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A Woman Is No Man

by Etaf Rum

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1,5196412,106 (4)53
Three generations of Palestinian-American women in contemporary Brooklyn are torn by individual desire, educational ambitions, a devastating tragedy, and the strict mores of traditional Arab culture.
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    Dominicana by Angie Cruz (MM_Jones)
    MM_Jones: Both are immigrant to New York stories from a different culture.
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» See also 53 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
4.5 stars

I’m still thinking about this book. Review pending ( )
  jenkies720 | Jun 7, 2024 |
"A woman is no man" is a phrase that Deya's grandmother keeps emphasising. Though the Palestinian family has emigrated to the U.S. for years, they remain traditional and believe that a woman's place is in the house, and she should get married early. This is not what Deya wants but there is no one to advise her till her aunt suddenly appeared. Thus began a journey of doubt, self-discovery, and in the process, she found out the truth behind her parents' death. The death of her mother was left ambiguous. Etaf Rum seems to suggest that she was beaten to death by her husband for running away from home with the kids. If that is so, she is a brave woman. She wanted her kids to have a better life than her and she took action, although she did not succeed. In that, both Deya and her mum showed that women need not submit to men, and women can be like men. ( )
  siok | Dec 26, 2023 |
It’s sad what goes on behind closed doors and the fears immigrants have about American culture and the Americanization of their children, especially so for girls and women. This is another story of male dominance, arranged marriages, and fear. Heartfelt story of a young women who had dreams of a romantic marriage and coming to America only to have it snuffed out. Her children eventually find a way out of this arranged marriage loop and find their own paths but it is painful. Interesting that I was reading this in October 2023. ( )
  bblum | Dec 14, 2023 |
Compelling story. All roads lead to heartbreak ( )
  MarshaKT | Oct 28, 2023 |
I'm glad this book exists for people who need it. But it was a drudge of a book, not well-written except maybe to a very specific target audience. That does not impact my sympathy for anyone in any similar situation, of course. ( )
  Kiramke | Sep 18, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

--Maya Angelou
I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We've been taught that silence would save us, but it won't.

--Audre Lorde
Dedication
To Reyann and Isah
nur hayati
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I was born without a voice, one cold, overcast day in Brooklyn, New York.
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Three generations of Palestinian-American women in contemporary Brooklyn are torn by individual desire, educational ambitions, a devastating tragedy, and the strict mores of traditional Arab culture.

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Three generations of Palestinian-American women living in Brooklyn are torn between individual desire and the strict mores of Arab culture in this heart-wrenching story of love, intrigue and courage.

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. 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...

Set in an America at once foreign to many and staggeringly close at hand, A Woman Is No Man is a story of culture and honour, secrets and betrayals, love and violence. It is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and closed cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.
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