Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik [Book Review]

514pg6W7kCL.jpgTitle : Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged

Author : Ayisha Malik

ISBN : 9781785770036

Publisher : Twenty7

Genre : Chic lit

Pages : 456

Source : Publisher

Rating : 4 Stars

Sofia Khan is not obliged is a fresh and feisty romantic comedy on Muslim dating.  The protagonist Sofia Khan, a strong-willed and flawed Muslim woman, works for a publication in London. She refuses to marry her fiancé who’s expecting her to stay with his parents but has a ‘hole in the wall’ situation, which is basically a hole in the wall between the two houses.

Sofia narrates the entire incident to her bosses at work and is asked to write a book on Muslim dating! Sofia is skeptical at first but after the initial advance, decides to take it up. Sofia starts writing the book and has inspiration flying in from her family, friends and the people she meets from dating sites. What comes later forms the rest of the plot.

Sofia Khan is not Obliged is a debut novel by Ayisha Malik and for a debut it is pretty exceptional. The book has been called the Bridget Jones of Muslim dating and I must admit I found a lot of similarities. The book is written in a very informal and chatty style and is laid out in a diary/journal format with dates which makes it a fast-read.

What I loved most about the book, apart from the fact that it has a universal appeal and not just Muslim readers, is the portrayal of Muslim women and their lifestyles which aren’t stereotypical at all, in fact it is quite the opposite. The book kind of changes the preconceived notions or expectations people have about Muslim woman and Muslim dating. It is shown in the way Sofia chooses to wear a hijab, though her family never forces it on her. In fact Sofia’s mother would like it if she removed it.

Sofia is portrayed as a fearless and courageous woman, who has a sarcastic wit and prays five times a day. She is rather bored when people are surprised she wears a hijab. The secondary characters (Sofia’s family and friends) are rather vibrant and diverse.

The book is a light read! It is sharp, intelligent and is jammed with witty humor and a few laugh-out-loud moments. The tone of the book is pretty balanced between serious, romantic and funny and it has a good and satisfactory ending! Although the book is often referred to as a ‘chic lit’ it is much more than that.

Although the book is mostly character-drive and is engaging throughout, the plot could have been presented in a more condensed format. Having said that, the book is light hearted and refreshing. I’d highly recommend this. The author has announced the release of its sequel next year which is quite exciting!

Buy yourself a copy here.

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