A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum was one of the books I was looking forward to reading the most this year. It did not disappoint, but it also completely broke my heart.
Here’s the synopsis from the back of the book:
“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 naïve and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure 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, Isra’s oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can’t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man.
But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths about her family—knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.” (Rum, Etaf. A Woman is No Man, 2019)
I read this book in under 10 hours. It was impossible to put down because I was so concerned for the main character, Isra. I wanted to know if she was going to be OK. My heart broke for her. The way she’s treated and how much violence is a part of her every day live was unnerving. It was eye opening to see how different cultures treat women. How women are thought of as less than and disposable is so upsetting. A Woman is No Man is a heavy book and one that weighed on my heart and mind for a long time.
I’ve noticed that my reading pattern this year has been focused on women’s rights. I didn’t plan that, but it’s a big topic right now, and rightly so. I feel like we’ve come a long way, and yet still have a long way to go. At times I’m hopeful but there are moments where I feel completely helpless. Our country is in a weird place right now, and in my opinion, not a good one. It can be hard to be hopeful.
So what do I pair with such a heavy book? Something light, that’s for sure! I ended up going with Azuli Sauvignon Blanc from Bright Cellars because the label looked very similar to the book cover! I thought they looked good together.
This is one of my favorite wines from Bright Cellars. It’s clean, crisp, and tart with notes of lime, green apple, and lemongrass. I’ve been impatiently waiting for it to come back in stock!
What’s a book you’ve read recently that you couldn’t stop thinking about?
If you’re interested in checking out Bright Cellars, use my referral link to get a $50 credit on your first order!
*I was not compensated for my review. All thoughts and images are my own.*