Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
Sofia Khan is single and ready to mingle, all in the name of her forthcoming Muslim dating book. Sofia is a Pakistani, hijabi Muslim working in the publishing industry. Age thirty and, to her parent’s exasperation, unmarried, Sofia finds herself writing a Muslim dating guide at the point in her life where she’s very much crossed it off forever.
Sofia Khan is neither a tragedy or a issues book which most books around Muslims tend to be about. Which I absolutely commend this book on, but this book just sits right on the middle for me. I didn’t actually hate it, but I didn’t love it either. I think what I liked about this book was how unlikeable Sofia was to me. She’s a witty protagonist who makes poor, poor decisions. Who finds herself in the worst situations that she works well to get out of. I liked how light-hearted it all was, yet critical of a culture that places women’s value on marriage. The moments of culture-clash were relatable and hilarious especially in her workplace which Sofia called ‘the most white-centric, middle-class industry there is‘, and she’s not wrong.
I really enjoyed the way the book lays out, with its diary-like entries and text message. It’s somewhat choppy as some points, but Sofia’s voice really comes through this way. I loved the family dynamics and the customs that I literally see every day.
I was certainly thrown off by the central romance, mainly because I hadn’t expected that to come. I was so fixed on a particular part that I hadn’t realised it was going in a completely opposite way. The surprise in the final pages was actually quite interesting. It literally took me until the last line to realise what was happening.
I think what I actually dispised about this book a lot was the microaggressions. And, in my opinion, it really ruined the book for me. Sinead @ Huntress of Diverse Book put it to words more easily than I could ever, with specific examples that didn’t sit well with me either. She’s also quite hypocritical and narcissistic in a way that she doesn’t seem to realise and I was hoping it would kick in when she recognises the double standards that she holds.
Like Sofia’s mother, and her innocently asking ‘What is this click?’, Sofia Khan is not Obliged merely didn’t click with me. But I am interested in reading its sequel because of that last chapter actually surprised me.
Content warning: colourism, ableist language, fatantagonistic language, aceantagonistic language, aroantagonistic language. (Credit to Sinead) Death of a parent. (more to be added)