Number of pages: 442
At the start of this book, Sofia has just split up with her boyfriend, who was insisting that they both live with his parents if they get married; she’s fed up with looking for a husband, but she is unexpectedly given the task of writing a book about Muslim dating.
Sofia feels like the sort of character I’d expect to find in a novel by Zadie Smith; she manages to provide a lot of the book’s humour and pathos, as well as commentary on what it is like for her living as a Muslim in Britain. The book is written in the form of her diary, making the book also a similar to the Adrian Mole novels. Not surprisingly, there were references to the very modern issue of Islamophobia, and in the one of the early chapters she gets accused of being a terrorist while on board a train; the character who says this does reappear later on and gets his comeuppance.
Although this is very different from what I would normally choose to read, I really enjoyed this book, particularly as it managed to avoid all the standard romantic clichés, despite Sofia ending up in what appeared to be typical “will-they-or-won’t-they?” relationships with other characters. I also enjoyed how the book was able to combine both comic moments and moments of serious drama seamlessly. The book felt a bit challenging at times, and I found that I occasionally had to "read between the lines", like with a Jane Austen book, so I found myself occasionally backtracking. About half an hour after I finished the book, I re-read the final two pages to make sure I'd understood it all.
I’m also excited about the fact that Ayisha Malik has already written a sequel to this book, “The Other Half of Happiness”, which I am also keen to read.
Next book: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (J.K. Rowling)