Hello Everyone! It’s Becky. I recently listened to the audiobook of The Love and Lies of Rukhsna Ali by Sabina Kahn and I have to admit I kind of wished that I didn’t. Warning: I can’t fully express my feelings about this book without giving away a few plot points. Please, be aware that there are spoilers in this review.
Title: The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali
Author: Sabina Kahn
Note: I listened to the audio book.
Summary: Rukshana Ali is an average American-Muslim girl living in Seattle. Rukshana’s parents are very conservative immigrants and her life is forever changed when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend. Rukshana’s parents take her back to their hometown where she finds herself in more danger than she could have ever imagined.
Review: I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say about this book and I took a day before I sat down to write this review. I wanted to be inspired by this book. I want this book to be the type of story that teaches and allows readers to see themselves in the character’s stories. Unfortunately, that is not the book I read. For me, this book was a melodratic take on serious issues that, at times, made light of horrific incidents. Kahn wrote a book about a lesbian Muslim who is deeply in love with her girlfriend that is punished when her parents find out about her relationship. The character is taken to Bandladash and is held prisoner in her family’s home until she agrees to marry an appropriate husband. That’s horrible and realistic and something that should be discussed. Yet, Kahn felt it was necessary to include little moments of humor during these horrible event. I understand that the entire book can’t book all moments of gloom and doom but when a character is being forced into an arranged marriage at the age of seventeen I don’t think its appropriate for her to make pithy comments on how happy she is to have her hair straightener. This is just one example but the whole book is filled with these moments that just made the tone of the novel feel off. Plus, there is the issue of taking a realistic event and making it way to melodramatic. The author felt it necessary to include Rukshana’s story as well as a story of how LGBTQ individuals are treated in India (which was great and there should have been more), then there was the story of Rukshana’s girlfriend possibly leaving her (and all that drama), oh, and at the last minute let’s include a story about Rukshana’s mother being abused throughout her childhood. It’s too much and turns a book that should be an important commentary on real life events into a soap opera. Basically, I’m not sure what this book is supposed to be. Is it a realistic story about what is going on in the world or is this a melodramatic soap opera that is over done? I’m not sure what the author intended but what was released was over wrought and unsatisfying for this reader.
Final Rating: 2 out of 5