Finished The Marriage Clock by Zara Raheem. I received a copy for review.
Summary (from Goodreads):
“In Zara Raheem’s fresh, funny, smart debut, a young, Muslim-American woman is given three months to find the right husband or else her traditional Indian parents will find one for her–a novel with a universal story that everyone can relate to about the challenges of falling in love.
To Leila Abid’s traditional Indian parents, finding a husband in their South Asian-Muslim American community is as easy as match, meet, marry. But for Leila, a marriage of arrangement clashes with her lifelong dreams of a Bollywood romance which has her convinced that real love happens before marriage, not the other way around.
Finding the right husband was always part of her life-plan, but after 26 years of singledom, even Leila is starting to get nervous. And to make matters worse, her parents are panicking, the neighbors are talking, and she’s wondering, are her expectations just too high? So Leila decides it’s time to stop dreaming and start dating.
She makes a deal with her parents: they’ll give her three months, until their 30th wedding anniversary, to find a husband on her own terms. But if she fails, they’ll take over and arrange her marriage for her.
With the stakes set, Leila succumbs to the impossible mission of satisfying her parents’ expectations, while also fulfilling her own western ideals of love. But after a series of speed dates, blind dates, online dates and even ambush dates, the sparks just don’t fly! And now, with the marriage clock ticking, and her 3-month deadline looming in the horizon, Leila must face the consequences of what might happen if she doesn’t find “the one…”
I’m not very familiar with Indian culture (I know about Bollywood, of course, but I haven’t seen any of the movies) and so I was completely interested in this book from the moment I knew it existed. I loved Leila’s dilemma between being American and being Indian, and the way that she felt part of both cultures and paradoxically neither. Her fully American friends didn’t understand the way that she felt compelled to listen to her parents’ wishes (OK, let’s be fully honest here: her parents’ demands) that she get married sooner rather than later.
And this is the set-up for a romantic comedy if ever there was one, right? Trying to find love before you have to see what your parents line up for you? Because there is no way that your parents have the same criteria you have.
I love Leila’s parents, too, and their relationship. (It was an arranged marriage and they only fell in love afterwards. In this book and for this relationship, it seems so sweet and so romantic—yes, I know it can turn out horribly; don’t @ me.)
This is a charming read and it made my face hurt from smiling. (Also the ending had me practically cheering.) Recommended.