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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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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! 2w
jlhammar Loved this one! 2w
Andrew65 This is on my stack and need to get to it. 2w
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 👏👏👏 1mo
Eggbeater I read this one a few years back. It was good, but like you said, a hard read, memorable. 1mo
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!!! 4mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Awesome review!! 4mo
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!!!! 5mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage @Riveted_Reader_Melissa Despite its unending darkness, the author does a great job of inhabiting the characters and culture. 5mo
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. 5mo
Scochrane26 I loved this book 5mo
Librarybelle This is on my to read list! 5mo
80 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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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 👏🏻💔📖 6mo
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.

27 likes1 stack add
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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 😁😊💜📚 8mo
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. 8mo
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! 8mo
43 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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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! 9mo
Jari-chan @Jeannineth Defenitely heartbreaking! 😢 9mo
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. 9mo
See All 6 Comments
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. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 9mo
38 likes1 stack add6 comments
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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 9mo
Jari-chan @BarbaraBB It also tastes yummy 😊 9mo
kspenmoll Looks delicious! 9mo
Jari-chan @kspenmoll Thank you 😊 9mo
Kdgordon88 Yum! 9mo
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

19 likes1 stack add
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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! 11mo
marleed Ohh, I read and loved both. Grab your chai for 11mo
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Soubhiville I loved both of these as well. 11mo
ErikasMindfulShelf They are both great! 11mo
Aswenson Both of these are excellent! 11mo
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. 11mo
TorieStorieS @cathysaid I agree! Some of the dialogue felt a little stilted but overall I really enjoyed it! 11mo
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. 12mo
22 likes1 comment
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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!) 12mo
brittanythebookdragon @BookishMarginalia Thanks so much! 😄 12mo
GreenGrl87 Speechless. Exactly. I‘m stunned. 12mo
21 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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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. 12mo
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! 🤩📚 13mo
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. 13mo
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!

22 likes1 stack add
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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. 1y
GardenJess @AmyG it really was great! 1y
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 👍🏻❤️ 1y
JillR @cathythoughts thank you x 1y
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!! 1y
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 ❤❤❤ 1y
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 ❤❤❤ 1y
5 likes1 comment
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bookwormlife
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Halfway through and cannot put down!

Mitch I enjoyed this one too 1y
lynneamch Yes! I saw her interviewed on Friends and Fiction FB live. She was fascinating and much was taken from her own experience. 1y
bookwormlife @lynneamch Oh, I will look for this interview! Thankyou, dear Lynne! 1y
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 ❤❤❤ 1y
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 1y
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. 1y
Pageturner1 i think you will find you really like the characters and story by the end 1y
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

10 likes1 stack add
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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. 1y
kspenmoll Interesting view as a horror story- you are so right! 1y
JanuarieTimewalker13 @kspenmoll just seeing this now!! Thanks📚❤️ 1y
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! 1y
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 ♥️📚👊🏻 1y
Daisey I‘ve heard a lot of great reviews for this book! 1y
samanthagutt I loved this book! 1y
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. 1y
JenlovesJT47 @Clwojick same! I‘m almost always disappointed. ☹️ 1y
Copwithabook I was also not impressed. I felt like I had read the story before 1y
56 likes3 comments
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rjsthumbelina
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Pickpick

A hard read due to how sad it is, but beautifully written. The story of generations of Palestinian women, the generational trauma they face even after coming to America, and the hardships of trying to live in a repressive culture even after leaving. Read for #sundaybuddyread, just got around to posting thoughts

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Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick
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This debut about three generations of Palestinian women is heartbreaking & infuriating. The author is giving a voice to those women who are caught in the cycle of abuse and isolation, all in the name of family and culture. 4.5🌟
(Playing catch up on September's books)

JanuarieTimewalker13 I‘m currently listening to this one!! Only 13% in and pissed off. I want to drive my car through Bay Ridge with signs with female empowerment quotes. Weird, bc I ended up driving through all the neighborhoods she mentioned in the beginning of the book about 2 weeks ago bc I got off on wrong exit over the Verrazano. It would‘ve been a cool drive if I hadn‘t been pressed for time. (edited) 1y
Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick @JanuarieTimewalker13 I'll join you in that ride. Hell, I'd volunteer to punch a few men in the dick if it would help. I know, I know, violence isn't the answer, but sometimes revenge is fun, too. I was so angry reading this book. I am so fortunate that I was brought up in a living family that pumped me up and let me be myself. I learned about hard work and family values, but nothing to this extreme. 1y
JanuarieTimewalker13 I totally agree with you. I‘m only 29% in, but it has brought back memories of my mother advising me to get an education and be independent. Thank God for her!! My dad died at 42 from rheumatic heart (1962) leaving behind an 8 month old and an 8 year old, and she only had a GED., she got married so young. She was a waitress. I believe the stress killed her. She never really taught me to cook or do “female” things, I think subconsciously 1y
JanuarieTimewalker13 She didn‘t want that. I did a little housework for her, but I didn‘t even know how to make a bed until I was 20, when she got sick. She died when I was 21 and in my 3rd year of college. Thank God I had a supportive aunt, also. Women. My life has been sustained by women. We are fortunate to have been raised in a society that valued us (not quite as much as I‘d like) but at least we were valued at home. 1y
59 likes4 comments
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Sargar114
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I was listening to this podcast today and there is a story on it that reminded me of last month‘s #sundaybuddyread But TW: mentions sexual abuse.