Cover Image: Hijab Butch Blues

Hijab Butch Blues

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Member Reviews

TW/CW: Racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, domestic abuse, talk of suicide

REVIEW: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and am voluntarily writing an honest review.

Hijab Butch Blues is a memoir that is the story of a Southeast Asian Muslim who has to navigate the world between her religion and her queerness.

This is a good book. It made me think in new ways and gave a perspective that isn’t heard from very often. The ways she wove together parts of the Quran with her life was interesting and gave a lot of insight into how she was feeling. I’m not a very religious person myself, but I still found this somewhat captivating.

My one problem with this book was that it jumped around a lot and was sometimes choppy. It isn’t told in an linear fashion and it’s sometimes difficult to understand what came first, or how old she is, or exactly what is going on.

Nonetheless, this was a good book, and I would definitely recommend it, especially to people of (any) faith.
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Thanks Netgalley for allowing me to read this book. Lamya is a smart person who is shocked to discover that she is gay. She attempts to hide it from everyone. Thus book is a coming of age story that is very honest in its story telling.
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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I will start by saying that this is potentially one of my top reads this year. I love the way that Lamya H has developed and put together this memoir. I think that the stories not being chronological worked very well for this, and the entire book was formatted in a way that felt intentional and worked well to tell the author's story. 

I loved that the stories from the Lamya H's life were interspersed with stories from the Qur’an. Seeing the way the author looks at these stories, how they fit within her own life, as well as how interpretations and feelings towards them can change, was fantastic. 

I think that very often, for myself at least, if I see a story or memoir that brings up the topic of the dichotomy between religion and queerness, it tends to be with a Christian lens. I am always excited when I see stories that are not the mainstream, generally white Christian perspective, and I am glad to see more works being seen that tell more of the stories that people have. 

I would absolutely recommend this book, and I also plan to pre-order as well.
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One of Hijab Butch Blues's strengths is its subtlety. Lamya's story is doesn't have a big arc. Her deepening understanding of her identities and with whom she's willing to share them is the central plot point. Her unfolding of self is told alongside Quran parables. For me, it dragged a bit. Maybe I expected too much from such a good title. Your mileage may vary!
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As I read this, it felt like having an in-depth conversation with Lamya. Her perspective is an important one, and I think a lot of people could benefit from reading her story. This book is so much about self-love and self-acceptance, as the author discusses working through what it meant and means for her to be a queer Muslim woman in the world today. I look forward to reading more from her!
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I really enjoyed Hijab Butch Blues, it was a classic story of never quite fitting in. I liked the approach of using Quran chapters interspersed in the book. I appreciated the author presenting the struggle of being too religious for some, yet too queer for those who are religious.
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I’m so glad I read this amazing book! I loved the author’s writing style. I really liked how the author compared the different stages of her life to different prophets in the Koran. Though I’m not Muslim, as a Catholic, I had some background knowledge on some of the prophets. These parts of the book were insightful and informative. I was able to learn more about the Islamic religion and the Koran as well as the author’s life. 
The author’s life is filled with great sadness. Yet, at the same time, it seems like it is filled with such joy and accomplishment. I could quickly perceive that the author is a bright, well-educated woman. The author also appears to be a woman of great inner strength and fortitude. I found myself admiring the author more and more each page of her book. 
I hope that the author finds the happiness and peace. I sincerely hope that the author will be accepted by her family and loved ones, which she rightly deserves.
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Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy of HIJAB BUTCH BLUES by Lamya H. I loved the sincerity in this memoir, and the dichotomy of Lamya being too religious and hijab-wearing for some people, and then too queer and liberal for others. I related to their journey of wanting to align their faith, absent of the culture surrounding it, with their desire to fight for those who are oppressed and marginalized. I also enjoyed how she centered the book around stories from the Quran—many of which are also in the Bible, but had a different perspective to them in the Quran and I liked learning about that. It really displayed how much her faith means to her, even if she's struggled to find a place where she can completely be herself as a queer Muslim and hasn't been able to come out to her family who live in an Arabic country and have almost no context for her lifestyle. I flew through this book and found Lamya's voice so compelling and I hope we get more from them in the future.
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Thank you NetGalley for this advance reader copy of Hijab Butch Blues. 

