[Reading] ➲ A Woman Is No Man ➺ Etaf Rum – Rvtrek.info
This Debut Novel By An Arab American Voice,takes Us Inside The Lives Of Conservative Arab Women Living In America.In Brooklyn, Eighteen Year Old Deya Is Starting To Meet With Suitors Though She Doesn T Want To Get Married, Her Grandparents Give Her No Choice History Is Repeating Itself Deya S Mother, Isra, Also Had No Choice When She Left Palestine As A Teenager To Marry Adam Though Deya Was Raised To Believe Her Parents Died In A Car Accident, A Secret Note From A Mysterious, Yet Familiar Looking Woman Makes Deya Question Everything She Was Told About Her Past As The Narrative Alternates Between The Lives Of Deya And Isra, She Begins To Understand The Dark, Complex Secrets Behind Her Community. A look inside an embedded patriarchal culture Isra loves to read, books show her a wider world than the insular one where she lives Custom, however, dictates that women cannot continue with their schooling but must marry instead When a Palestinian family, one who now make their home in New York, travel back to Palestine to find a bride for their eldest son, Isra finds herself married She wants to fall in love, to be loved and to have freedom She is hoping in America to find a three.A culture, where a man is allowed to do anything, where a woman is just a possession, everything she has or does is at the mercy of a man The worst thing a woman can do is bring shame on her family.Isra is someone whose hopes and fears, tug at the heartstrings Wanting , she must settle for less Her eldest daughter will take on the challenge of being allowed to make ones own decisions So the story alternates between the two, with an occasional chapter narrated by Fareeda, Isras mother in law We learn all three of their stories.Isra s plight drew me in, her daughters made me hopeful I finished this, looked around at my pile of books and thought how luck i was that no one stopped me from reading So lucky This was at times a very emotionally draining story, but I think a necessary one A look inside what is for many a life of darkness This let s a little light in, by making us aware of what goes on inside some of these closed cultures.ARC by Harper Collins. I was born without a voice, one cold, overcast day in Brooklyn, New York No one ever spoke of my condition I did not know I was mute until years later, when I d opened my mouth to ask for what I wanted and realized no one could hear me Deya Ra Ad, a Brooklyn teenager, had been raised by people who guarded old world beliefs and customs It was expected of her that she would agree to marry one of the Muslim suitors who passed her family s muster, and begin producing babies as soon as possible, and as for having a separate career, a separate identity, well, not so much It could have been worse She could have had her mother s life This is a tale of three generations of women told primarily in two time periods Isra Hadid, was born and raised in Palestine We follow her story from 1990 when she was 17 She dreamed of finding someone to share her life with, someone to love Isra cleared her throat But Mama, what about love Mama glared at her through the steam What about it I ve always wanted to fall in love Fall in love What are you saying Did I raise a sharmouta slut No no Isra hesitated But what if the suitor and I don t love each other Love each other What does love have to do with marriage You think your father and I love each other Isra s eyes shifted to the ground I thought you must, a little Mama sighed Soon you ll learn that there s no room for love in a woman s life There s only one thing you ll need, and that s patience Isra looooooved reading A Thousand and One Nights, a book that holds special meaning for her The book would come to her aid in years to come Isra was married off as a teen and moved with her new husband, Adam, from her home in Palestine to Brooklyn No land of milk and honey for her She was barely allowed out of the family s house Had no friends Did not speak the language Husband worked mad hours for his father Mother in law was of a prison warden than a support Isra was expected to produce babies, preferably boys And pregnancy happened, soon, and frequently But sorry, girls only, which was considered a source of shame So was allowing her face to be seen by anyone after her disappointed, worked nearly to death, increasingly alcoholic husband beat the crap out of her for no good reason The shame was on her, for she must have done something to have earned the assault, the shame of a culture in which dirty laundry was washed clean of indicating marks, and only the victim was hung out to dry Keeping up with the Khans was of paramount importance, in reputation, if not necessarily in material wealth, in perceived propriety, and, of course, in the production of male heirs Isra struggles with feeling affection for her daughters as each new daughter becomes a reason for her husband to hate her even As if post partum depression were