Cover Image: Hijab Butch Blues

Hijab Butch Blues

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me free access to the advanced digital copy of this book, as this book has already been published, I will not share my review on Netgalley at this time.
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I enjoyed this a lot. It was eye opening and was a catalyst for conversation I never really thought to have. I’m curious to learn more about the author and have since started following her on IG.
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First, thank you to the publishers and to NetGalley for an eArc for this title in exchange for a fair and honest review!

About "Hijab Butch Blues," though... What can I say? It was as close to a perfect read as I've gotten lately. I'm genuinely speechless, but this one is a definite reread for me for sure. The writing is absolutely beautiful, the structure is fantastic, and I can't wait to purchase a copy for myself soon!
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This is one of the best memoirs I’ve read. The weaving of Quran stories and her own life experiences was fascinating. This is also one of the best examples of intersectional feminism I’ve read and from a viewpoint I hadn’t read before. I really appreciated Lamya letting us into her thoughts and telling us her story. I now want to go read other essays and whatever she comes out with next
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An arresting memoir that will definitely be a re-read in the near future. The author's introspection and unfiltered honesty, with the use of Quranic scripture and stories, contributes profoundly to this unique memoir of the queer experience and radical love. I could not get enough of this and have even bought my own physical copy!
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I loved this very important book. It was a sometimes-heartbreaking, deeply honest look at the process of coming out in a culture and society that makes it very, very difficult. It also beautifully and painfully displays the difficulties of coming out to oneself-and the lengthy process this can. be. This is such a wonderful addition to the LGBTQ+ storytelling canon, and I hope to always have a copy on my shelf.
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I first came across Lamya as a poet in Haymaket’s Halal If You Hear Me collection, and I was inherently interested when this came up as an arc. Lamya’s writing and the way she weaves her personal beliefs together with her experience as a butch lesbian and her larger cultural experience. I ended up tearing through this in the space of a few nights, and I can’t wait to see more from her.
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One of the best queer memoirs I have ever read. The structure/format of it is so unique and like nothing I have ever read.
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Wow. This book was just so beautifully written. I deeply related to Lamya's struggle to grow past her abandonment issues and make a life for herself where she views herself as someone valued. The deeply religious parts of this book throughout was really interesting to see, as many LGBT people have religious trauma. It was a bit refreshing to see such a positive, woman-focused badass narrative added to this deep faith. I enjoyed learning more about the Quran and it's stories as well. Lamya is a phenomenal writer with beautiful prose and narrative building abilities. I think the author really put their heart and soul into this book.
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I ended up really loving this!! The structure of the book worked for me as each section referred back to a specific figure from the Quran. So many of the author’s reflections around queerness/faith/family/love resonated and I appreciated the care and insight with which she wrote this book. I appreciate a memoir that is both self and socially-reflexive, and found that the stories Lamya chose to share about their life had a “here is how and why I orient myself in the world this way” and I feel like I could have read so much more of this as the depth of insight kept building throughout the book.

Thank you NetGalley and the publishers for the e-ARC!!
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Hijab Butch Blues is an interesting read about one person’s journey with queerness and religion. I loved it. In this memoir, Lamya writes beautiful reflections on her identity, God, and family that I found relatable and poignant. The narrative arc follows Lamya through different parts of their life as reflected through various women from the Quran. 

Through Lamya’s gorgeous writing, she shows how her relationship with religion gives her the freedom to apply lessons and themes from the Quran to her own life. 

As someone who is personally not religious, I have ignorantly wondered how people are able to reconcile personal identity with religion when those two things seem to be at odds, at least from an outsider’s perspective. 

Lama’s memoir opened my eyes and taught me that my own prejudices against religion have limited my view of the world. Lamya’s memoir is not only a beautiful self-reflection of the author’s journey, but an opportunity for non-religious people to understand a different point of view.
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Lamya H.'s Hijab Butch Blues is flat out one of the best books I've ever read both in terms of content and the quality of its prose. Lamya H., born in south Asia, raised on the Arabian Peninsula, and now living as an immigrant in the U.S., writes under a pseudonym and leaves locations vague to preserve her anonymity, safety, and family connections. Why? Because as a devout Muslim, a lesbian, and an immigrant she's acutely aware of her tenuous state and aware of the lack of spaces where she can simultaneously exercise her faith and live as her true self. 

