What a powerful read. I was immediately drawn to Isra’s story and her upbringing. I found myself holding my breath multiple times because Isra’s way of life was like nothing I have ever read. It was eye opening. When she meets Adam, the man she is being forced to marry, he seemed like a good guy. I think I initially felt this way because Adam didn’t get angry when Isra slapped him for trying to kiss her before they wed. Given that Isra knows her father beats her mother, for Adam not to respond to being hit by a woman made me think that he was going to be different. Unfortunately after they get to America everything changes. Adam is the oldest child in his family and has the majority, if not all, the responsibility to keep the family business afloat. Always under pressure to do better, be the best it was no wonder he turned to the bottle.
Isra’s only job was to produce offspring, male offspring. It was sad that Fareeda, Adam’s mom, believed that having a baby girl was a curse. We don’t find out the reasoning behind this until the very end. This is why the alternating chapters between Isra, her oldest daughter Deya, and Fareeda were so interesting.
I don’t even know how to really put my feelings about this book into words. Everyone needs to read this story. Was it hard to read at times? Yes! Do some parts make you want to scream? Definitely! All the more reason to read it.
The ending did have me stumped so I went onto Goodreads to read a few spoilers and WOW. The spoilers I read had me backtracking to where a scene had been mentioned and then rereading the end again. Uggg!! For those who have read this know what I’m talking about!
Book Rating: 4.5/5
Wine Pairing: Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon
This debut novel by an Arab-American voice,takes us inside the lives of conservative Arab women living in America.
In Brooklyn, eighteen-year-old Deya is starting to meet with suitors. Though she doesn’t want to get married, her grandparents give her no choice. History is repeating itself: Deya’s mother, Isra, also had no choice when she left Palestine as a teenager to marry Adam. Though Deya was raised to believe her parents died in a car accident, a secret note from a mysterious, yet familiar-looking woman makes Deya question everything she was told about her past. As the narrative alternates between the lives of Deya and Isra, she begins to understand the dark, complex secrets behind her community.