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HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE Full Review This is a book I don t think I would have come across or been interested in but my friend who was reading it suggested I do too because of how funny it is and she was kind enough to borrow me her copy She did not lie I laughed so hard while reading this and sometimes too much that it led to crying.This book is about Sofia, a 30 year old Pakistani Muslim who is writing a book about Muslim dating She uses herself, her family members and friends lives as inspiration for the book Full Review This is a book I don t think I would have come across or been interested in but my friend who was reading it suggested I do too because of how funny it is and she was kind enough to borrow me her copy She did not lie I laughed so hard while reading this and sometimes too much that it led to crying.This book is about Sofia, a 30 year old Pakistani Muslim who is writing a book about Muslim dating She uses herself, her family members and friends lives as inspiration for the book From her POV, we get a glimpse into her world as a hijabi I love how light funny the book is especially coming from a hijabi It shows people that they arethan their religion and they have similar problems as others who might not be Muslims I honestly could relate to her on some things For instance, a culture obsessed with women getting married as soon as possible that s my culture alright She also talks about things such as not drinking, abstinence from premarital sex and all around being modest again, my culture religion but not in a judgemental way,as a way of life She also talks about things that I could not relate to but were concepts I have heard of before so it was nice reading a detailed perspective on those, such as a married woman living with her in laws This book starts with Sofia breaking up with her boyfriend because he wanted to have a hole in the wall between two houses after they get married, theirs and his parents, which was a no go for Sofia because she does not want to live with her in laws The book also discusses polygamous marriage and negative viewed things such as a divorced woman and marrying dating someone from another race What I liked about the book is that it discusses the issues in a funny unserious way which made it interesting to read.The book also discusses the notion of dating as a hijabi and it was nice seeing a halal acceptable Muslim relationship that was portrayed in a cute, funny way Just because there are restrictions does not make it any less interesting I found the main love story to be so cute and I shipped them together I think the only negative thing was that I felt that on some pages, nothing was really happening and the book could have been a little bit shorter, but I enjoyed it overall You do not have to be Muslim to enjoy this obviously because I am not and Its an easy cute read I recommend this if you re interested in a non mainstream love story culture If I were to count the number of times I ve seen myself represented in fiction, it would take nothan 60 seconds You d say I m lying considering the fact that Muslims are mentioned so often in media However, literature that is truly representative of Muslims, are few and far between.Ayisha Malik s debut follows Sofia Khan, a Hijabi Muslim and a first generation immigrant from Pakistan living in London and working in the book publishing industry Just bouncing back from a broken engagement If I were to count the number of times I ve seen myself represented in fiction, it would take nothan 60 seconds You d say I m lying considering the fact that Muslims are mentioned so often in media However, literature that is truly representative of Muslims, are few and far between.Ayisha Malik s debut follows Sofia Khan, a Hijabi Muslim and a first generation immigrant from Pakistan living in London and working in the book publishing industry Just bouncing back from a broken engagement with a man, Sofia is ready to swear off men Except, she accidentally pitches a book about Muslims dating to her publicity director Armed with nothing but a spankin new shaadi.com profile for research, of course , Sofia throws herself hijab first into the Muslim blind dating scene.What follows is a heartwarming, authentic tale of a young Muslim woman in a race against time as she attempts to finish her book and maybe, just maybe find love.One of my favorite things about the novel is Sofia Khan Malik s portrayal of a hijabi was so refreshing and accurate When most people view a hijabi they see two things, a possible terrorist or a victim of oppression Sofia Khan is neither She prays five times a day, seeks solace in God, abstains from alcohol pre marital sex and fasts in Ramadan She chooses to wear the hijab But she s no angel.I was talking to fellow blogger and hijabi, Sabeena who coined HijabNotAHalo, an apt hashtag really some time back about how most people including Muslims hold us hijabis to impossible standards of behavior From sneaking the occasional fag to swearing, I loved Sofia s little flaws She s strong willed, stubborn and often makes poor