sunday Bake Day 🍰 ... Swipe to see the tasty HEALTHY brownies for my work friends tomorrow 🤤🤤🤤
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🔎It was an addictive read, which kept me very entertained during the return of insomnia this week. I had a blast with all the quirky characters, from the main protagonists Blix and Marnie, to the rest of Blix’s “family” who all lived in her building.
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✨I got so absorbed into the lives of the characters, I just couldn’t put it down. I loved how the book had the perfect mix of humour, romance and of course magic!
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🧚‍♀️The huge lesson …. There’s so many surprises life has to offer … if you are open to them. “Whatever happens, love that” - If you want something a bit different – look no further.
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Booked up Girl rating: ★★★★ (Mini review on the blog, link in bio)
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💭 Are you ready for some magic? 💫
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    • 🗓 Pretty productive day...
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✅Met some final work deadlines 🥵
✅Enjoyed some pampering 💆🏻‍♀️
✅Finished Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson (review tomorrow!)🖤
✅August holiday planning ✈️
✅Baking material out and ready for when insomnia hits again tonight 🍪
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🥳 I felt like today was a WIN!
💭 How was your Friday - readyyy for the weekend? 🎉
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💫 I had the most amazing day at the East Sussex Women of the Year event. It was SO inspiring. I got to meet HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, hear some awesome speeches from some really inspirational and BRAVE women!
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😴 Pretty exhausted after my day of socialising ... the introvert that I am is now super pleased to be home, cup if @rareteacompany green tea, and my book Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson 👉🏻 📖☕️🍪💤
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💆🏻‍♀️ This weekend is going to be about chilling ... catching up of reading and a few pamper sessions 💅🏻
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💭 Introverts out there - how do you like to recharge after a very social day? 😂👇🏻👇🏻
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🖤 I’m absolutely loving the characters of Marnie and Blix... About the book 👇🏻
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🔎 Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life—a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she’s marrying the man of her dreams, she’s sure this is the life she’ll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancé’s irascible matchmaking great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes—just as Blix told her it would.
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💭 Anyone else read/reading this? Let me know what you think! 👇🏻👇🏻
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