If you are a fan of Mills and Boon book series then Shelina Zahra Janmohamed’s Love In A Headscarf is definitely a book you should consider reading as it has similar structure though it is done within an Islamic culture context.
Love In A Headscarf is the memoir of its author Shelina Zahra Janmohamed; the life of an Asian-British women and her culture. The book focuses on her quest to find her dream prince-charming, but includes other enlightening parts such as the life of a muslim in London, perks of being an hijabi, and an insight into the Asian culture, with the complexity of ‘fitting in’ in her British surrounding.
“At the age of thirteen, I knew I was destined to marry John Travolta. One day he would arrive on my North London doorstep, fall madly in love with me and ask me to marry him. The he would convert to Islam and become a devoted Muslim.” The thoughts of Shelina as a teenager gives the reader of the struggles that she experiences, torn between her religion and home culture yet wants to be like other girls who share her ‘outside’ British culture. In the book’s opening chapter, Janmohamed is introduced to her first prospective husband, and her expectation is that he is destined to be “Mr Right” – that arranged marriage can exist but as her search continues, she begins to recognise the disparity between these two ideas of love. In her memoir, Janmohamed focuses on the intersection between the cultural representations of love and the reality.
On the path to finding The One, Shelina had to cope with her Indian aunties’ various lectures, comparing religion to her culture, the questions that arise in her own head and societal stigma. Aunties and mothers-in-law make up a committee of matchmakers, so they work to find a suitable suitor for Shelina and other girls that are ready to venture into the journey of marriage. The book explores topics about about humans, love, marriage, self-discovery and the hijab with a touch of comedy. Love in a Headscarf is a detailed personal account of the highs and lows of the author’s journey of finding a marriage partner and we the reader do at times share the excitement of ‘meeting’ the new suitor as each one is different and has comical aspect. The book spans over a decade from when the author first set out on this quest and ends on a high when ‘the one’ is finally found. The journey highlights an alarmingly high number of undesirables from the plain rude, churlish and insecure individuals who consider themselves ready for marriage.
Although pats of the book is quite entertaining and you might identify with some elements of it but at times it can be irritating with a long drawn out detailed descriptions that might not be necessary. While at other times you feel that too many topics are fitted into one chapter and dealt with quite abruptly. The book also limits itself as it is targeting a specific audience; Single Muslim British Asian women.
Its not a bad read but you will find yourself skipping large chunks of it as it can be slow going as for rating then it would not get more than 5 out of 10.