not enough of a challenge to cope with, post partum shaming and assault is added to the mix Already a quiet young woman, Isra becomes even withdrawn as she is subjected to relentless criticism, denigration, soul crushing loneliness, and even physical abuse She is largely left to her own devices, is hampered even by a hostile mother in law, and finds no support system in other Islamic women in Brooklyn Of course, being kept on a cultural religious leash which was basically strapped to the household kitchen and nursery made it all but impossible for her to even have a chance to make social connections Have a nice day.Etaf Rum from her siteWe follow Deya Ra Ad from 2008 when she is eighteen, and under pressure from her grandparents to choose a husband Her journey is two pronged We accompany her as she does battle with her family, wanting to have her own choices They may come from a Palestinian background, but Deya was born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York, USA, New World, and is not ok with feeling forced into a set of rules that not only is alien to this place, but which she finds personally indefensible We also tag along as she tries to peel back carefully guarded family secrets She and her siblings have been raised by her father s parents since she was eight, her parents having been killed in an auto accident, an event that has always been clouded in mystery She does not remember any warmth between her parents, even remembers some of the abuse her mother had endured We want to learn about the circumstances of Isra and Adam s passing, and so does Deya Finally, Fareeda Ra Ad, Adam s mother, Isra s mother in law, Deya s grandmother, comes in for a look Not nearly so much as Deya and Isra, but enough to get a sense of what her life was like, and how her experiences helped shape the person she became She is pretty much a gorgon to Isra, but we get to see a bit of how she became so awful, getting some sense of why she clings so doggedly to beliefs and customs that are hardly in her own interest One day a mysterious woman leaves a message for Deya on the steps of her grandparents house, which raises even questions Might her mother still be alive Pursuing this lead, she begins to get answers to many of her questions But even with new knowledge, Deya is still faced with difficult choices, and still has to cope with some difficult people.The stories of Deya and Isra in particular are compelling We can probably relate to Deya who is straddling two worlds with a firmer foot in the new than her mother ever had, being able to act on the questions and concerns she shared with her mother But Isra s story is gripping as well We keep hoping for her to find a way to make things better, boost our hopes for her when chance opportunities present for her to alleviate her suffering, her isolation One element that permeates the novel is the notion of reading, or books, as sources not only of learning but of comfort, company, hopefulness, and inspiration Isra s love for Arabian Nights is palpable, and an affection she passed on to her daughter It is an interest that is revived in Brooklyn when a relation notices Isra s affection for reading and begins providing her with books Isra carves out precious personal time in which to read, a necessary salve in a wounded life A Thousand and One Nights Sarah paused to think Isn t that the story of a king who vows to marry and kill a different woman every night because his wife cheats on him Yes Isra said, excited that Sarah had read it Then he s tricked by Scheherazade, who tells him a new story for a thousand and one nights until he eventually spares her life I must have read it a million times Really Sara said It isn t that good But it is I love the storytelling, the way so many tales unfold at once, the idea of a woman telling stories for her life It s beautiful Sarah shrugged I m not a big fan of make believe stories Isra s eyes sprung wide It s not make believe It s about genies and viziers, which don t exist I prefer stories about real life But it is about real life, Isra said It s about the strength and resilience of women No one asks Scheherazade to marry the king She volunteers on behalf of all women to save the daughters of Muslims everywhere For a thousand and one nights, Scherehazade s stories were resistance Her voice was a weapon a reminder of the extraordinary power of stories, and even , the strength of a single woman Isra, Daya, and Fareeda s stories are the means by which Etaf Rum fills us in on a largely overlooked aspect of contemporary life There are Palestinian, immigrant and American born, women who have been and who continue to be subjected to outrageous treatment by their communities, by their families, by their spouses, solely because of their gender She points out the culture of self blaming and social shaming that aids and abets the brutalization, and virtual enslavement of many such women I do not know if Rum intended her book to reflect