Cover Image: Hijab Butch Blues

Hijab Butch Blues

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Member Reviews

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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Thank you for the advanced copy of this book! I will be posting my review on social media, to include Instagram, Amazon, Goodreads, and Instagram!
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From their childhood in South Asia and the Middle East through their young adulthood in the U.S., Lamya H struggled to reconcile their queerness with their Muslim faith. But stories in the Quran have given them many ways to explore their identity, beliefs, and communities. In these essays, Lamya H ties stories from their life to characters in the Quran in thought-provoking and life-affirming ways. Lamya's writing includes moving and meaningful lessons on friendship, love, and fitting in that will speak to readers of all sexualities and religions. I'll be thinking about this book for a long time to come.
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This book was not at all what I expected. Instead o a book about being gay and Muslim and the hatred to ensue, Hijab Butch Blues was an emotional charged book about a young Muslim trying to reconcile her gayness with Islam. She was determined that the two things should exist together and used the Quran and many interpretations of it along with tarifs and surahs to find her way. Her religion helped her accept herself, her friends, and lose her need to disappear.

Lamya found a way to live as a gay women, protected in some areas of her life while being out in other areas. She seemed to possess an innate sense of who she should be at certain times. This sense allowed her to find happiness, acceptance, and remain a devout Muslim.

I have to say I learned more about Islam in this book, but all references were used by the author to explain how she found her way and obtained the reconciliation she desired.
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This memoir is authentic, wonderfully written, and so special. Reading about a queer person who resonated with a religious text and found themselves a supportive faith community was such a beautiful experience. Lamya H maintains a voice that is so real and poignant throughout, this memoir read like a conversation with a loved one sharing their wisdom they’ve gained through their experiences.
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This book is really good. The copycat title made me expect that the writing wouldn't be good, that it would be something people mainly read for the unusual story. But I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong. I liked Lamya a lot and appreciated both her reflections on her life and the ways she is inspired by the stories of the Quran. I am going to be recommending this one to friends.
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Hope-filled and relatable, Lamya connects stories from the Qur'an to lessons she's learned through her own life experiences as a queer Muslim immigrant. Growing up Christian, I could relate to the stories found in both religious traditions, but this gave me the opportunity to look at them through a different lens, and I found myself interested in studying the Qur'an more thoroughly.

Thank you, NetGalley, for the ARC.
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Hijabi Butch Blues is a memoir about a queer Muslim hijabi, Lamya, in a coming-of-age story that is told alongside stories from the Quran. 

Hijabi Butch Blues follows Lamya's life as they navigate an Islamphobic, racist, transphobic, and homophobic world while finding out how to love themselves and others around them. The novel follows Lamya's life from her childhood in South Asia to moving to America for college and Lamya's own navigation of these differences. Throughout their life, Lamya uses the Quran to relate to their life and find answers for different challenges they face.

As someone who is a fan of memoirs, I found this to be very unique and interesting. Being told alongside the Quran was such an effective way to show how heavily religion influences Lamya's life and how everyone can interpret religious texts in their own way. The personal perspective of being Muslim, darker skinned, and queer in America was an insight on the injustices many people face but in a way that came to acceptance and finding one's place and people among these injustices. My one critique would be the timeline of this novel in that it was not chronological-- while I found it interesting, it was hard to follow and often left you unsatisfied because many problems were not resolved but rather mentioned at another time off-handedly.
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Thank you, Random House Publishing Group - Random House, The Dial Press, for allowing me to read Hijab Butch Blues early!

My eyes got teary reading this memoir. I don't read biographies usually, but this one had something special that caught my eye and I was right. I loved it.
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As someone who was raised with a Christian background, despite ending up wiccan, I am amazed, probably rather naively, how many of the tsories of the Koran are also stories in the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testiment. These are stories most people of Christian background would recognize, such as Joseph and his coat of many colors, and Noah and his arc. Except, they have different names in the Koran, and so at first, when Lamya brings them up to explain something that is happening in her life, I dont’ recognize who she is talking about, until the story unfolds, and then I say, oh, she is talking about Jonah and the Whale, only here he is known as Yunus.
And so the author uses prophets from the Koran to explain how things are with her life. The reason she brings Yunus up is because she at first things he has run away, to be thrown into the sea and swallowed by a whale. But her friends explain that no, he just left to get a break. He didn’t run away. ANd then she explains that is what Lamya has done with her life. Sometimes you just have to retreat.
This is an amazing memoir, looking back on how she came out, how she gained friends, how she learned to live in America. And interwoven with stories from the Koran to relate how life is similar and different. 
And because the three religions spring from the same roots, we get stories that are the same, but different.  We still get Moses freeing the Jews, but it is told with a different name, Musa, and the story is slightly different, but the red sea still parts.
Very accessible story. Very engaging memoir. Thoroughly kept me engaged.

<em>Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.</em>
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In this beautifully written memoir, you will find a meticulously woven tapestry of warm childhood memories, personal growth and coming of age intertwined with a relatable read of stories in the Quran.  The author's voice is clear and gives a portrait of a complex, self-conscious, strong and compassionate person.  Near the end of the book is a valuable analogy of the whale that sheltered the prophet Yonus and about picking one's fights as holding space to protect oneself:

"A whale that allows me to keep fighting, to fight with my writing. A whale that allows me to save my energy for curious, kind dialogue and to support those I love -- instead of fighting to fend off racists, sexists, homophobes, transphobes, Islamophobes who could look up where I live, where I work, who and what I hold dear."

She describes a journey to hold onto her family of origin by holding onto her religious values and creating her own chosen tribe and family who reflect back her integrity as a queer person.  I wasn't able to put this book down once I picked it up -- and look forward to more from Lamya H.
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I adored this book.  It's an immigrant story, a woman's personal tale of discovery, a queer biography, a woman's religious experience story, so many interesting things and I wanted to know this person from the book's description alone.  I don't know much about the Muslim religion.  I grew up in a country where my other closest religion was Hinduism.  While I knew some stories from Muslim tradition since Islam was the popular third religion in my country I had no Muslim relatives like I did Hindu relatives and there were no television shows about the Muslim religion while I watched The Ramayana and The Mahabharat on television.  Lamya is a young woman growing up in a strict Muslim country where her mother is not allowed to drive, and the lives of women are severely restrictive, she is inquisitive, a bit of a tomboy, class clown and discovering that she's attracted to women.  This will not work for her within her society and when she gets an opportunity to come to the United States as a student her being Muslim, living a life where she takes her religion seriously and embraces it as part of her identity, the conflicts that arise because she's a lesbian and finding spaces where she can be feminist, Muslim, a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, her status as an immigrant there is so much intersectionality here.  I had never read a book like this one and am happy that I did because there is so much richness in learning about other people's experiences and it really made me want to read the Quran because there's so much beauty in the way the stories from the Quran are written about I just might give it a read.
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