So, I got this book through Readers First, and I’m glad that I did. I wasn’t sure what I was going to think about this book, but it seemed kind of fun. And Muslim chick-lit is definitely something I’d like to read a bit more of, so this seemed like the perfect book to spend my points on. In the end, I did enjoy it quite a lot, and I’m happy to recommend it.
Hana Khan works in her family-run halal restaurant. But after fifteen years, it’s on its last legs. When a flashy new halal restaurant is going to open across the block, Hana is scared that her family will lose it all. She decides to fight for it, even if it means doing things she’s not proud of. The handsome owner is just as willing to fight back, and Hana only really has her anonymously run podcast to shout about it on.
I’ve found it a little weird that I’ve read two novels recently where radio is a big thing. I didn’t think radio was still popular, but apparently, it’s still a big thing? The podcast bit I expected, and it was nice to read Hana’s podcasts. I think they would be fun to listen to in an audiobook, so I might have to check that out at some point. But you get glimpses of Hana’s radio job and shows as well. It was a lot of fun, even if Hana had to deal with some major racism.
The racism was an important theme. It’s a sad truth that a large majority of people are horrible and racist. They’ll attack people for clothing choices, skin colour, religion or whatever other excuses they can think of. I’m white and non-religious. So I’m never really going to understand what it feels like to deal with racism and prejudice. But reading books like this where it’s on the forefront? It breaks my heart and makes me so angry. If there are anything books like this can teach us, it’s if we see something bad happening to someone due to racism, we should stand up and back them up. But let them lead the way they want to deal with it.
I did enjoy the romance in this book. I did feel a little fast, but I don’t know if that’s just because the book was fairly short. Because it definitely happened over an extended period, and technically it was a pretty damn slow burn. But something about it felt pretty fast. But I did love the banter. It was cute, and I was definitely rooting for them.
As well as that, there’s a lot about family relationships. Hana’s dad can barely leave the house, her sister is heavily pregnant, and they have family visiting India. I didn’t know what to think about her cousin, Rashid. His heart was in the right place, but a lot of the stuff he did was kind of dickish. I wasn’t that fond of him, but he definitely had some funny moments. I really loved Kawkab, she was a lot of fun, and I loved hearing her story. It’s wonderful to hear stories of rebellious women in the ’70s who weren’t white for once.
Overall, this was a fun read. I didn’t find it a fast read, but it’s not a very long book. If you’re looking for more books by Muslim authors and you were a fan of Sofia Khan is Not Obliged. Why not check this one out?