Raheem, Zara. The Marriage Clock. New York: William Morrow, 2019.
Paperback | $15.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0062877925 | 342 pages | Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit
The Marriage Clock is one of the the best books I’ve read in a while, and as Susan Elizabeth Philips promised I would in the blurb feature on the cover, I ended up gobbling this up more or less in one sitting.
I found Leila’s struggles relatable, as while I’m not South Asian or Muslim, I did recently have a tense conversation with some members about my family about why I’m not married, and mentioning the possibility of arranged marriage, which I scoffed at. I also know what it’s like to be told your expectations are too high, and that maybe I’m not giving myself a chance to meet the right person, even if the circumstances aren’t identical.
As such, I enjoyed seeing her growth as she comes to decide what she really wants, even amid some of the intense cultural expectations. And I appreciate that Raheem imbues a lot of humor into a story tackling such intense topics like double standards for men and women, a clash of cultural ideals, and the reasons both for and against arranged marriage discussed by various characters in the novel.
On that note, there are so many characters that I would love to see more of, given that they all feel so fleshed out. The main one is Tania, who is experiencing the difficulty of dating after divorcing her hand-picked husband. Given that things don’t end on as optimistic a note for her, I’d love to see her story and some commentary on the injustice in the way South Asian women in her situation are treated in their communities.
This is a wonderful debut book, approaching some very relevant topics with a lighthearted touch. I would recommend this to all fans of rom-coms or Bollywood movies.