on the wider Arabic culture, or on practices in Islamic cultures in diverse nations, so will presume, for the moment, that her focus is intended specifically for Palestinian women A Woman is Not a Man is not just a riveting story of the trials of immigration, but a powerful look at the continuation of a culture of socio economic sexual dimorphism that treats males as rightful beings and females as second class citizens at best, breeding stock or slaves at worst The book put me in mind of several other notable works Exit West is another recent novel that looks at the stark differences in Middle Eastern versus Western cultures through the experiences of an immigrant couple A Thousand Splendid Suns shows the oppression of women in Afghanistan under an extremist religious regime Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows considers East West strains in a London Punjabi community 2018 s Educated shows a domestic form of oppression of women, foisted by an extreme form of Mormonism What Rum has provided with A Woman is No Man is a look at a particular set of women who have been suffering for centuries without the benefit of much public awareness Silence is the only option for Palestinian women suffering domestic violence, even here in America, and I hope to give voice to these women in my novel Etaf Rum One thing that I particularly appreciated was that Rum put the men s brutality into some context, not treating it as some immutable male characteristic, or excusing it, but pointing out that it had an origin in the wider world, and showing how women could come to accept the unacceptable The wounds of her childhood poverty, hunger, abuse had taught her That the traumas of the world were inseparably connected She was not surprised when her father came home and beat them mercilessly, the tragedy of the Nakba The 1948 Palestinian diaspora bulging in his veins She knew that the suffering of women started in the suffering of men, that the bondages of one became the bondages of the other Would the men in her life have battered her had they not been battered themselves Still, might have been a decent thing for them to have exercised a bit of self control, maybe take their rage out by shooting at bottles or something It did her no good for Isra to leave Palestine only to be caged up in Bay Ridge With our national proclamation of secular authority and religious tolerance, and even with the anti Islamic sentiment that set in after 9 11, the USA should still be an excellent place for Islamic people to be able to practice their faith, free of the oppression that afflicts so many Eastern nations, in which one branch of Islam outlaws the practices of other sorts But if Islamic people who come to or are born in the USA are not allowed to participate as Americans, but only as foreigners living on American soil, where is the gain, for them or the nation There may not be a thousand and one tales in Etaf Rum s impressive novel, which should be an early candidate for sundry national awards recognition, and will certainly be one of the best books of 2019, and we can expect that there will be unfortunate women who will suffer miserably unfair lives that no Sheherezade can spare them, but one can still hope that the tales told by Etaf Rum may open at least a few eyes, touch at least a few hearts, offer some a feeling of community, or at least a sense of not being totally alone, spare at least some the dark fates depicted here, and hopefully inspire others to action Patience can be a virtue, but in excess it can function as a powerful link in a chain keeping the present far too attached to an unacceptable past Rum s book is a powerful story, one that impatiently calls the world s attention to the plight of Palestinian women, an oppressed minority within an oppressed minority, and proclaims rather than asks, Can you hear me now Review posted December 14, 2018Publication March 5, 2019 USA EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author s personal, Twitter, GR, Instagram, and FB pagesMarch 11, 2019 Etaf is interviewed by her editor, Erin Wicks, on Book Studio 16Etaf Rum was born in Brooklyn, raised in Bay Ridge by Palestinian immigrants She is on the right with three of her sisters One of nine, she knows about growing up in a large family The image is from her Instagram postings She created and runs booksandbeans on Instagram, which has a mere 166,000 followersItems of interest November 20, 2018 Al Jazeera Palestinian domestic abuse victims have nowhere to turn by Tessa Fox Arabian Nights on Gutenberg March 5, 2019 Literary Hub Even After Writing My Novel, Shame Kept Me From Sharing My Story Rum s writes about her struggle with how much to share of her personal tale and wrestling with the fear that her portrayal might reinforce negative stereotypes THIS BOOK Holy shit To be completely honest, even as a Palestinian Muslim who has spent her entire life unapologetically refusing to abide by patriarchal norms, the concept