I went to the library to pick up my hold (The Handmaid’s Tale) and ended up taking home a couple of other books (because that’s how that works) including Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik.
It’s billed as the “Muslim Bridget Jones.” I hope I don’t need to tell you what I think about that comparison (I hate it) but it kind of gives you an idea of what we’re talking about here.
Sofia Khan is a 31 year old Muslim woman who works in publishing. She lives at home with her parents and her sister, who is getting ready to be married. Sofia has just broken things off with a man she thought she was going to marry. But when he refused to move out of his parents’ home, Sofia knows there isn’t a future for them. So now she’s trying to figure out what her future does look like – does she want to get married? Will she move out on her own?
And then the editors at work decide that she would be the perfect person to write a book about Muslim dating! So now she’s writing a book about something she’s very conflicted about.
Soon she begins mining her friends’ relationship experiences for stories, signs up for online dating (on a Muslim site) and stressing about writing this book that she isn’t really sure she ever wanted to write in the first place.
I liked this book – I was charmed by Sofia and her family; her parents who were the result of an arranged marriage and spend their time bickering about everything; various aunts and uncles who arrive on scene for celebrations; Sofia’s older sister, Maria, who is everything you could ever hope to have in an older sister and is also obsessed with wedding plans. I also loved Sofia’s friends – they were all so involved in each others’ lives – from showing up to support one becoming a second wife, to pretending it was no big deal that one of them was falling in love with a black man.
Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged is written in a kind of modern diary style, complete with text messages and emails. It isn’t really my favourite style, but it worked in this case. However, it could have done with another editing look – there were some amazing oversights (like Pasiktan instead of Pakistan).
But overall, this was a charming, light, quirky book. It had a lot of elements that I enjoy in this kind of “chick lit” book but the fact that Sofia was a devout Muslim (she wears a hijab, can’t see herself not marrying a Muslim, prays five times a day, doesn’t drink etc) made it so much more interesting. The family dynamics and the complications of her faith in a city that doesn’t always smile on it (she’s called a terrorist a couple of times by other commuters) made for a much more compelling read.
If you’re looking for something easy, something to make you giggle, I’d recommend this one. I’ve added the follow up (The Other Half of Happiness) to my list.
7 thoughts on “Sofia Khan is Not Obliged”
I LOVE this book and am so excited you liked it!
I really enjoyed this book! Aspects of Sofia’s family reminded me of my own (though my Muslim family comes from a different part of South Asia and lives in the US).
This sounds like fun!
Funny you should mention the editing – I’ve been noticing so many spelling errors in books lately! I always think that if I can spot them, surely everyone else can, too.
Wow, that’s quite a typo! Heheh Everything else you’ve said speaks well for the story, but that’s a shame. Any chance they were going for making her more realistic/credible as a character by having her spell poorly? *scrunchy face*
There is a part of me that, every so often, wants to watch the Bridget Jones movies. And I’ve read the books (3 out of 4). Yet, I find Bridget to be one of the most selfish and petty characters I’ve ever read. She’s easily offended, showing she has no perspective. She seems to think she’s a good person deep down, but never gives to others (no, listening to her loud-mouth swearing friend doesn’t count as “giving”). So, for me, the comparison between the books is not a turn on.
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Oh, good, you like this one. I bought this one during a Kindle sale, but then I kinda forgot about it. Time to move it up in my Kindle library. But I definitely hope the ebook doesn’t have those spelling errors, because they will drive me nuts!