"Sofia Khan is Not Obliged" by Ayisha Malik

Sofia Khan has decided to swear off men for good after breaking off her engagement to a man who was a little too close to his family. Okay, “a little too close” is an understatement - the man wanted them to live in a house with an actual hole in the wall that led in to his parents house next door. Much to her parents dismay, Sofia has had enough. 

But the people she works with at a publishing house have a different idea. They think a Muslim dating book is a fantastic idea to fill a hole in the market and that Sofia is the best person to write it. She loves having the opportunity to write a book but it means that she’s going to have to jump back into the dating pool to do so. As the deadline approaches quickly, she’ll have to deal with her marriage obsessed relatives, internet dating, disastrous dates, and love where you least expect it.

Sofia Khan is Not Obliged, by Ayisha Malik, is a fun, fresh novel about dating and finding Mr. Right. Told from the perspective of a South Asian Muslim woman living in London, it is a book that readers from all around the world will easily relate to.

I absolutely adored this novel. For me, it was hard to believe that it is a debut book because it was so polished and so true to the genre. And oh my goodness, did I laugh out loud. Written in the form of a diary it will easily be compared to Bridget Jones’ Diary and I definitely agree with this in that it is a modern take on the book, but this one doesn’t need the comparisons to be successful.

Sofia Khan is just like every other woman who is navigating the dating world. Relationships are hard, especially when you are watching your friends marry off. But add to that relatives who are obsessed with your marital status and you know that things aren’t going to turn out well. Then add to that the challenge of being a hijabi in London, dealing with racist tube riders and co-workers who just don’t (or don’t want to) understand you and well, it’s just one big mix of hilarity and heartache. I thought Malik did a great job of writing a character that many women will see themselves in. 

This is what I consider to be chick lit (I know many people don’t like the term but for me it has always been a positive one) and it is so good to see diversity coming to the genre. I love the way that Sofia is told by a co-worker that they had no idea Muslims were allowed to date. This book takes on stereotypes and shows that when it comes to love and relationships we all face the same pressures, no matter what our culture or religion. This is a book that all women will relate to and find funny no matter what culture they are from. 


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