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A Woman Is No Man
A Woman Is No Man: A Novel | Etaf Rum
Three generations of Palestinian-American women in contemporary Brooklyn are torn between individual desire and the strict mores of traditional Arab culture in this powerful, heartbreaking and hopeful debut novelan emotionally resonant and culturally relevant story of love, secrets, courage, and duty that speaks to the lives and experiences of all women today, giving voice to the silenced and agency to the oppressed. Where I come from, weve learned to silence ourselves. Weve been taught that silence will save us. Where I come from, we keep these stories to ourselves. To tell them to the outside world is unheard of, dangerous, the ultimate shame. 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 nave and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, in a house thousands of miles from the only place she has ever known. Fearful and uncertain of her strange new husband, Isra struggles with her duties as a traditional wife and the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareedapressure 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, Isras oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareedas behest, though her only desire is to attend college. Deya cant help but wonder if her options might have been different had her parents survived a fatal car crash that left her and her sisters orphans in their grandparents care and if she was free of Fareedas fierce attempts to protect her granddaughters from a world she has decided is unfit for them. But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads to shocking truths about her familyknowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future. Set in an America that may feel removed yet is all too close at hand, A Woman Is No Man is a story of culture and honor, secrets and betrayals, love and violence. It is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and closed cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.
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GatheringBooks
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#WondrousWednesday
📚 Probably my parents who provided me access to Dr Seuss when I was young; and my distant cousin who loaned me her classics (Little Women, Mark Twain, etc) when I was a tween
📚Fredrik Backman, Gina Apostol, Elaine Castillo, Magda Szabo
📚I have the GatheringReaders book club in UAE with our doctoral students and faculty colleagues who love to read. Tagged book is our current read.

Eggs Thank you Myra❣️ 4mo
35 likes1 comment
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erickahhh
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Pickpick

What a great book that highlights the multigenerational patterns that can exist in families. I had so much empathy for each of the characters, realizing each perspectives helped the story fall into place.

Each woman was making the best decisions she could, given the circumstances. Hoping for a better life, each would (intentionally or unintentionally) make decisions that recreated the same old cycle.

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kera_11
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the lives of 3 generations of women in a Palestinian/Palestinian-American family and how they see the world differently and what they want for themselves and the women in their lives. what they‘re willing to put up with to survive bc “a woman is no man”, and where they have to draw the line and fight. this book was so emotional and made me cry MANY times but it is so beautifully done, jumping through time and through each woman‘s perspective.

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kimmypete1
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I read this for my schools book club and I‘m so glad I did. Powerful and heartbreaking, it will stick with me a long time.

#12Booksof2021 @Andrew65

ElizaMarie Ooo I really enjoyed this one too! 11mo
jlhammar Loved this one! 11mo
Andrew65 This is on my stack and need to get to it. 11mo
37 likes3 comments
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kimmypete1
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Pickpick

This was a hard read at times, several parts made me want to scream and rage (most especially the millions of comments that it‘s the woman‘s fault that she birthed a girl).

Well written and an important read. Highly recommend.

#WinterGames2021 #TeamGameSleighers #AnyWayYouReadathon @eggbeater @midnightbookgirl #DashingDecember @Andrew65

Andrew65 Well done 👏👏👏 12mo
Eggbeater I read this one a few years back. It was good, but like you said, a hard read, memorable. 12mo
19 likes2 comments
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KristenDuck
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Pickpick

This was an epic novel depicting the lives of three generations of Palestinian women. I just finished the audiobook and am simply blown away.

Isra married through an arranged marriage and moved to America with her husband. Cultural pressures (and her rather unsupportive mother-in-law) made her feel inadequate as she continued only giving birth to girls, four in total, when she was expected to birth a son.

So much more to the story… a must-read!

kspenmoll Great book!!! 1y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Awesome review!! 1y
85 likes2 comments
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angel1
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Getting all caught up on my BOTM stack so I can finish the challenge! Here are all my ratings in one post!😃
•A Woman Is No Man~⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
•All The Bright Places~⭐⭐⭐⭐
•The Survivors~⭐⭐⭐⭐
•Mexican Gothic~⭐⭐⭐

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BarbaraTheBibliophage
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Pickpick

This broke my heart. Not like cracked in half, but like someone sat on my chest from beginning to end. Which proves that the author made the oppression the female characters feel into something visceral for the reader. Although it‘s set in Brooklyn, there are some scenes in #palestine and the whole thing is informed by the “old country‘s” culture. So counting for #readingasia2021

Full review http://www.TheBibliophage.com #thebibliophage2021

Riveted_Reader_Melissa Such a great book! So good!!!! 1y
BarbaraTheBibliophage @Riveted_Reader_Melissa Despite its unending darkness, the author does a great job of inhabiting the characters and culture. 1y
Riveted_Reader_Melissa @BarbaraTheBibliophage Yes, it‘s dark, but it‘s well done, and feels true emotionally. I‘m betting there are some stories in her life behind the story on the book. 1y
Scochrane26 I loved this book 1y
Librarybelle This is on my to read list! 1y
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MallenNC
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I find it difficult to read about abuse (as many people do) but I thought it was valuable to read this one because it is semi-autobiographical. It‘s important to pay attention to people when they tell their stories.

