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Book Review A Woman is no Man by Etaf Rum

Book Review: A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

Do you know what suffering it brings to the women and girls in society? They are forced to get married at an early age without their consent. Then, what is the purpose of an arranged loveless marriage? Their duties are well designed by the culture that may oppress their freedoms. The novel A Woman is no Man by Etaf Rum discusses all these questions in detail and shows you the story of a woman who is “born without a voice”.

A woman is no man by Etaf Rum explores how three generations of Palestinian American women in contemporary Brooklyn find it difficult to choose between two possibilities of individual desires and the strict norms of the community in which they live. In the novel, they’re struggling to convey their voices within the enclosed culture of the Arab community with conservative and sometimes abusive restrictions.

The book contains the story of honour, love, culture, mysteries, crimes, and violence. It tells you how women are traumatized and passed down this trauma to the next generation. It shows you a very conservative family, and the primary role is marriage regardless of what family you are in. It also conveys the immigrant and identity themes that are the novel’s heart.

These are some secrets the novel reveals that pushes you to move further. So if you’re ready to delve more into the story, keep reading! 

A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum | Book Review

A Woman is no Man by Etaf Rum Quotes

About the Author 

Etaf Rum 

Etaf Rum is a Palestinian American novelist, was born and raised in Brooklyn, Newyork city, to Palestinian parents. Her parents and Grandparents both lived in refugee camps in Palestine before immigrating to the United States. Rum was raised in a traditional family, entered into an arranged marriage, then moved to North Carolina at 19. 

Being annoyed by the limitations of her life, thinking about why she can’t do things a man could. Her grandmother told her that she couldn’t do it because she was a woman. Ignoring this, she pursued her education. While raising her children, she educated herself at North California state university. She earned B.A. in English language and literature, a B.S. in philosophy and M.A. in American and British literature and philosophy.

The novel A Woman is no man was published by HarperCollins in 2019.

Overview | A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum

A woman is no man is an emotional yet beautiful historical fiction published on 8 February 2019. The book is a New York Times bestseller and Read with Jenna Today Show book club pick. She was awarded as A Goodreads choice award finalist for best fiction and best debut, Bookbrowe’s best book of the year, a popular best book of the year all written by females. A Washington book Review makes it difficult to put down the novel and a Million most anticipated books of 2019.

Is the book based on a real story? A woman is no man is a semi-autobiography, is about Palestinian women living in New York City in Brooklyn. The novel is based on Etaf Rum’s experience. She wanted to write about the lives and struggles of many Arab- American women, especially the inadequately represented voices in literature. Hence, as an Arab American woman, she wanted to express this issue in her novel. She just wanted to show the reality of some Arab American women based on her experiences.

The main character, Fareeda, Isra and Deya, are the three main characters in the story about the trauma of oppression and the cycle of how these patterns are passed from one generation to the next. The main protagonist is present-day eighteen years old Deya in Brooklyn.

Summary of the Book A woman is no man by Etaf Rum. 

Palestine, 1990, seventh-year-old Isra, married to a man her father has chosen for her. Over time, she finds herself bound with marriage and responsibilities and moves to Brooklyn with her husband Adam and his parents, Khaled and Fareeda. Isra struggled to adapt to the expectations of her mother in law Fareeda and a strange new husband.

 Her mother in law is oppressive, and her husband is rarely there, working 18 hours a day at his family’s multiple businesses. She lives with her mother in law and learns her role in the community is to be a good wife, help her mother-in-law in household work and raise her children. 

She becomes pregnant and is buried under the pressure of having a son. Still, instead of the son, she had four daughters, which pushes her into an even more difficult situation, whereas her mother in law Fareeda tells her she must bear it. Her husband Adam abuses her with each new daughter, often coming home drunk and beating Isra. She saw her father hit her mother her whole life. So she somehow internalizes that this is Normal, and she is desensitized to domestic abuse.

Brooklyn, 2008, Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter, was told to meet her potential husband at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, whereas her only desire is to go to college. Her grandmother strongly decided that the only way to secure her future was to marry the right man.

But fate has the potential to resolve everything. Deya finds herself on an unexpected truth about her family that forces her to question everything. When she Questions all the facts, it opens slowly, and Deya realizes action is coming towards her. She takes full control of her life in her hand and starts designing her life as she wants.

What to Take Away from the Book?

A Woman is no Man by Etaf Rum Book Cover
Source: Book Club Chat

The novel “A Woman is No Man” is a story of a young woman who fights against the battles to shine her voice and makes her own choices. You will explore that women’s voices are still unheard, and it’s a painful reality for the women in the world they are living through.

The book talks about women-centric themes and issues about the emotional and everyday struggles of women born and trapped under the oppressive culture. The novel explains to you the harsh reality of women in this male-dominated culture and, at the same time, gives you a great understanding of womanhood.

What do I Think about the Book?

The novel does come close to meeting my expectations, as it shows how society treats women, where women don’t have dreams and wishes. They only have duties and responsibilities. It portrays a world in which women also have the same and important respect as men. 

Rating for the Book

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The book A woman is no man by Etaf Rum deserves 4.5 stars out of 5 from me.

Conclusion & Recommendations | A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum

You will learn more when you visit Etaf Rum in her novel A Woman Is No Man. I would highly recommend this book to everyone who loves reading but especially to the women who are still trapped in the trauma of abuse to know how to handle the harsh reality they are living in. The novel will open your eyes to the issues which are being discussed here, which you must try reading and exploring more.

Also, I think I might have something more for you to explore:

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