decisions with good intentions She s independent, witty and an incredible friend Most importantly, she s human And as a reader, you can t help but love Sofia Khan.Muslim women are constantly underestimated but I can attest to the fact that they are some of craziest and funniest people I thought that Malik does a brilliant job in capturing just how incredible we are Sofia Khan is Not Obliged aces the Bechdel test I m a feminist through and through and believe in supporting and uplifting women My friendships in real life and online are all founded on mutual, unfailing support systems and because of this I love seeing female relationships portrayed positively in fiction Most female friendships in fiction are either token friendships or are negatively portrayed but Sofia s friends are all shown as incredibly supportive women I loved the fact that Sofia s BFFs Hannah, Suj and Fozia were well fleshed out characters with their own independent story arcs They all had distinctly different personalities reflecting the fact that Muslim women are not a monolith The book also highlights the strong familial relationships that are common in Desi families Very, very heartwarming.There s a lot of issues within our own communities like colorism, racism especially towards Black people It takes a lot of courage to confront and address these prejudice issues and I think Malik does this brilliantly through her spunky heroine She even points out that publishing is the most white centric, middle class industry The West has a LOT of misconceptions about Muslims Misconceptions that often cost us our lives One day while commuting, a bigot calls Sofia a terrorist during her commute It takes a minute for her realise that she was just racially abused First comes the disbelief and then she tells herself that it shouldn t affect her so much because it s just a few flimsy words But then comes almost comical rage.I stared at the ground and looked at my shoes my lovely, teal, snakeskin, peep toes which, by the way, are offset perfectly by my coral scarf I was like, hang on I don t look like a terrorist Oi, I shouted Terrorists don t wear vintage shoes, you ignorant wanker The magic is in the details Whenever Sofia finds herself lost and second guessing her decisions, she performs the Istikhara prayer Muslims when faced with difficult decisions often seek guidance from Allah by performing this prayer During her sister s wedding, the entire house is decked in fairy lights and Sofia quips about how the only place free of fairy lights is the washroom We, Desis do love our fairy lights From ranting about the hopelessness of brown men and worrying about the length of our tops to bemoaning her disastrous culinary skills and dodging nosy Rishta aunties, Sofia kept me giggling page after page It s these seemingly small details that made this whole book a special experience for me It was like reading my entire life As a 20 something Desi Muslim woman, I hear the M word no less than 5 times a day Seriously, every day Everyone from your interfering relatives neighbors to well meaning friends tend to ask you when you are getting married You dodge one bullet and turn around the corner only to fall into the clutches of another Rishta aunt Sofia also talks about how most workplaces can be a bit uncomfortable for Muslims especially, when trying to find a place to pray Muslims pray five times a day and since there are designated times for each prayer, we often face the challenge of finding a place to pray There s a particular incident in the book where Sofia s makeshift prayer room has been turned into a medical room What follows is an awkward conversation where she has to explain to the white administrative guy that she needs a place to pray and would it be okay if she could get the entry code to the room After explaining that yes, we do pray all year round and yes, we do pray five times a day, she gets the access code Except now the door to the prayer room has been changed to glass so everyone who walks past is treated to a view of her arse in the air This is literally, what I ve had to go through at every workplace It s 2016 and workplaces fail hard at inclusivity As Sofia saysBad praying space, good canap s At first glance read this book seems like a light hearted rom com It is But it is also so much.Sofia Khan s first person, diary entry narration made it easy to connect with the protagonist As much I love a solid plot, there s something about a really good character driven book that always hooks me in Sofia s distinct voice drives the narrative in this fun yet thought provoking read and I couldn t help but devour this book chapter after chapter At a time when Islamaphobia is rampant, books like Sofia Khan is Not Obliged are so so relevant because they offer a way to bridge this sense of Otherness created by ignorance A book about Muslims that is neither a tragedy or an issues book Hurrah.THE RATING5 StarsQUOTE WORTHY I tried I did But what normal human being would ask another human being to live with a cohort of mother, father, brother and sister in law with two children, complete with a sister and brother in law and three children next