Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal
Honestly, if you love Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and you are a fan of English/British Lit and the classics, you will absolutely LOVE this novel!! And even if you haven’t read any of the classics, you will still recognize the literary genius that is this story!
Ages: 16 and up
Islamic screening: A few questionable statements about Islam, some cursing, alcohol and smoking mentioned, some lewd behavior, an LGBTQ side character briefly mentioned, implied intimacy-nothing detailed.
Alys Binaat (the Pakistani version of Elizabeth Bennet) is a cynical 30 year old English lit teacher in a Pakistani girl’s school. Her mother is obsessed with marrying off her five daughters and a local wedding is the perfect place for prospects. Alys meets Darsee and the two immediately get off on the wrong foot. Throughout the book, Alys learns to not let her prejudice or Darsee’s pride get in the way, and they eventually find their way together.
I found myself laughing and getting emotional at some parts, as well as appreciating the love story that develops. I absolutely loved the satire of patriarchal societies in it, although I do warn that it does lay it on thick with the criticism of Pakistan and Eastern societies and the obsession traditional families have towards “marriage” (much like the original classical story though to be honest and based on truth).
I personally can see this story used to discuss patriarchal society, colonialism, education, marriage, and so many more issues relevant to current society.
I thought the book did a good job showing the diversity of Muslims through the five sisters, although I wouldn’t say it leans to an Islamic or traditional view, rather, it does promote more of a liberal view. I would probably recommend it to more of a mature audience.
I still feel like it would be good discussion material, a well rounded read, and I personally really enjoyed the book as a fun read!
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