[ EPUB ] ✺ You Exist Too Much Author Zaina Arafat – Fastfood-pos-provider.info
For fans of Garth Greenwell and Weike Wang, You Exist Too Much is a startling debut novel of desire and doubleness following the life of a young Palestinian American woman caught between cultural, religious, and sexual identities. Before being sent an arc for this book i remember coming across it and being excited for the lgbt pali representation Not even halfway through and this book manages to strike every single way to disrespect sexuality and mental illness, brimming with stereotypes and unrealistic representations This is extremely harmful towards bisexuals specifically, making them labeled as love addicts going around falling in love with every person they meet and getting obsessed with them, jumping from a person to another Adding to the fact the main character was the most annoying thing i read about since clary fairchild from tmi, and the obnoxious writing like what does she gives golden retriever warmth supposed to be this book would be impossible to finish Authors, please understand the next time you write about a bi character that Bisexuals are not cheaters.Bisexuals are not love addicts or sex addicts.Shitty people are cheaters Sex addiction is a condition to be handled not part of your sexual orientation. YOU EXIST TOO MUCH is a novel following an unnamed narrator back and forth through time, across the United States and the Middle East Our narrator is a Palestinian American queer woman grappling with a love addiction, a complex relationship with her mother, and countless destructive relationships The novel follows her as she goes into treatment for love addiction I can see her being an unlikeable character for sure, but I was helplessly rooting for her to face her demons, set boundaries with her mother, and develop a healthy relationship to intimacy.I really enjoyed this book It was readable, engaging, and easy to get lost in something I needed Queer literature so often explores topics of shame around sexuality the desire for family acceptance, but I rarely get tired of reading them and this brought a fresh perspective since I haven t read a lot of queer Arab literature.I read a negative review on Goodreads that critiqued this book for its portrayal of bisexuality There are SO many harmful tropes about bisexuals as devious, promiscuous cheaters, etc, and the main character certainly is unfaithful struggles w commitment However I felt like the novel wasn t falling into a trope bc the author fully fleshed out the depth behind our protagonist s flawed relationship with her mother, how that showed up in her intimate relationships, and her desire to correct that I m open to other perspective on this there s a lot to unpack in this book.Thank you to the publisher for the free book in exchange for an honest review I genuinely enjoyed this recommend preordering it before it comes out in June This sounds both heartbreaking and seriously amazing There is a lot going on in this book The unnamed narrator is Palestinian American and she spends her summers with family in Amman, Jordan and in Nablus, on the West Bank Her parents are immigrants, her mother is unpredictable and possibly mentally ill She s bisexual and struggles with various self destructive behaviors She s not good at relationships, but needs to be in one As I said, it s a lot for a single novel and it seems to be part of a slow change in publishing where characters can be than one thing outside of the routine, and are no longer expected to be representative of anything but their own complex selves Like actual people, in other words The novels opens with an unsettling experience in Bethlehem, when the narrator is twelve While walking around the old city, she is yelled at by a group of men for wearing shorts The thing that throws her into turmoil isn t the men s reactions to her, but her mother s reactions As the novel progresses, fear of her mother s reactions to her take up an out sized part of the narrator s life, even when she s an adult, living and working in a different city As the narrator watches herself sabotage her relationship with her girlfriend, she s forced to come to terms with the harmfulness of her behaviors, and how most of the harm done is to herself The narrator is not someone I d enjoy knowing in real life, but I loved spending time with her in the pages of a book I like characters who can t help but blow up their own lives and she was engaging, intelligent and always had something going on The glimpses of life Palestinian life were fascinating. Sometimes I read a book and I rush to write a review, other times I have to let the story sink in before I feel ready to write down my thoughts You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat was one of the latter, and I have found myself thinking about it after finishing than I did while reading This book reads like a memoir than a novel, content, style, and structure wise, and personally I became invested once I decided to read it as a memoir rather than a novel.The book follows the thoughts of one main, unnamed, protagonist a Palestinian American woman navigating her way through life She has a fraught relationship with a mother who seems to be quite emotionally abusive She also seems to have some difficulty accepting her bisexuality, although that seems to stem from her mother s disapproval rather than her own personal feelings She has relationships with men and women, on whom she cheats, both physically and emotionally, and we follow her as she checks into rehab for sex addiction, and through the aftermath of that stay The story jumps back and forth abruptly between the present, and snippets of the past summers spent in Palestine with family, moments in past relationships, scenes with her mother In a way the plot often reads like a stream of consciousness, a type of modern coming of age that discusses family, roots, love, and choices in a very open, and relatable way Zaina Arafat writes really beautifully, and the narrative flows well, even if the time hops are quite abrupt at times I personally enjoyed watching the narrator s self awareness grow, and seeing how she dealt with it.Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review. On A Hot Day In Bethlehem, A Year Old Palestinian American Girl Is Yelled At By A Group Of Men Outside The Church Of The Nativity She Has Exposed Her Legs In A Biblical City, An Act They Deem Forbidden, And Their Judgement Will Echo On Through Her Adolescence When Our Narrator Finally Admits To Her Mother That She Is Queer, Her Mother S Response Only Intensifies A Sense Of Shame You Exist Too Much, She Tells Her DaughterTold In Vignettes That Flash Between The US And The Middle East From New York To Jordan, Lebanon, And Palestine Zaina Arafat S Debut Novel Traces Her Protagonist S Progress From Blushing Teen To Sought After DJ And Aspiring Writer In Brooklyn, She Moves Into An Apartment With Her First Serious Girlfriend And Tries To Content Herself With Their Comfortable Relationship But Soon Her Longings, So Closely Hidden During Her Teenage Years, Explode Out Into Reckless Romantic Encounters And Obsessions With Other People Her Desire To Thwart Her Own Destructive Impulses Will Eventually Lead Her To The Ledge, An Unconventional Treatment Center That Identifies Her Affliction As Love Addiction In This Strange, Enclosed Society She Will Start To Consider The Unnerving Similarities Between Her Own Internal Traumas And Divisions And Those Of The Places That Have Formed HerOpening Up The Fantasies And Desires Of One Young Woman Caught Between Cultural, Religious, And Sexual Identities, You Exist Too Much Is A Captivating Story Charting Two Of Our Most Intense Longings For Love, And A Place To Call Home I can t help but feel, as a queer bi pansexual Palestinian myself, that this is a book I and so many in my community, I suspect have needed for a long, long time While Arafat s narrator does a good job at making the Palestinian aspects of this narrative accessible to those outside of our community, it never detracts from the novel or comes off as over explanatory this is a book for us, yes, though others are not excluded from the convo Here is a representation of diasporic queerness, trauma, mental illness, and mother child relations that really strikes home for me a representation that is unafraid to lean into uncomfortable, even contradictory, elements and confront conversations some of us may be running from I loved the journey Arafat s narrator took me on, in all her cringe moments and imperfections Reading You Exist Too Much made me think of something Carmen Maria Machado touched on in In The Dream House, about how this expectation of neat, morally pure, and sympathetic queer characters under insert so many intersecting forms of normative gaze is, itself, queerphobic and dehumanizing I love that Arafat has given us an intimate look at a messy diasporic main character yes, one who cheats and does terrible things often because this character and their trauma needed to exist as such within the universe familial relations of the book, and over, this trauma is delved into and unpacked, as the narrator s actions are held accountable, in a very tangible and interesting way In summary, I feel not only Seen by many parts of this book, but Understood On that note alone, this book will always have a special place in my heart I m so grateful that it exists I m gonna be thinking about these lines from the penultimate chapter for a while From you, I expect out of a story about love, she d written in a response Tell us about something that left you shattered. This sounded really intriguing Plus it checked so many of the boxes For one thing, great for international reading, first experience with a Palestinian author, the book is set mostly in US where the author is now based with prolonged visits to the Middle East Plus the protagonist is queer, bisexual to be specific, which creates for all sorts of cultural stereotype clashes So anyway, there were certain expectations going in and at fist the book absolutely delivered And then, as it went on, it got ever so slightly tiresome and I blame it on the main character Of course, she can t help it, she s written that way, but the first person narrative is so immersive that the book seems to be deliberately structured to bypass the author and so you have the protagonist s story from early age to about 30 told very much in jumping around confessionals and vignettes Messed up from the early age by the distant withholding father and an aggressively emotional mother, we meet her in her mid 20s as promiscuous DJing Brooklynite doing all she can to sabotage her live in relationship Finally the person leaves her, which brings on some contemplation, which results in seeking treatment for love addiction Yes, love addiction, first world all the way, unusual for a first generation immigrants, but this one is thoroughly Americanized And so the novel takes you through rehab and post rehab affairs until the protagonist finally settles within herself enough So essentially the challenging crippling mother daughter relationship leads to looking for love in all the wrong places Reductive yes Ok, but that s how it is, though There s this obsessive need for a connection, followed by the inability to take care of it And having just watched the second season of you, one can t help but notice the parallels Both characters are craving a perfect connection to make up for early childhood disappointments, both pursue ideals, both stumble when reality comes through the perfect ideal, but essentially both are looking for love The main difference is that one the strangely compelling one is willing to kill for it, the other one is just playing the field, both fields in fact, like a greedy bisexual that she is And ok, sure, this will sound terribly judgmental, but her sexuality is a mystery to me, the whatever whenever thing just to tune out the noise, the suddenness of her choices is too much The romance with the Argentinian being the especially unbelievable one, conducted against all sound judgement almost immediately after rehab Basically, the character takes almost inexplicable dramatic romantic leaps that are, sadly, in a way her main defining characteristic That and the mommy thing Both are to an extent cultural, certainly, and as such are very interesting to something not familiar with the culture, but after a while you re just stuck with the character who is very limited Despite the seemingly unlimited choices for connection, she s mainly defined by toxic maternal love and its various codependences and a penchant for promiscuity It s so one note, you kind of want for her And in the end, there are barely any lessons learned Yes, she is in a yet another relationship and yes this one shows promise of genuineness, but it seems like the protagonist hasn t really changed that much and might revert back tom her old self at any moment Now thinking about it, it s probably reflects well on the book for me to have such personal opinions about its main character, shows a certain level of engagement at the very least, but it also shows a certain level of frustration Maybe just too much time spent with someone I m not sure I really liked or understood Oh well, at least it s been real as the kids say Interesting too The writing itself was very good, especially for a debut Glad I read this, frustrations aside Thanks Netgalley. I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.This was absolutely lovely I couldn t put it down The prose is so immersive you just get sucked into the story and can t leave The vignettes move slowly, but they layer on each other so beautifully to give you the sensation of when you wake up from a vivid dream and can t shake it for the rest of the day The description of border checkpoints and the cruelty of Israeli occupation is so sharply rendered, and adds so much depth to the book as the narrator grapples with how the trauma her Palestinian mother has endured manifests in their relationship I m so glad this book exists.