Jenna Bush Hager announces May book club pick

"The story really captivated me," Jenna said. "I couldn’t put it down."
/ Source: TODAY
By Courtney Gisriel

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It's the first day of May, which means it's time to add a new book to our #ReadWithJenna reading list!

After choosing a beautiful memoir in April, Jenna Bush Hager has picked an equally poignant novel to read this month with our new TODAY book club.

Following three women in a Palestinian family, "A Woman Is No Man" by Etaf Rum explores the tension between each woman's expectations and dreams as they raise the next generation of women in the U.S.

"A Woman Is No Man" by Etaf Rum, $18 (originally $27), Amazon

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The author transports readers into an insular immigrant community in Brooklyn, New York, where the highest possible achievement for a woman is to marry and bear sons. But what if she wants more?

"It's about what is acceptable for a woman — how a woman can use her voice," Jenna told TODAY. "And to see these women change, and to see their idea of what they can be change over generations is really the story of so many women."

Bouncing back and forth between newlywed Isra's life in the early '90s and her daughter Deya's life in 2008, the narrative is filled with moments of suspense.

"Deya is trying to figure out who her mother was. Her mother’s passed away — you know that from the very beginning, but who was her mom?" Jenna said. "The story really captivated me. I couldn't put it down. I was obsessed with figuring out the mystery of this family."

The culturally imposed expectations are consistent throughout the story and personified in Isra's mother-in-law Fareeda.

"The way the mother-in-law treats the main character, Isra, is really based on what came before, and slowly as you read, you figure out what her history was like and why she is the way she is," Jenna explained. "Because she has a really storied history full of secrets."

She continued, "I think women will really love it. Even though there are moments of darkness, it ends with a really beautiful light."

To stay involved all month long, be sure to follow us on Instagram (don't forget to tag your photos with the hashtag, #ReadWithJenna) and join our Read With Jenna Facebook group to continue the conversation about "A Woman Is No Man."

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