Love InshAllah : the secret love lives of American Muslim women / edited by Nura Maznavi and Ayesha Mattu.

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Booklist Reviews 2012 February #1

Editors Mattu and Maznavi collect 25 stories from American women of diverse backgrounds in an attempt to chip away at the stereotype that Muslim women are oppressed, submissive, and forced into arranged marriages by big-bearded men. The result is a book replete with females of diverse ethnicities, personalities, beliefs, sexual orientations, and marriage statuses who seek one common thing: Love, InshAllah. This translates as Love, God willing, and reinforces and celebrates the striking differences among a group that all self-identify as Muslims. The most interesting vignettes are those that deliver on the book's promise to upset expectations and share deep personal experiences. Contributors include a lesbian who feels blessed with enormous relief after finally coming out to her parents; a road-tripping groupie who chases down a punk band's lead singer; an Islamic school director who takes a detour with a male stranger in Argentina. Although the authors' maturity and storytelling abilities vary greatly, this kaleidoscopic anthology will surprise, instruct, and provoke. A glossary will help readers new to Islam. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

PW Reviews 2012 January #4

American Muslim women give first-person accounts of the challenges and joys of falling in love in this well-meaning but uninspired collection of essays. Punk rocker Tanzila Ahmed finds herself entranced by a bad boy musician with a "six-month itch;" Leila Khan's mother prepares dinner for her and her Italian suitor, but in protest of her daughter's relationship with a non-Muslim refuses to remain in the house during his visit; and Yasmine begins a long-distance relationship with a Muslim man who is divorced and has a 6-year old. In the opening essay, "Leap of Faith," Aisha ultimately chooses an arranged marriage despite her initial reluctance, a predicament also explored, albeit in a more complicated and nuanced way, by Mira Nair's film Monsoon Wedding. The stories here have a lot in common with each other—strict parents and internal guilt make appearances in many of the essays, rendering this volume insufficiently distinct and less well written than other first-generation immigrant writing by women. In addition, the prose is often clunky and full of truisms—lines like "I finally felt like a woman" and "I had finally married the man of my destiny" are not out of place here. Good intentions coupled with poor execution make this an admirable, but ultimately disappointing collection.  (Feb.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC