A Woman Is No Man
By Etaf Rum
What’s it about? Isra is just 17 years-old in 1990 and living in Palestine when her marriage is arranged to Adam. She leaves everything she knows and moves to America. Traveling back in forth in time from Isla to her daughter Deya in 2008 we see how the conservative Palestinian culture is surviving in America. This novel chronicles what life is like for many Palestinian women. Their lives are almost incomprehensible to me. What an eye-opening novel. I can not imagine it has been well received by the conservative Palestinian community.
What did it make me think about? Yes people another sad story. But what a story…Should I read it? This novel had really well-drawn out characters and kept me interested from cover to cover. Etaf Rum is a beautiful writer. It is hard to believe this is her first book. I can not wait to see what she writes next. Having said that- I must add that the story was really disturbing. The women are so oppressed in this culture! This is happening in Brooklyn as we sit here? Rum hints that this way of life is damaging to the men in the culture as well. What a book! Quote- ” ‘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 sabr, patience.’ “