of this book scared me So honest and raw, but so public Muslims all POC know too well that you don t air your dirty laundry You don t talk about all your shit in front of outsiders Even if it comes at the expense of your community s advancement, you deny that there are any deeply rooted problems, for fear of confirming stereotypes in all of their false simplicity and orientalism You deny it for fear of contributing to your community s otherness, or strengthening the claim that whiteness has in saving you and invading your lands But this book is brilliant in that it is not centered around whiteness Rather, It is a painfully accurate description of the conditions too many of us know and live with but so powerfully contextualized The story follows the lives of 3 generations of Palestinian women and captures the complexity of generational trauma and family, the violence of occupation and diaspora, and of course, the incomprehensible strength and resilience of women It has given me so much perspective and inspiration, and I will probably read it 100 times.Etaf, you are incredibly talented and brave Thank you for serving the Palestinian, Muslim community in this unconventional way I appreciate you and support you, and you all should too This is one of those stories that will dig in deep and make you want to scream at these cultures that undervalue women We know we are different physically but that s where it stops.Putting my anger aside, this is a beautifully written story of 2 Women who have migrated to America from Palestine and a daughter born in America.The struggle of upholding traditional customs while assimilating into a new culture.Rum captures voices of traditions, secrets and shame Loneliness and depression She is both credible and passionate.Told from 3 perspectives from 3 generations, these cultures treat their women as possessions their intelligence undermined and shame is perpetuated because they are less than their sons, brothers, husbands, fathers.This one made me weep I cry for you Isra and the other women who continue to be treated as anything other than an equal May you find courage to defy customs and continue to fight for change An emotional read.5 This is a heartbreaking story of three generations of Palestinian American women in one family..who have been oppressed by their culture Trying to find a voice in their world dominated by men.This was a deeply affecting novel, a fantastic debut..and I loved it Sometimes you read a book and you have no idea where to start because your emotions are all over the place Am I right But I also want to write my review now because my emotions are fresh, and this book was an emotional ride from start to finish Told in two past timelines with different narrators, we mostly hear from eighteen year old Deya, and her mother, Isra We also occasionally hear from Fareeda, Deya s grandmother and Isra s mother in law The family is Palestinian, and the story begins with Isra living in Palestine and succumbing to an arranged marriage with a Palestinian American, Adam I say succumbing because she did not want to get married and leave her family thousands of miles behind.Isra also shares that she did not grow up in the most loving of homes, including insights into a daughter s unique role in the family getting the tea and coffee just right, not being educated, and keeping quiet about the physical abuse that occurs Deya also does not want to get married, and Fareeda is working hard to arrange her match Deya Dreams of college and loves to read She travels many of the same roads as her mother being seen as a burden because she is a girl, not placing a value on her education, her voice not being heard, requiring constant supervision There s also a mystery within this story Deya has been told her parents died in a car accident, but she learns that is not the case So what happened to them There is a web of secrets Deya never could have imagined I savored A Woman Is No Man I read it slowly and reflected throughout The writing is beautiful, but precise, and completely engaging, and it begs thoughtfulness In my own family, I received mixed messages about the roles of women, but mostly, my biggest takeaways were that I was to be educated and fierce I can t imagine what it would be like to be taught the exact opposite messages, repeatedly, day in and out, with total silence about reality being the norm Overall, A Woman Is No Man is a thoughtful, honest, powerful portrayal of a family, its cultural values, and its inner workings Sometimes we remember the experiences we have while reading a book The thoughts, self reflections I can tell you this story will never leave me.This important article written by the author is not to be missed received a complimentary copy All opinions are my own My reviews can also be found on my blog www.jennifertarheelreader.com Find all of my reviews at Let me begin by saying that after my last experience with an internet famous author term used as loosely