Cover Image: Hijab Butch Blues

Hijab Butch Blues

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Member Reviews

I got an ARC of this book.

So I loved this book. The writing, the interweaving of Muslim stories, I was here for it. It really was a well written and enjoyable read. Not all of it was happy or fun to read, but I couldn’t stop reading. I loved so much about it.

The biggest draw for me was that H is still not out to her family. This makes this story feel more dangerous to read, it shouldn’t be out there. It felt like a secret that I was being told and that I was being trusted so deeply. I haven’t ever had that feeling reading a memoir before. There is a headiness to getting to know something so personal about someone you don’t know, something they haven’t even admitted to people they love. This book filled that voyeuristic need to know.

The interweaving of stories from the Quran was fascinating. Some of the stories I knew, but with different names. I have not read the Quran yet, so seeing some of the stories gave me a little look in. The story about the ark is one I grew up with, but with drastically different details. In Sunday school, I was never told why he did it, just that he did. Learning more about the story and seeing some overlaps with stories I grew up with was great. The way that H was able to apply them to her life and how she questioned everything was amazing. Seeing someone questioning the scripture and the lessons, but because they have faith and want to really see things is amazing to see. So often there is only the depiction of lost faith, faith because it is what you do, or blind faith.

I wish there was some more on gender in the book. H starts talking about gender, then veers off. It really seems like H uses avoidance as a coping mechanism for things she is not ready to address. She mentioned being called out for this when it came to her sexuality. I am not saying she should be a trans guy (that story was both funny and infuriating), but I wonder where she would end up if she explored that more. This is all to say, I love seeing H figure things out and how it fits into her world and the stories she grew up on. I just wanted a bit more.
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It's going to sound trite, but I'll write it anyway. There are some books you just don't want to finish because you do not want the story, the journey, to end. When I first started Hijab Butch Blues, I ravaged each page, turning voraciously because their storytelling was engaging, funny, delightful. I wanted to learn all I could about this person - who's story is like mine but not like mine. I explored further into the depths of each story, noting each touchstone of pain, faith, and hilarious faux pas, I set the book down more often. Relishing the savory bits of vulnerability and witnessing the re-claiming one's story.

Lamya rich storytelling and weaving of Muslim stories brought questions to my heart and mind about my own queerness, my own feelings and journey as a lesbian. Their writing - sharp, tight, painful, shocking, and honey laden - reminds me of bell hooks, Adrienne Rich, and even at times, Maya Angelou. 

We place so much emphasis on who we are by our faith, our identification, our sexuality, and our experiences. We are molded, forged, and cast into this world with barely a stable path to walk upon. Lamya's words ask us the questions of how we continually find our people / community / tribe; defining who we are by those important aspects of faith and love; and how we lean toward them or shutter ourselves off. All while taking us on a journey of uncovering who we are to find out who we were all along.
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A brilliantly-written, refreshing narrative that deserves to be celebrated and shared. This book challenged my own preconceived stereotypes and notions of religion while providing an intimate snapshot into Lamya's life and experiences. Lamya's writing style is engaging and I immediately did not want to put this book down.
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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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