To those coming from other, less tenuous situations, her need for anonymity may sound exaggerated—but for those who share her experiences and those willing to embrace the truths of her own life as she explains them, her concerns are well-founded. Her prose is both precise and beautiful. She challenges herself with her own thinking every bit as much as she does her readers.

What makes this book so remarkable is Lamya's integrity both as a Muslim trying to create a lens that allows her to see her faith broadly and affirmingly and as a scholar and political thinker aware of the ways colonialism and hierarchies of color shape our world.

The memoir swings, pendulum-like, between her own story and her reflections on the stories at the heart of Islam, stories that shape her understanding of what it means (or can mean) to be female and Muslim. This pairing of personal and theological truths is powerful and respectful of both individual and cultural identity.

If this description makes you think that Hijab Butch Blues will speak to you in remarkable ways, you're right. If this description makes you think that her story may have little to teach you, you're wrong. The carefully documented specifics of her life are what make this book universally essential reading. I'm urging you, if possible, to purchase a copy of this book. Publishers need to see that this is a topic and presentation valued to a wide range of readers. If you can't purchase it, request it now at your local library. We need a world of literature that is as broad as the world in which literature is written.

I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley; the opinions are my own.
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What was the last book that gave you goosebumps?

Not gonna lie, I was a bit nervous to read this book because of the title - Stone Butch Blues was too emotionally heavy for me. But I'm SO GLAD I did because Hijab Butch Blues is fantastic, powerful, and introspective. There are heavy themes, yes, but there is also an undercurrent of queer love, reverence, and hope:

🌈The joy of beautifully-written, queer, nonbinary, butch, hijabi Muslim stories and representation!

🌈Queering the format - each essay draws parallels between Lamya's life and the stories of the Quran. Never seen anything like this before and it's excellent!

🌈Usually the intersection of queer identity and faith translates to big trauma. Instead, Lamya is devout because of their identity, not in spite of it. They see queerness in their religion and it's validating and transformative.

🌈The joy of finding your queer community, especially those that share your identities and lived experiences.

Big thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!
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Thank you to Net Galey and Random House for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.  This memoir takes you on the journey with the author as she navigates her queerness and religion (Islam) and what it means to be a queer Muslim woman.  Accepting herself for who she is but also finding her way with dating, presenting to the family, friends and the world.  I appreciated the author's openness and sharing her thoughts and progression through her experience. Having a glimpse into another person's experience is priceless.
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An astonishingly powerful book about the intersections of queerness, religion, and societal expectations. I'm usually not one for memoirs, but Lamya's story swept me along and I couldn't put it down.

Thank you so much to Random House and NetGalley for the free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Lamyah, like her memoir, is impossible to box in or even summarize. Their story is one of courage and curiosity, and learning to architect their own life path and identity - despite constantly feeling otherized by a world obsessed with definitions and categories. They set the example of learning to accept and express all aspects of who you are - your religion, sexuality, gender, race - all co-existing without reservation or conditions. This is also a story of exhaustion, loneliness, resignation, and the desire to disappear from a world that places the entire burden of embracing these complexities on the individual. 

I love how they did not just automatically reject their religion, instead found their own interpretaton and way to connect with their religion without obfuscating their own identity and values.

The memoir is organized into three parts: 
• Lamya’s productive yet lonely childhood, immersed in Islamic studies and early questions about gender, race, and sexuality. Lamya is striving to find her own personal, radical, and individual connection to stories in Islam. There’s a lingering sense of disconnection and feeling ignored and invisible to their rich Arab friends, and sometimes even family
• Lamya’s journey to the U.S. while giving her the space to explore her own path and identity, was rife with feeling both hypervisible and invisible with their “brown hijabi Muslim body” 
• Lamya’s coming out experience and learning to love and be loved without compromising their authentic self and values; their awakening to the negative effects of internalized white supremacy and homophobia. They learn to be selective on how they interact with people, what they accept, when to fight and when to quit. 

