Book Review: A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

Fareeda knew that no matter what any woman said, culture could not be escaped. Even if it meant tragedy. Even if it meant death. At least she was able to recognize her role in their culture, own up to it, instead of sitting around saying “If only I had done things differently.” It took more than one woman to do things differently. It took a world of them. She had comforted herself with these thoughts so many times before, but tonight they only filled her with shame.

page 311, A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

(I am an Amazon Affiliate, if you click on a picture, it will take you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a portion of the sale.)

Told through the voices of three generations of Palestinian women in Brooklyn, A Woman is No Man, explores whether a woman can escape the confines of her culture and live into her true voice.

Heartbreaking and hopeful all at once, the reader follows the journey of Deya, an 18 year-old Palestinian-American and how her story verges from that of her mother and grandmother and aunt throughout a year of her life.

The book is well written and discusses Arabic Culture in a nuanced way. The stress put upon both men and women in this community is emphasized and the tragedy that may occur if tradition isn’t kept in check.

The ending appears suddenly and left me with a lot of questions and also a lot of hope for the future of Deya. This book releases from Harper on March 5, 2019


It’s hard to explain…. I still struggle to accept myself and it would have been better if I’d started sooner, much sooner. It’s hard to belong anywhere, truly belong, if we don’t belong to ourselves first.

pg 179. A Woman is No Man. Etaf Rum

I received an ARC for a fair and honest review.


  • This book is a February pick for Book of the Month Club. More information here. (I am not paid to advertise, I only am a happy consumer of the monthly service!)
  • Also, it was listed as books to take note of for 2019 on the Reading Women podcast. Listen here.
  • Find more about the author here



For similar books

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A family’s life and destiny are uprooted during the 1967 Six Day War and how to move forward when you can’t go home again.

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