#PersonVsAbusiveSpouse #ConflictedWorlds

Eggs 👏🏻💔📖 1y
32 likes2 comments
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MallenNC
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Pickpick

I‘m glad I finally read this one, especially since the author lives here in North Carolina. (I like to support local authors!). It‘s a hard story to read but I think it was worthwhile especially since it is semi-autobiographical. The intention of final chapter confused me a bit, so I‘d love to know more about that writing choice.

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KadeLexical
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Too often being happy means being passive or playing it safe. There's no skill required in happiness, no strength of character, nothing extraordinary. Its discontent that drives creation the most--passion, desire, defiance. Revolutions don't come from a place of happiness. If anything, I think it's sadness, or discontent at least, that's at the root of everything beautiful.

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jessijames
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Pickpick

I have really been on a roll with some great picks lately. I love when I get on a roll like this. Another beautiful story that pulled at every one of my emotions. I will definitely be rereading this one! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5.

Librariana What in particular spoke to you about this one? Curious minds 😁😊💜📚 2y
jessijames @Librariana The hardships that were forced upon the women and the different ways they handled them. I had to understand their family secrets. The family dynamic was simultaneously beautiful and heartbreaking. 2y
48 likes2 comments
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SerenaCrawford
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Pickpick

Never thought I would read this but I did. I recommend it

Pageturner1 Felt the same way! I loved it! 2y
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Jari-chan
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Pickpick

This is such an amazing book! Not it's topic, which is devastating and terrible, but the way the story is told, the way it is written, the way it made me feel and the way it opened my eyes. Rum does not judge, does not grief, she simply tells us the truth. The truth about her fate and the fate of so many other women. This book will stay with me for a long time.

@TheAromaOfBooks #BookSpinBingo

Jeannineth This was a favorite of mine last year. So heartbreaking! 2y
Jari-chan @Jeannineth Defenitely heartbreaking! 😢 2y
Pageturner1 i really enjoyed this book. i read it in a group read. i probably wouldn‘t have picked it up myself just because i am slowly going out of my comfort zone of books, but i am very glad i read it. it is on my top book list. 2y
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Jari-chan @Pageturner1 Glad to hear that your step outside your comfort zone went so well! 😊 It is a book that makes it easy to try something new. 2y
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 2y
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Jari-chan
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Today I made Lemon Za'atar Pasta for #FoodandLit - a very fresh dish, perfect for summer time. Enjoyed it on the balcony while reading the tagged book ❤️

#Israel @Butterfinger @Texreader

BarbaraBB Looks yummy 2y
Jari-chan @BarbaraBB It also tastes yummy 😊 2y
kspenmoll Looks delicious! 2y
Jari-chan @kspenmoll Thank you 😊 2y
40 likes5 comments
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dainarmb
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Pickpick

A Woman Is No Man was a slow heartbreaking, disheartening read for the first third, but when it picked up and the puzzle pieces of Deya's story started falling together, I enjoyed the story immensely. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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dainarmb
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This book is so upsetting and I'm only 70 pages in. #currentlyreading it running on ~3 hours of sleep, fingers crossed I can handle it and don't cry lol

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vonnie862
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Pickpick

Oh my goodness! All the feels! My heart broke into pieces at the end! I give it 5 ⭐
#etafrum

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Reviewsbylola
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So y‘all made me rethink my approach this month. And since I can‘t seem to resist #botm all together, I decided to choose thoughtful, diverse books from the backlist that I‘d overlooked previously. Excited to read these two!

Megabooks I loved both of these!!! Great choices! 2y
marleed Ohh, I read and loved both. Grab your chai for 2y
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Soubhiville I loved both of these as well. 2y
ErikasMindfulShelf They are both great! 2y
Aswenson Both of these are excellent! 2y
83 likes6 comments
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mackelie
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Received another book from #Shelterboxbookclub! Looking forward to this read specially selected for the International Women‘s Day 💝

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TorieStorieS
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Pickpick

This book opens in #Palestine- the country for this month‘s #ReadAroundTheWorld challenge. And while the bulk of this takes place physically in Brooklyn- culturally, it revolves more around Palestine. In three generations & three voices, this tragic novel unfolds to reveal a grim portrait of a woman‘s worth. There are moments of hope to break up the sorrows, but this is a heavy read. And a definite discussion starter! But I‘m glad to have read it!

cathysaid I enjoyed this one. Odd but engaging. 2y
TorieStorieS @cathysaid I agree! Some of the dialogue felt a little stilted but overall I really enjoyed it! 2y
55 likes2 comments
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AmyK1
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Pickpick

“We‘ve been taught to silence ourselves, that our silence will save us.”