door, and a hole in the wall joining the two houses Just writing that sentence about so many people confused me imagine living with them FINAL VERDICT Ayisha Malik s Sofia Khan is Not Obliged is an authentic, warm and hilarious read that will stay with you days after finishing it Muslim or not, this book guarantees you a good time The thing about romantic comedy is that it has to be funny If the plot consists almost entirely of a round of everyday events drinks with mates, squabbles with parents, deadlines at work, dates with boys then it really needs to be packed full of sparkling wit and astute observations Otherwise, it s just banal.In Sofia Khan the comedy is strongest during moments of culture clash when the well meaning but clueless colleagues in the most white centric, middle class industry there is are The thing about romantic comedy is that it has to be funny If the plot consists almost entirely of a round of everyday events drinks with mates, squabbles with parents, deadlines at work, dates with boys then it really needs to be packed full of sparkling wit and astute observations Otherwise, it s just banal.In Sofia Khan the comedy is strongest during moments of culture clash when the well meaning but clueless colleagues in the most white centric, middle class industry there is are fascinated by Sofia s scarf imagine everyone at work being amazed that you keep your trousers up by doing up the buttons , or when her squabbling parents are baffled by the behaviour of their 2nd generation children What is this click her mother asks when Sofia turns down yet another perfectly eligible young man But the laughs were few and far between, and the story rambled on and on, in desperate need of an editor.Part of the reason that it fails as a comedy is that Sofia is hardly ever the butt of the joke in fact, the book was firmly on her side It could have worked as a comedy if she had been ridiculous, or it could have worked as chick lit if she d had a moral journey and learnt from her failures Instead, there are no consequences, or worse she s presented as having been in the right all along TheSofia was self righteously justified, thefrustrating I found her.Early in the book Sofia bumps into a man on the underground and he mutters terrorist at her She is upset by this and the story of her encounter with The Racist is repeated to friends, family and co workers who are all suitably aghast Later in the book she spots him again, chases him into the tube and then steals the last seat that was rightfully his He calls her paki bitch which provokes a rather delightful scene of solidarity as he is shamed by an old white lady and forced to apologise by a young black man But this public humiliation is not enough for Sofia, who wants him to have an epiphany about his narrow minded, prejudiced views So she marches up to him, calls him a cunt and then punches him in the face He calls her a crazy bitch she calls him a racist wanker.It makes me so uncomfortable, because punching people is wrong Racist insults are also obviously wrong, but it s not ok to escalate insults into violence Butthan that, Sofia has been against violence through out the book, and this moment of hypocrisy is neither comedic nor regrettable It s a moment of gratifying victory It seems that violence is only wrong unless it happens to be emotionally satisfying for Sofia Khan.Sofia wears the hijab, despite the hassle this brings her from racists, colleagues and even her mother who desperately wants her to take it off to catch a husband She calls herself a walking, talking sign for religion It s clearly very important to her Yet, her attitude towards it orprecisely her attitude towards other people s attitudes towards it is confusingly variable Different positions that Sofia holds on the hijab include Men should make assumptions about her based on the hijab Sofia is frustrated when non Muslim men on dating sites don t realise that they have no chance I wondered whether they could actually see I wear a hijab Marrying a non Muslim would be the most nonsensical thing for a hijabi to do.Men shouldn t make assumptions about her based on the hijab Sofia resents men assuming that her conservative clothing choices imply conservative morals Thanks, strange person, for your opinion, but who said I m conservative Talk about judging a person by their scarf Men should adjust their clothing choices based on hers Sofia is mortified when a man who is very kindly allowing her to use his home as an office doesn t dress according to her morals as if it was perfectly natural to be shirtless, tattoo armed in your boxers in front of, hello, a hijabi But there are some assumptions that she lets pass Like when a man says I meant you re a hijabi and, so you know, you re a certain way There s depth and whatever to you.So overall, Sofia just ends up looking a little narcissistic everyone is expected to be able to read her mind, know what the hijab means to her, and adjust their behaviour accordingly Only one person criticises Sofia for wearing the hijab, a man on a dating site who says A hijab Seriously You re living in the WestSofia s reaction Who is this prejudiced person