…anyone who says love is all that matters hasn’t quite grown up.
Sofia Khan is a lot of things: a fair-to-middling book publicist, a hijabi, a second-generation Londoner, and a modern girl. She is not a romantic, and she most definitely does not need a man, especially her former fiancé who expected her to move in with his family following the wedding.
An off-hand joke during a meeting leads to a book deal: Sofia has been contracted to write a book dating as a modern Muslim girl.
Writing the book might be easier if Sofia had any real interest in dating. She’s never been in love (not even with the fiancé) and her parents’s marriage doesn’t inspire imitation. But the siren call of authorship (or maybe just the generous advance) lead her to sign up for a Muslim dating site to solicit material for the book. She meets pretty boys who flirt and boys with loud biological clocks that need winding. Bad dates and really great dates that inspire butterflies: it’s all fodder for the book.
What the hell? That was the most passive-aggressive ‘Insh’Allah’ I’ve ever heard. God will not be willing with that tone, young man.
Sofia is exasperating, funny, and sometimes unlikeable. She prays five times a day, and sneaks a cigarette on the regular. She wears a hijab (which baffles her family; they aren’t that observant) and knows she wants to marry a Muslim, but she has no interest in any of the things the Muslim wives around her do. In the way of beloved children everywhere, Sofia doesn’t know how to compromise. She is contradictory/hypocritical in the ways we all are, and I think it makes her a better protagonist.
Sofia Khan is Not Obliged is a delightful and charming book, but it’s slow to get started. The humor has to carry you through until around half way through when the story begins to pick up steam. Fortunately, there’s a lot of laughs to be had. (Some of the jokes undoubtedly went over my head as a non-Muslim. Malik is not obliged to explain some of the slang.)
I think there should be a ‘Marriage’ jar. Anyone who mentions it has to put in a pound. The proceeds can go towards funding research into arthritis and obsession.
Sofia Khan is Not Obliged is almost chick lit, but the slightly hacky HEA appended to the ending pushes it just over the line into romance. The book didn’t really need a HEA (and I have thoughts about it), but whatever: it gave Malik a reason to write that sequel that’s due out in April.
Also: it’s on sale right now for a little more than a dollar. No idea how long that’ll be true.