A South Asian Muslim woman who grew up in Los Angeles has three months to find a husband before her parents plan to arrange a marriage for her.
Leila Abid is the American-born daughter of Indian parents who have been happily married for almost 30 years. At 26, nondrinking Leila has been enjoying her quiet routine—work, regular Tuesday night hangouts with her friends—and everything in her life has unfolded nicely. Even if she is still living with her parents. But when her parents announce that they will arrange her marriage because of her advanced age, she negotiates a three-month reprieve while she looks for a suitable Muslim man to marry who makes both her and her parents happy. She is not a traditional South Asian Muslim, and her American independence is not something she's willing to compromise on despite her interest in a grand Bollywood-esque love story, as she continually tells herself, her family, and her friends. Leila’s thought processes as she grapples with who she is, who her parents are, and what it means to be a Muslim woman jostle for narrative attention in between a series of awkward and uncomfortable dates. The first half of the book is choppy and repetitive while Leila is in Los Angeles, but when she travels to India with her mother for a cousin’s wedding, the story settles into itself and the lush heat, rich food, and sense of community that surrounds the three-day nuptials. Unfortunately, Leila’s final decision packs little punch.
Readers expecting a typical fairy-tale ending will be surprised.