who suffers from punctuation hysteria, one might ask A BBC correspondent Had to double check he was actually brown In true Zen manner I wished him luck with his identity crisis This dismissal is so frustrating, because she s hypocritically practising exactly the kind of prejudice she criticises in everyone who disagrees with her First she s conflating brown and Muslim , assuming that because he s in one group he must be in the other And secondly for assuming he s having an identity crisis as if there couldn t be any other reason for a man to be against the hijab The opportunity for comedy is lost, because Sofia has to be in the right.Sofia s friend Hannah becomes a second wife to Zulfi, a man who is already married Everybody seems to think this is a bad idea nobody says so Everyone tucked away their opinions as Hannah and Zulfi came and sat at the table His wife and children do not attend the wedding and when Sofia s mum god bless her points out their absence Zulfi is embarrassed while Hannah is steadfast and defiant I really felt like I was expected to admire Hannah s grace, but there really isn t anything to admire in someone being defiant while they poach someone else s man Home wrecking is wrong.It pretty soon becomes apparent that Hannah is living like a Victorian kept women Zulfi buys her a house and he visits her when he s not spending time with his real family She becomes consumed with jealousy.Sofia is always humblebragging about her big mouth and opinionated ways, and how much they get her into trouble Except in this case, when she and all her friends are absolutely derelict in their duty to tell Hannah 1 It s obviously a terrible mistake that will make her unhappy.2 It s actually wrong to get together with a man when his already existing family don t want you too Where s the solidarity with other women But Sofia says nothing because it s not PC to judge we are all autonomous beings, blah blah blah Her friends at work are horrified But that s not even legal Fleur exclaimed, going red in the face.Err, hello Neither is murder, but that doesn t stop people There you have it the Sofia Khan justifications for bigamy 1 It s not PC to judge.2 Murder still happens So, it was difficult to like Sofia because she s really morally inconsistent and yet she s presented as morally superior Perhaps I could ve liked her if she had any other redeeming qualities but she doesn t have any other qualities at all Her only activities are meeting men, and talking about meeting men There is a sort of high school feel to the story she hides men from her parents she talks constantly about boys with her friends she is bitchy and judgemental whenever the boy she likes notices another woman or adds one on facebook.In the final section of the book, view spoiler she quits her underwhelming job and gets the guy of her dreams Of course she does, it s a romance after all But she only gives up the job because the guy arranges for her to do something muchfulfilling She only gets the guy because he converts to Islam for her despite her loving him deeply, and him being clearly better than all the Muslim men she dates, she could still never date a non Muslim While it s nice for Sofia to get her wish fulfilment happy ending it s frustrating as a reader because everything is handed to her on a plate and she doesn t have to take a risk or make a change to achieve her dreams hide spoiler Once again, Sofia Khan is just in the right I m sorry, but this book reads like a first draft and not a very good one There are many, many typos, misspellings, and grammatical issues, and the acerbic tone, which is cute and funny for about two pages, becomes tiresome far too quickly.I adore books about South Asian culture, especially when they pit the volatile mismatch of tradition against the plight of progressive women The blurb promised an intriguing tale from a perspective that we don t get nearly enough of A thirty something moder I m sorry, but this book reads like a first draft and not a very good one There are many, many typos, misspellings, and grammatical issues, and the acerbic tone, which is cute and funny for about two pages, becomes tiresome far too quickly.I adore books about South Asian culture, especially when they pit the volatile mismatch of tradition against the plight of progressive women The blurb promised an intriguing tale from a perspective that we don t get nearly enough of A thirty something modern hijabi publicist in designer shoes, looking for love in all the wrong places Unfortunately, it did not deliver What could have been a fun story was let down by unpolished prose and a protagonist that is difficult to find at all endearing I really wanted to love this book and was excited to pick it upbut, alasI m not obliged.I d like to thank Net Galley and the publisher Twenty7 Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion, which this is 4.5 5Different Brilliant One of a kind I was going to give this book 4 stars only BUT THAT ENDING DAMMIT, exactly how I wanted it to be I don t care about I love yous they re for people who don t know any better You should never change is the culmination of all your flaws made