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Love in a Headscarf by Shelina Zahra…
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Love in a Headscarf (2010)

by Shelina Zahra Janmohamed

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I would have never known the existence of a book like that. My guest was carrying it, it was an intriguing cover. Seems my friend also bought the book because of cool cover. :)

Love in a Headscarf is a memoir of an Muslim woman in Britain and her efforts to find a husband. Its just like the book 'Marrying Anita', however, difference here being woman in question is a Muslim who insists on wearing a headscarf by choice. The book is not only about her meetings with men in an arranged marriage setup but also about her persistence in faith. Personally I felt book was very defensive- how Muslim portrayal has been incorrect, Islam doesn't preach oppression of women and how her family gave her choice to choose her own man etc. She recounts few 'feminist' stories from Islam - Prophet's first wife, Safura etc. The defensive note in the book about Islam's view of women took the zing away. Most boring part was the religious/philosophical 'discourse' she has with this guy Mohammed (honestly I skipped it and no, even he was not the 'one' either). The brief high point of the book was when author goes to Mt. Kilimajaro but soon enough moment was ruined by mention (sort of must-mentions in such contexts) of 9/11. How perception of muslim's changed etc. BOok claim about love but it is hardly about it - it is rather about search of it one/two arranged meetings with men. In fact, some of the men horror stories are only humourous/reaction-evoking part of books.

Writing is lucid but nothing remarkable about content. The book's cover remains the coolest thing about it. A Google search tells me author Shelina has quite created an identity as a 'commentator' on Muslim women in Islam. THis is only book that has been written by her - she though writes columns on Muslim women for various publications. Looks like after expat books, writing about who you found your man through matrimonials/arrange marriage meetings is another gig you can write a book on. Hah! ( )
  poonamsharma | Apr 6, 2013 |
Young educated woman in Asian country. Trying to find identity through marriage. Lots of personal stuff about finding herself in an Iranian? Culture. ( )
  Pmaurer | Feb 3, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I liked this book. In issues with controversy and ignorance I like hearing the perspective from people who are labeled as "other". This book does feel a little too sugar coated, but it does adequately show that people aren't that different after all. There really isn't any dramatic tension or anything else that makes a compelling read in itself. ( )
  OpheliaAwakens | Aug 22, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I'm not a chick-lit/romance-y kind of book reader, but this looked interesting when I read the blurb for the ER list so I thought I'd give it a go. It was interesting to read about her journey and how she spent time looking for the perfect husband while keeping her religious beliefs. Following your heart to find your happiness is always an uplifting read. I did like how she managed to balance her happiness, her religion and being true to herself while looking for her spouse. ( )
1 vote thelydia | Apr 11, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I'm not usually a memoir reader, but I picked this book because the story sounded unlike anything I'd ever read before, but it also sounded familiar to my own life in some ways - not a memoir of sensational or awful or tawdry or scandalous things, but of a more or less ordinary person trying to navigate the ordinary confusing frustrating regular world, and I wasn't disappointed at all.

This is a really charming autobiography describing a woman's search for a suitable husband, but it's also a lot more than that. In a sense, Shelina Janmohamed is Everygirl, trying to figure out the size and shape of her ideal life partner, and trying to figure out how to find him - introductions from relatives, speed dating, internet dating, meeting people through one's work or place of worship. She faces the same issues that everyone looking for a mate faces - are my standards too high? Where do I draw the line when it comes to respect? What should I compromise on? Will this person make me happy? Can I be with this person and still be myself? Who *is* myself anyway? Her perspective on the process is deeply informed by her religion, and by the traditions of her culture, and her feelings chance as her experience grows and broadens over the course of her story. In this way it is very easy, I think, for anyone to relate to the emotions and experiences she goes through on her search.

The story is also a fascinating window into what it means to Shelina Janmohamed to be a woman and a Muslim and a South Asian. She is deeply committed to and thoughtful about her religion and the choices she has made for it and because of it. It clearly brings her strength and comfort, but also sadness and frustration as she feels compelled to speak out about acts of terrorism and oppression committed in the name of Islam. She addresses in particular her decision to wear a headscarf, and her frustration that the debate around the wearing of a headscarf, and the decision to wear a headscarf, often does not include the voices of women who have made that choice, intelligently and thoughtfully, for themselves.

I really enjoyed reading about her search for a life partner, and I think her message about following one's heart and being true to one's self and ideas is really powerful. She's inspired me to want to read and learn more about Islam, and also to be more thoughtful and open in my own life. I highly recommend this book. ( )
1 vote upstairsgirl | Jan 29, 2011 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
To my mother and father for everything
To Maryam and Aamina--Our future
To the One--You know why
First words
Love.
Quotations
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. Then he would convert to Islam and become a devoted Muslim.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"'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. Then he would convert to Islam and become a devoted Muslim.' Shelina is keeping a very surprising secret under her headscarf - she wants to fall in love. Torn between the Buxom Aunties, romantic comedies and mosque Imams, she decides to follow the arranged marriage route to finding Mr Right, Muslim-style. Shelina's captivating journey begins as a search for the One, but along the way she also discovers her faith and herself. A memoir with a hilarious twist from one of Britain's leading female Muslim writers, Love in a Headscarf is an entertaining, fresh and unmissable insight into what it means to be a young British Muslim woman" -- www.newsfromnowhere.org.uk… (more)

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Beacon Press

An edition of this book was published by Beacon Press.

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