as possible since she didn t even write the thing, but failed to give credit where credit was due until being called out about it , there is zero chance I would have ever read this Unfortunately, I m not super hip on the times and as soon as I saw this was going to be a Book of the Month selection I immediately put a library hold on it Much to my surprise, I had first dibs and already had it downloaded and started before I saw Uhhhhhhhh WTF Let me clarify things real quick that I know nothing about this author aside from the fact that I really enjoy her coffee cups and book covers Instagrams However, I have been trolled near to death by rabid fanbases authors like these tend to generate and really wouldn t have volunteered for another potential 10 rounds in the ring as their punching bag should history repeat itself But I am not a DNF er so I kept plugging along Obviously from my rating I hated this one, but Imma keep it short and sweet when it comes to why.1 As mentioned above, this is a Book of the Month pick I ve seen it shelved as contemporary fiction, historical fiction and the ever so dreaded chick lit as well Here s what I have to say about that This is YA Period.2 In case you didn t know, this is a book that is supposed to deliver a message Here s how it goes about doing it THIS REVIEW sums things up perfectly.3 I have a feeling this book will never find it s true intended audience, but I m also terrified that it will make its way into the hands of the Alt Right who will be than happy to quote things like thisHow would they have enough money to cover expenses of a newborn When she d asked, Fareeda had merely smiled and said, Don t worry about that With food stamps and Medicaid, you can have as many children as you want4 Most importantly Simply put, it s just The writing is amateurish, the pacing non existent, the characters all Flat Stanleys that means one dimensional, in case you need it womansplained for you , and aside from that dead horse being turned into a gooey pulp, nothing ever happens until around the 80% mark Looking for a book about growing up as a Middle Easterner Pick upPersepolisWant a book that will make you feel all the feels about families and different generations from a non white storyteller GrabThe Joy Luck Club . This book like a gun blast to my chest, ripped my emotions and scatter them all over the places.This book made me sooo angry, this book made me cry, this book made me curse, hate the characters, made me feel sorry for the unfairness, inequality, ignorance There was not any exaggeration, there are too many women in the world suffering the rules from patriarchal culture, customs, illogical traditions made them feel vulnerable, worthless and weak They never know how important their lives, how to define themselves and mostly how to stand up for their rights No matter what is culture, religion, country, race, most important thing in the life is not to lose your humanity inside As you read the book, the leading male characters are all losing their humanity and choosing abuse as an excuse of their traditions This book is slap on your face and harsh wake up call to change the point of views about strength of women and their capabilities Four women s story of different generations rocked my world I loved them, I got angry of them I felt sorry for them But mostly I respected them This book is not an easy read, some parts deeply froze my blood,shocked me that I wanted to throw my kindle against the wall But every word you read and everything that make you feel are so worth it That s so far best thing I read in this year This Book is No Literary Masterpiece A Woman Is No Man definitely did not come close to meeting my expectations While the subject matter is indeed worthy the oppression of women in the Arab culture and the story full of potential the voiced experiences of three generations of Palestinian women I feel I have just read something of sub par quality.From the first chapter, I could not shed the impression that I was reading a mediocre YA novel, not literary fiction This book has a distinct lack of complexity or nuance It is also incredibly repetitive Characters are always talking to themselves, asking themselves lists of questions, over and over Scenes, situations and conversations repeat relentlessly.Rum deserves recognition for telling this story, a story that was kept under wraps for generations She also does a good job of depicting the cycle of abuse of women in her culture, and the need for courage and education in order to effect change But the story is told in a very simplistic, after school special way The story and the characters are as flat as a pita bread straight from Fareeda s oven I don t feel I have learned anything new, and that is sad, considering that I m a WASP living in Montreal.5 stars for subject matter 1 star for delivery Zero stars for false advertising I m looking at YOU, Millions list wtf All this combines for a very grumpy 2 stars from me.