Wow. I‘m not sure what to say about this that hasn‘t already been said. It‘ll make you mad. And hopeful. It‘s a raw, emotional look at generations of abuse and oppression of women in the Arab culture and what needs to be done to change it.

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GreenGrl87
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Pickpick

This book was everything I expected it to be, but also so much more and I know it is one that will stay with me for a very long time. There are a lot of takeaways here and much to reflect on, but for me one thing that stands out is the depiction of generational trauma and how if we (as women especially) don‘t ever set aside our shame and confront the truth of our lived experiences we doom the next generations to repeat out heartache and struggle.

riversong153 Oh this was a good one! I read it a couple of years ago. 2y
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brittanythebookdragon
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Pickpick

I just fucking can‘t. I‘m speechless. 5 stars. Know you are worth more and never deserve to have a man or woman put their hands on you in anger.

BookishMarginalia Agreed! (And lovely pic, by the way!) 2y
GreenGrl87 Speechless. Exactly. I‘m stunned. 2y
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FelinesAndFelonies
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Pickpick

Beautiful, heartbreaking, raw, emotional. My #4 #bookspin this month. I love the multi-generational storytelling. I really enjoyed the book. At times, I found it repetitive with the "But what choice did she have?" Or "What could she do?" It played into some stereotypes with the abusive male figures. Overall, this book was a brilliant discussion of gender roles, diaspora, and preservation of cultural identity while trying to assimilate. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

27 likes2 comments
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whatkhrysreads
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Pickpick

I don‘t have the appropriate words to describe how I feel about this book except that everyone should read it. There is much pain and yet great hope woven into one beautifully told story.

kspenmoll I feel the same. 2y
13 likes1 comment
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FelinesAndFelonies
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Damn. That's real talk. 💯

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NikkiCureton
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I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We‘ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won‘t. ~Audre Lorde I know this just a note in the book, but it‘s beautiful and makes me excited for the story to be told by Etaf Rum.

9 likes1 stack add
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Beccacraft
Pickpick

This book is told through the perspectives of 3 generations of Palestinian-American women, and their warring of cultural norms versus desire to be something their culture tells them they can never be. It‘s powerful, interesting, full of sorrow and learning, and an important message.

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GreenGrl87
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1. The tagged book, unless a miracle happens these next couple of days. I just haven‘t really been able to get back into this one, but hopefully I can soon.
2. At the beginning of 2020 audible gave away gift cards for everyone who listened to 3 books by a certain date... I got the dates mixed up and missed finishing my 3rd audiobook by a couple of hours. This has haunted me all year. 👻
Anyone want to join in the #Two4Tuesday fun?!

TheSpineView Thanks for playing! 🤩📚 2y
13 likes1 comment
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kspenmoll
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“I was born without a voice...”

#voiceless #4callingbirds #12booksof2020 #day4

Andrew65 Sounds good. 2y
65 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Reynosa8701
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Pickpick

This book is great! #awomanisnoman makes me thankful that I‘ve had a choice to choose who I love and if I want children; even though I was a young mother it was my choice!

23 likes2 stack adds
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Reynosa8701
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1) I do plan on reading after I‘m done eating. 2) We cleaned and decorated for Christmas today!

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steph_phanie
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Pickpick

Outstanding debut novel! All of my emotions ran high while reading this, and it still haunts me a week later. Definitely one of the best books I have read this year!

12 likes1 stack add
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GardenJess
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Pickpick

Wow. I‘m stunned by this one. What an amazing and powerful story.

AmyG Great book. 2y
GardenJess @AmyG it really was great! 2y
15 likes2 comments
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GardenJess
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Reading this in my darkened office bc migraine. Cannot out it down -I‘m so wrapped up in the story already.

14 likes1 stack add
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AlizaApp
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Pickpick

A Palestinian woman moves to America with her new husband (from an arranged marriage) and finds her life is ruled by a strict set of rules within the community. In a later timeline, her teenage daughter tries to figure out some family secrets. A novel about domestic abuse, the constraints of familial expectation, and finding your voice. Sometimes hard to read but worth it.

