Review: The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

4:12 PM

Get your tissues ready. 


ABOUT THE BOOK

Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.

But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective.

Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?


The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabrina Khan | Rating: ★★★★☆(4.5) 

The review at the top of this book by Sandhya Menon should be taken as the gospel: this book will break your heart and then piece it back together again. The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali can be described only as this. Sabina Khan makes sure of this by crafting a story that is equally heartbreaking and heart warming.

Readers must bring a box of tissues with them whilst embarking on this story. If you are deeply effected by emotions, this book will definitely tug you in multiple directions. The aching of the heart. Sometimes, you will smile at the sweeter moments. Other times, you will balk away from it in horror and pain. This is merely the sign of The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali and Khan's brilliance.

All good literature provokes thought, and an array of feelings, and if there's one thing that this book does, it is that. Similarly as with Aisha Saeed's 2014 (?) novel Written in the Stars, this novel is not an easy one to read. But, it is a highly worthwhile read to expose yourself to if possible.

While Khan's prose is easy to get lost within, the central story arches vary from the sweetly toned coming of age elements (first love) to tangles of many other difficult topics (such as homophobia, racism, arranged marriages, kidnapping, an instance in which the main character is drugged, a journal entry that addresses sexual violence that took place against the main character's family and more) that will likely make your stomach churn.

I had to put this book down several times whilst reading it but this was certainly something that led to the highly potent impact the story had on me emotionally. I couldn't stop thinking about it and it's taken me a couple of days to sort out my emotions towards the novel itself. Here's what I know: I will never, ever forget The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali.

This is definitely a must-read release of 2019. However, it is also a highly triggering read that I am not able to recommend for everyone and there's no going around that fact. Due to this, look up above at the topics previously mentioned and proceed with caution if you feel these topics aren't going to trigger you.

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