Love in a headscarf by Shelina Zahra Janmohamed: a book review

Finding Prince Charming turned out to be an extremely complicated exercise that the young Shelina wasn’t expecting to be. Torn between her family’s strong traditional background and her western style education, Shelina describes to us in minute details her first arranged encounters with prospective husbands. The first chapters are hilarious, realistic and intriguing.
With every new candidate comes a new story, filled with curiosity, high expectations and, unfortunately, followed with disappointment. The author captivates the reader when she recounts these first unsuccessful “similar to job interviews” with handsome boys who are highly praised by some old aunties. But the author fails to extend the same level of captivation until the end of the book. Later in the book she loses the reader when she spent a lot of time describing some important pillars of Islam.
It is very clear from the first pages that the author is a deeply spiritual practicing Muslim. She is very proud and comfortable with all her decisions that are related to her faith.
As a Muslim reader, I found some paragraphs about Islam extremely long and not necessarily related to the main topic of the book. At many passages, the book becomes heavy, unfocussed and a boring compilation of facts about Islam. But, the rhythm continues to rebound and bring back some light and caricatured pictures of the author quest for Love. Through all the unsuccessful attempts during many years, the author gains more maturity and experience. She is less naive and more realistic but she never loses faith in love. She sees it as part of her faith and for anything in the world she would renounce to it.
Finally, the end arrives unexpected… The author rushes her successful encounter, she makes it seem as banal and normal. May be it was, but after many disappointments and more than 200 pages, the reader is waiting eagerly for more to learn about the wonderful happy end. It is very disappointing to miss the humour and the spirit of the young girl of the first chapter. It is as if the years, the career, life in general took over the spontaneity of the young girl of the first chapters. The description of the encounter and the feelings surrounding are circumspect, cerebral and dry. The abrupt ending leaves the reader disenchanted and hungry for more. A nice modern day fairy-tale? May be, but the reader wishes to know more about Prince Charming and whether love and passion took over rationale and social pressure.
, Shelina describes to us in minute details her first arranged encounters with prospective husbands. The first chapters are hilarious, realistic and intriguing.
With every new candidate comes a new story, filled with curiosity, high expectations and, unfortunately, followed with disappointment. The author captivates the reader when she recounts these first unsuccessful “similar to job interviews” with handsome boys who are highly praised by some old aunties. But the author fails to extend the same level of captivation until the end of the book. Later in the book she loses the reader when she spent a lot of time describing some important pillars of Islam.
It is very clear from the first pages that the author is a deeply spiritual practicing Muslim. She is very proud and comfortable with all her decisions that are related to her faith.
As a Muslim reader, I found some paragraphs about Islam extremely long and not necessarily related to the main topic of the book. At many passages, the book becomes heavy, unfocussed and a boring compilation of facts about Islam. But, the rhythm continues to rebound and bring back some light and caricatured pictures of the author quest for Love. Through all the unsuccessful attempts during many years, the author gains more maturity and experience. She is less naive and more realistic but she never loses faith in love. She sees it as part of her faith and for anything in the world she would renounce to it.
Finally, the end arrives unexpected… The author rushes her successful encounter, she makes it seem as banal and normal. May be it was, but after many disappointments and more than 200 pages, the reader is waiting eagerly for more to learn about the wonderful happy end. It is very disappointing to miss the humour and the spirit of the young girl of the first chapter. It is as if the years, the career, life in general took over the spontaneity of the young girl of the first chapters. The description of the encounter and the feelings surrounding are circumspect, cerebral and dry. The abrupt ending leaves the reader disenchanted and hungry for more. A nice modern day fairy-tale? May be, but the reader wishes to know more about Prince Charming and whether love and passion took over rationale and social pressure.

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