Challenging and poignant, this provocative yet unpretentious memoir evokes the deep loneliness felt when ones own uniqueness and complexities don’t feature in mainstream narratives or stories. Such was the journey of young Lamya H (pseudonym used by the author), who moved away from a South Asian country to an Arab country, and later in life, to the U.S.  Even their assimilation to the American culture is challenging - they face homophobia from Muslims and Islamophobia from queer friends at social gatherings. 

The theme of how it feels to be a “brown” immigrant in the U.S resonated with me on a personal level. Despite attending a “prestigious college” on scholarship, Lamya H recounts how they have to go everywhere with copies of their papers, frequently “selected” for random spot checks on campus and elsewhere when none of her peers were. They were told: “You’re being asked for your ID because you’re Muslim. We’re fighting a war against Muslims right now, so they’re all scary”

Not to mention the numerous bureaucracies and barriers to getting a visa despite her qualifications; They describe their anxiety of getting their visa extended being much more than finding a job. Lamya H describes the experience “specifically designed to be terrifying - I’m hyperaware of myself and my body, hyperaware that I need to choose my outfit so I come across as not just competent and organized, but also well adjusted, physically, healthy, mentally sound”.  The author is so perceptive - it kind of shook me at how much I had glossed over and simply accepted in my own student immigration journey to the U.S. 

I also began reading outside the book to better understand perspectives of women who choose to wear the Hijab, and the distinctions among the various forms in which Muslim women cover themselves: the burka covers the entirety of the face, the niqab covers most of the face but leaves slits for the yes, and the hijab only covers the hair. 

For many this is a personal choice (though separately acknowledging that sadly there are many who are forced to wear the hijab). In this memoir, Lamya H describes her choice to wear a Hijab as part of her identity, her sense of self and feeling that choice being used against her and questioned with fear and prejudice. For many Muslim women, I learned, the hijab affords recognition for “who they are, not what they look like”. Media over the years has objectified and sexualized women’s bodies - video games, super heroine movies or comics, pretty much any movie with a strong lead woman. Instead of being an oppressive tool, the hijab can be a choice to assert their own will over what others get to see. “Modesty has a beauty of its own” (quotes from article by Hanadi Jordan, in the California Aggie)

Growing up in a secular, South Asian environment - we celebrated several religious holidays with equal vigor but this memoir challenged my notions of how religious faith can coexist (and even thrive) with seemingly surface-level differences in our sense of identity: gender, sexuality, norms, social hierarchies and at its core our sense of belonging. I was drawn to this memoir  to learn, engage and explore these layers and reading this memoir was as intimate as conversing with a close friend. 

Highly recommend reading this beautifully written memoir
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I loved this!!! So informational and interesting. I loved Lamya’s interpretation of the Quran. The queer interpretation was really important and her critique and commentary are so relevant
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This was just excellent.  I appreciate the full story from their childhood to moving to tnhe US and the diffrent ways of finding community and themselves and the challenges.  Highly recommend
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This is a beautiful memoir with a wonderful interweaving of stories from the Quran. The author's incorporation of her translations of scripture within her own life and experience gave the book a unique feel that was very satisfying to read. The author's story is certainly compelling enough in itself, but the addition of the stories, familiar to anyone familiar with Abrahamic religions, gives the reader special insight into the author's inner world. This was truly a joy to read.
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I went into this memoir with no expectations, but came out really enjoying it. I really enjoyed learning more about Islam, and the stories that come from the Quran. I also really enjoyed how she was able to tie her experience to her religion, and the stories that came from that I didn’t expect to relate to parts of the story so much. I know the author doesn’t have the ability to come out to her parents, which is a similar situation I’m in, so I was very happy to see a memoir that highlights a lot of the experiences BIPOC LGBTQ people face on a daily basis. 

Overall, this book was really enjoyable and I’m glad I read it.
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