necessary the imperfect sum of an imperfect past, which turned to be a good thing for someone Sofia is thirty years old when she breaks up with her potential husband, Imran, after he asks her to live with his 4.5 5Different Brilliant One of a kind I was going to give this book 4 stars only BUT THAT ENDING DAMMIT, exactly how I wanted it to be I don t care about I love yous they re for people who don t know any better You should never change is the culmination of all your flaws made necessary the imperfect sum of an imperfect past, which turned to be a good thing for someone Sofia is thirty years old when she breaks up with her potential husband, Imran, after he asks her to live with his parents and a hole in the wall Sofia works in publishing, and when she relates this story to her co workers, her boss becomes very interested in the different aspects of Muslim dating, and proceeds to ask Sofia to write a book about it What follows is mostly insights into Sofia s life as she writes the book, though the book itself doesn t particularly have priority, it is the starting point for a lot of the situations Sofia gets intoPerhaps this is God s way of saying, here, you might not have a man, but have a book instead The book is told from Sofia s perspective in a diary style format, so naturally much of the book s success depends upon how much you like Sofia as a character Personally, I loved her I thought she was a very real, very relatable character She s by no means perfect, which for my part only made herlikable She s stubborn, hardly ever giving in to anyone, and she s very funny, her humour is often very dry and sarcastic, so I really appreciated it I really liked that Sofia was quick to defend her beliefs in every aspect of her life If someone said something she disagreed with, or took issue to, she almost always let them know Even if that someone was a member of her own family She has a close relationship with her dad, which I loved reading about, and I feel like I don t see this anywhere near often enough Her dad was very funny, and it was very easy to warm to him Sofia comes under a lot of criticism from members of their extended family and, at some point, the families of people that she s considering dating.As this book is a romantic comedy, obviously I need to mention the romance Sofia had several potential partners over the course of the book which you d expect, given that she s writing a book on Muslim dating and I really liked seeing the various successes and failures of these dates that she goes on It offered some very funny insights into the world of online dating, as Sofia meetsthan her fair share of odd ones when she signs up to Shaadi.com later referred to only as Shady I m not going to spoil who she ends up with, but I will say that I loved how the relationship developed It felt very easy and natural and though I did have an inkling as to who it might be very early on, that didn t make it any less satisfying.Female friendship also has an important role in this book While I m no expert on romance novels or films, it often feels like the protagonist s friendships can get brushed aside in favour of the love interest, or they ll just have one particularly close friend, but that wasn t the case here Sofia s friends are all well developed, brilliant women, and though the focus is obviously on Sofia s life, we get to see a fair share of her friends lives tooMust be grateful for friends who forgive and forget They are the best kindSofia Khan is Not Obliged has often been described as a Muslim Bridget Jones, and I can definitely see the comparison However, there are several points of differences that do get touched on throughout There are some things that Sofia experiences that a non Muslim protagonist would not experience The reaction to her situation with her almost husband, for one, and the assumption that she d somehow get into trouble for writing the book Very early on, a man calls Sofia a terrorist after she accidentally bumps into him while trying to get on the tube, and there s a very uncomfortable moment wherein Sofia s editor asks Sofia if she ll take off her hijab so she can see her hair, and then proceeds to touch her hair without her permission I really liked that these moments were in the book Like I said, they were important points of difference They were all dealt with very lightly, and the book never gets too darkOne of the issues about the whole being alone stance is not having anyone to share the world s problems with A person s been scoped out of your life and so you speak into a pit of nothingnessI highly recommend this book I guarantee you re going to take something away from it I really look forward to reading anything else Ayisha Malik writes Trigger warnings Islamophobia, view spoiler death of a parent hide spoiler.This book is essentially Bridget Jones Diary, if Bridget Jones were a Pakistani hijabi who still lived with her parents in 2011 Seriously I was a little hesitant going into this, because it uses the same short chapters with time and date stamps format as Bridget Jones, and the story seemed to be going in a fairly similar way So I was scared that it was