A Woman Is No Man Book Review

While I believe we have made strides in the advancement of women’s issues, I feel that we still have a long way to go. That last hurdle is a steep one, with shame as its barrier. The day that women no longer allow shame to silence us, is the day we become free. That is the message in “A Woman Is No Man” by Etaf Rum.
A Woman Is No Man, is a dissection of womanhood, domestic violence, and oppression. While at the same time exploring what it means to be American, especially from the eyes of an immigrant woman. It is the story of…

“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.

“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.” -Harper Collins website
Etaf Rum’s words reminded me that just because we bury something doesn’t mean it dies or stops affecting us, and the only path to healing is to face the past. This book was a difficult one for me as it forced me to remember things I had long tried to forget. It has shown me that maybe its time to see a therapist in order to move past my childhood traumas so that my daughters do not inherit my baggage. After reading this book I refuse to let shame become my prison and I hope this is the message each woman takes away.

My only critique is based on my own personal preference for chronological stories. I find then I hate knowing the ending upfront and then being giving the details as the story progresses, I much rather learn the character’s fate as the story unravels. However, even in spite of that, A Woman Is No Man has now been added to the short-list of my favourite books of all time.

XOXO
Gina

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