It was a true gift to be introduced to Lamya H's unique and essential voice through her debut memoir. As a queer woman, I was captivated immediately by Lamya's experience as a queer Muslim growing up in an Arab nation, then making her home in the United States. I loved how Lamya weaved queerness with Muslimness, gender with family, immigrant-ness with studenthood and then professional life. Lamya's journey is their own, but the way the reader is walked through each unique struggle and situation with a gentle journey through Koran studies and stories makes each experience feel almost universal. At least in the queer space. Lamya is definitely an essential voice for the LGBTQ+ community and I am honored to have been introduced to their work.
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This is a gorgeous memoir that I could not put down. It’s not told in chronological order and feels like a series of connected essays. Also, there are some details about places and people’s names that have either been changed or removed, and that seems to be to protect the author. Each chapter focuses on one figure from the Quran and the author makes comparisons between that part of the Quran and their own life and queer Muslim identity. Through the chapters, you get to see moments such as coming out to yourself and to other people, navigating relationship with religion as a queer person, moving to a new country, facing racism in a variety of ways, feeling alone in a crowded room, and so on. There are some heartbreaking parts of this memoir but it overall is quite hopeful in tone and I loved how it was constructed. I enjoyed the whole thing and cannot recommend it highly enough.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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I loved this book -- could not put it down! I enjoyed Lamya H's writing style in this coming-of-age memoir about their experience growing up between countries as a Muslim immigrant and eventually landing in the United States where they attempt to figure out who they are and where they fit in with American society (as well as various subcultures). It serves not just as an insight into their lives, but also a critique of various societal beliefs, misconceptions, and structures of power. While they make it clear the importance of Islam to them in their life, I particularly enjoyed how they used stories from the Quran throughout the book and connected them to their experience at that particular moment in time in their lives, further illustrating the guiding importance of the religion to them. The book also makes an impact in the visibility of queer, gender-nonconforming Muslim immigrants in the United States. My only critique is that I think the cover, including the font style, does not do the book justice. A more captivating cover that pulls you in like the text does would be better suited. Overall, I highly recommend this book, which was such a pleasure to read.
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I got a netgalley arc of this and starting it i was terrified of it being blasphemous because? I, too, am Muslim. But honestly going through it i could see how deeply the author felt about everything, i don't generally like reading memoirs but having quran stories recited back to me, stories i grew up with, but with a newer perspective, it was honestly a lovely experience. this is definitely a yes from me, it tackles Islamophobia, homophobia and alot of things in between. Truly a breath of fresh air please do read it if you can.
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A memoir awash with deep feelings about the complicated intersections of faith, race, queerness, family, and community. The last chapter had me welling up. Sitting on a lot of complicated feelings after this one that are going to stay in my head for a while.
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I really enjoyed this memoir that shows just how religious texts can be read in a multiplicity of ways and in ways that are more inclusive that many think. Lamya H's writing is confident and clear, and she makes reading about her journey feel like a conversation. She depicts the fragile lines present when you live multiple lives, and the fear of losing one community when you find another; the difficulty of handling family and friends when you're scared to offend either and have them reject you; and the joy of finding support in community and belief. I'd love to see this book in every high school, being read by parent-offspring book groups, and by everyone who thinks they know what Islam is and isn't.
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When i was maybe 25 pages into this book, i realized that the writing style was very familiar, and just knew that i had read work by this author on Autostraddle. I checked, and i was correct--her writing is so unique and her style so specific that i could place her even in a very different context. 

I really appreciated this memoir, though i don't think the parallels to Stone Butch Blues were as direct as i would have expected from the titles. I found myself really slowing to engage with the interpretations of stories from the Quran, and loved how the memoir was structured by theme in those ways. I am generally interested in people being chronological and linear, but in a memoir that is as thematic as this one it can work for me. 

I'm not sure this book would be great for high schools, but i am not sure it wouldn't, either. It is not explicit and could be a good fit for a library.
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Thank you NetGalley and the publisher to grant me an ARC for this book.

I am never a fan of memoir but this book gave me a pleasant first time I cried. This book taught me things that I didn't know I needed to know, things that were left unasked or unspoken because I thought it was taboo, things that only stayed in the back of my mind because I was scared someone might judge me for asking such an issue. This book became my friend because it offered so many stuff that I was too scared to say it out loud. 

I can't exactly write down how amazing this book is, but I want to make sure that I genuinely adore this book. Some parts are thought-provoking that I want to read it repeatedly so I grasp the whole idea, some parts hit close to home that I need to step back for a while to breathe.

This book makes me feel like I have a friend. I cannot wait for it to be released so I can purchase it and kiss it because I love it that much.
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Nonfiction has never been my genre, but this book has changed my mind.

Stories from the Quran are interwoven with Lamya's life story, from early childhood to adulthood, which I found to be particularly moving. The writing style itself was beautiful, and does no sugarcoating of the racism, Islamophobia, and homophobia that Lamya goes through in her life. I learned much more about Islam through this read, but I especially saw more of how Lamya's Muslim faith intersected with her queerness. 

This was a five star read, and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone who lives in today's day and age.
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Wow. I've read 127 books this year, and this is in the top four. 

Do you think you'd have nothing in common with a memoir titled <i>Hijab Butch Blues</i>? Same here. I'm not brown, female, Muslim, queer, a New Yorker, an immigrant to the US, or good at organic chemistry. I'm not even good at basic chemistry. But I was drawn into her life, almost welcomed, by the graceful and clear writing. She didn't talk down to the reader, but everything was still clear, despite quite a bit of cultural and religious terminology in Arabic. The only thing I looked up was "suhoor", and I was glad to a little learning on my own. That is the theme of the book, in a sense, a life informed by study and discussion and learning.

Along the way, I learned a lot about the Quran and the practice of Islam. I was starting from nearly zero knowledge, but now I have one good example of how it is and isn't similar to Christian practice.

If this book seems like it wouldn't appeal to you, give it a try anyway.

The other top books this year? [book:Eleanor & Park|15745753], [book:The Light Brigade|40523931], and [book:An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943|541920] (Pulitzer Prize winner).
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Hijab Butch Blues covers a swath of complex of territory. From islamophobia to transphobia to found family to immigration policies there is a lot to unpack in this story. 

Lamya is a queer, Muslim woman who shares her life through the pages of this memoir. Interspersed with  contemplative musings about the Quran the story focuses on Lamya's navigation of spaces previously considered forbidden in the country she grew up in. This book is about finding yourself and your people. 

A few things to note - this book is not told chronologically and there are a few references that feel purposely omitted for the privacy of the author. In the latter half of the book every other chapter is a recap of a relevant story in the Quran. The interweaving of these stories into Lamya's story was particularly impressive. 

The underlying theme of the book is one of hope - hope for self, hope for others, and hope for a more accepting world. 

ARC provided via NetGalley
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What an honor it is that Lamya H shared their story with us in this beautiful and vulnerable memoir. She is a gifted storyteller, bringing to life numerous friends, family members, and bad dates alongside figures from the Quran. Lamya's journey navigating their faith and queerness resonated strongly with me, particularly her complex relationship with her family and community. Their writing style is both sharp and warm, witty and earnest. Hijab Butch Blues was a delight to read and I already want more!
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