Mini-Review time! I borrowed Sofia Khan is Not Obliged through the public library’s Inter-Library Loan system, and had to return it right after reading, so this review won’t be as long or as detailed as other ones. If I don’t turn the ILLs in on time (and they’re non-renewable), I lose my ILL privileges. Here goes!
Title: Sofia Khan is Not Obliged
Author: Ayisha Malik
Contemporary Fiction ♦ 480 pages ♦ Published 3 September 2015
Sofia Khan is now 30 years old. She lives in London with her parents and older sister who is preparing to get married. And Sofia has just dumped her almost-fiance, a decision that has perplexed her family. Her sister, Maria, supports her decision as Sofia’s ex wanted her to move in with his parents, something Sofia absolutely refuses to do.
As Sofia is chatting with some friends at work, her editor overhears the situation and has an idea: what if Sofia were to write a book, a tell-all expose of the Muslim dating scene?? Sofia’s initially all for the idea, until it becomes clear that her editors don’t actually want a real-life analysis. They want sex, scandal, etc., to make it more “marketable.” Sofia is torn between writing about her actual experience and staying true to herself versus making her editors (and her bank account) happy.
As she continues to struggle with balancing work, wedding prep for her sister and best friend, family life, and ignorant white people who think it’s perfectly acceptable to call her a “terrorist” on the subway, she is supported by an amazing squad of girlfriends spanning quite the spectrum of experiences. And she finds allies in the most remarkable of places. But will she find love?
This book. Pretty great. I enjoyed reading it. Once I got into it (for some reason I’d not known that it was set up in a diary-style), it was hard to put down. I really loved her openness to let people live their lives the way they want to. For example, even though Sofia draws the line at living with her future in-laws, she doesn’t have a problem with his sister who makes the choice to live with her husband’s family. She also supports her friend Hannah for becoming a second wife.
Sofia’s ethnic heritage is Pakistani. As a hijabi, she is tired of the ignorance that surrounds her culture, but she doesn’t let it get her down, and prays at work regardless of some of the hoops she has to jump through as the book progresses.
I thought the ending was rather TOO tidy, however. At least there’s no insta-love. Overall, this was a solid, refreshing read, and a great addition to #MuslimShelfSpace.
About the Author
“Ayisha is a British Muslim, lifelong Londoner, and lover of books. She read English Literature and went on to complete an MA in Creative Writing (though told most of her family it was an MA in English Literature – Creative Writing is not a subject, after all.) She has spent various spells teaching, photocopying, volunteering and being a publicist. Now, when she isn’t searching for a jar of Nutella in her cupboards, she divides her time between writing and being managing editor at Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.” (goodreads.com)