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JillR
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Pickpick

An important story about the lives of 3 Palestinian women living in America. It‘s extremely harrowing; these women experience arranged/forced marriage, extreme domestic abuse and a life that seems to be little more than imprisonment. It does maybe lack in depth and reads like YA at times, but I suspect it was written this way intentionally to deliver a clear message. I admire the bravery of the author and at the very end there is a glimmer of hope

Cathythoughts Great review 👍🏻❤️ 2y
JillR @cathythoughts thank you x 2y
44 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Sargar114
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Thanks for the tag @Annie1215 and cute idea @KVanRead

I thought of the tagged book. There is a lot of discussion regarding women and choices available to them in the Arab culture.

What do you think? @TheBookHippie @mollyrotondo @AmyG

#litfortunecookie

KVanRead I definitely need to read this one. Thanks for playing!! 2y
12 likes1 comment
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jouleian
Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ this is a book everyone (men included) should read at least once. I have an appreciation for the fact that the author doesn‘t focus on misogynistic oppression but how women themselves continue the cycle. This is honest, it‘s raw, and I highly #recommend it. #litsy #mustread

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jouleian

“It‘s not strange at all,” Sarah said, “It‘s the loneliest people who love books most.”

This makes me so sad but at the same time I #love it. #litsy #wisewords #quotes

CaffeineAndCandy ❤❤❤ 2y
5 likes1 comment
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jouleian

“What‘s meant for you will reach you even if it‘s beneath two mountains, and what‘s not meant for you won‘t reach you even if it‘s between your two lips”

I love this. #wisewords #litsy #proverbs

CaffeineAndCandy ❤❤❤ 2y
5 likes1 comment
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bookwormlife
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Halfway through and cannot put down!

Mitch I enjoyed this one too 2y
lynneamch Yes! I saw her interviewed on Friends and Fiction FB live. She was fascinating and much was taken from her own experience. 2y
bookwormlife @lynneamch Oh, I will look for this interview! Thankyou, dear Lynne! 2y
9 likes4 comments
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jouleian

“Why would a person want to be a woman when they could be a bird?”

This quote is causing an existential crisis over here. #wisewords #litsy #women #palestine

CaffeineAndCandy ❤❤❤ 2y
8 likes1 comment
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jouleian
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This is my next one. It good reviews and was highly #recommended. So I grabbed myself a copy, be back later with my thoughts. #litsy

Pageturner1 i really enjoyed this one 2y
jouleian @Pageturner1 I‘m only a couple pages in and I kinda like it. Granted I‘m not as far in as I like or usually would be, cause kids lol. But I do really like the flow of it from what I can tell. 2y
Pageturner1 i think you will find you really like the characters and story by the end 2y
11 likes1 stack add3 comments
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bluestocking.book.nerd
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Pickpick

Oof... Two intense books in a row. Something in the universe is nudging me for some reason.

I'm both confused by and satisfied by this book's end. It's both hopeful and horrifying. Breaking cycles of culturally accepted and ingrained abuse is so important. #5stars #contentwarning

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JanuarieTimewalker13
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Pickpick

Tragic. Men are monsters and women are zombies. This is a true horror story. Patriarchy at its best. When will they be questioned? When will they question themselves? This is not living, this is slavery. Kudos to this author for an interesting debut. Hopefully every generation will get better, but I worry for the women who are suffering right now.

JanuarieTimewalker13 Above is a real life account. 2y
kspenmoll Interesting view as a horror story- you are so right! 2y
JanuarieTimewalker13 @kspenmoll just seeing this now!! Thanks📚❤️ 2y
49 likes4 comments
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Lovesbooks87
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Pickpick

Wow, just wow! I can‘t believe that I let this book sit on my shelf for so long. This was a hard read to listen too. My heart broke for Isra and Deya. There were times I want to throw this book because of the subject matter. I really wish there was a different outcome for Isra. But I was so glad that Deya stood up for herself! #botm

#booked2020 book club worthy
#bookspinbingo space 19

Jeannineth I loved this. It will definitely be on my faves of the year! Just wow! 2y
BarbaraTheBibliophage I know this gets lots of love. Still on my TBR, but yay—it‘s not on yours anymore! Also tagging my cohosts @4thhouseontheleft and @Cinfhen ♥️📚👊🏻 2y
Daisey I‘ve heard a lot of great reviews for this book! 2y
samantharoberts I loved this book! 2y
71 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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JenlovesJT47
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Mehso-so

Maybe it‘s because this book has been so hyped up, but I was a little disappointed by it. Don‘t get me wrong, the story is tragic and it hurts my heart that people have to go through that. I just think it was way too repetitive and the ending was so abrupt I wanted to throw the book across the room. 😆 2.5⭐️

#BOTM
#Scarathlon2020
#TeamSlaughter

6 points

Clwojick This is why I struggle with “trendy popular“ books. 2y
JenlovesJT47 @Clwojick same! I‘m almost always disappointed. ☹️ 2y
Copwithabook I was also not impressed. I felt like I had read the story before 2y
56 likes3 comments