going to be TOO similar, particularly as the author acknowle Trigger warnings Islamophobia, view spoiler death of a parent hide spoiler.This book is essentially Bridget Jones Diary, if Bridget Jones were a Pakistani hijabi who still lived with her parents in 2011 Seriously I was a little hesitant going into this, because it uses the same short chapters with time and date stamps format as Bridget Jones, and the story seemed to be going in a fairly similar way So I was scared that it was going to be TOO similar, particularly as the author acknowledges the fact that she has written a Muslim version of Bridget Jones HOWEVER The characters are so much fun and they wormed their way into my heart The story is often funny It was compelling It came with a side of Feelings, and it had a happy ending Whatcould you want *READ EBOOK ✐ Sofia Khan is Not Obliged ⇶ Brilliant idea Excellent Muslim dating Well, I had no idea you were allowed to date Then he leaned towards me and looked at me sympathetically Are your parents quite disappointed Unlucky in love once again after her possible marriage partner to be proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell all expose about the Muslim dating scene As her woes become her work, Sofia must lean on the support of her brilliant friends, baffled colleagues and baffling parents as she goes in search of stories for her book In amongst the marriage crazy relatives, racist tube passengers and decidedly odd online daters, could there be a a lingering possibility that she might just be falling in love wow this was bad not to like be rude or anything but i was trying to finish this book as fast as possible so i could go back to living a happy lifelet s just run through my complaints real quick the tone is supposed to be lighthearted, fun, chick lit but i found it extremely JUVENILE to the point that it was painful the main character is immature, judgemental, and i found her really tiring to put up with there s lots of jokes that i found distasteful and kinda offensive concerning black wow this was bad not to like be rude or anything but i was trying to finish this book as fast as possible so i could go back to living a happy lifelet s just run through my complaints real quick the tone is supposed to be lighthearted, fun, chick lit but i found it extremely JUVENILE to the point that it was painful the main character is immature, judgemental, and i found her really tiring to put up with there s lots of jokes that i found distasteful and kinda offensive concerning black people, fatshaming, and religion i m not even going to get into the muslim rep bc it s been a long day and i dont have the Energy the book is like 90% dialogue and dude, if that s your thing then cool, but im not a fan1 star Loved this book It s definitely a favourite of mine I can t imagine someone not loving this book unless they re racist or can t stand reading stories of diverse characters or just don t want to participate in at least trying to understand the humour or the sentiments presented in the book basically lazy people Seriously, I can t imagine a better book than this one when it comes to honest and hilarious Muslim fiction I ve been waiting for the kind of book that would actually be something I Loved this book It s definitely a favourite of mine I can t imagine someone not loving this book unless they re racist or can t stand reading stories of diverse characters or just don t want to participate in at least trying to understand the humour or the sentiments presented in the book basically lazy people Seriously, I can t imagine a better book than this one when it comes to honest and hilarious Muslim fiction I ve been waiting for the kind of book that would actually be something I relate to, especially after reading The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf by Mohja Kahf which was a genius book that I loved and super related to This is that book I absolutely LOVED how funny it was I loved that it made me think about my own choices in life In many ways it prepared me too, for the craziness that goes into getting married and it also allowed me to understand my own position, through the experiences of Sofia I m not going to claim you ll have the same enlightening experience with the book because you re a different person with your own set of plans and worries in life But I can assure you this book will make you laugh, it ll make you sad and it ll make you really bloody happy It ll also really make you appreciate your own family and friends Finishing this book made me realise how much I d love to have friends like Sofia does It s just something so pure I also loved the writing, it was easy to connect to I loved Sofia s fearless yet flawed character I also loved that the story got better theyou read and finally finished with an ending that stuns and makes you really think Don t wanna say too much because spoilers Malik flawlessly tackles issues in the Muslim community that most people, even the young, are too afraid to boldly address I really recommend the book to everyone Especially those who complain about lack of diversity and those who feel too comfortable in its lacking