I want to start off this review by saying that I got an Arc of How We Met by Huma Qureshi through Net Galley. If you have a Kindle then Net Galley is one of the best places to get new releases you want to read even if they are uncorrected or not proofed.
Coming back this memoir, I think this is the perfect book to read when you’re looking to relax with a cup of a hot beverage of your choosing, with some calming music and just to feel time pass by while reading a good book.
How We Met by Huma Qureshi is the story of how a British Pakistani woman found love and acceptance in a man who didn’t check any boxes of what her family would accept or what her traditional upbringing had taught. When you’re raised as a child of an immigrant from the East in the West, there is this strong fear parents feel when it comes to making sure they ingrain all cultural norms and religious beliefs in their children.
This leads to many hostile/awkward situations, rebellions, identity crisis and an unexplored terrain of possibilities all because of things like “what will people say” “it is not our culture” and more.
“… if the pressure to be perfect was not so intense, perhaps the more difficult stages of life, the more difficult conversations we’ve had, might have been easier for us both to navigate.”
Huma Qureshi explores these issues with her soft and beautiful writing that lays down how she found love in an English man who wasn’t even Muslim in the beginning let alone desi. She talks about the stereotypes and gossip mill that run in South Asian families living in the UK and how even though you’re in the UK you have to act and behave like you’re not.
Many times I found myself surprised to see my own feelings and thoughts laid out by the author in ways I might not have been able to capture the sensitivity and helplessness that comes with issues regarding age, marriage, rifts with parents and more.
There was such a delicate and gentle touch with which she talked about her parents, her father’s passing and making family come round to her husband that it was such a breath of fresh air to read a story that isn’t your stereotypical memoir or story pandering towards established stereotypes.
“… that doesn’t mean that stories like mine, everyday stories of falling in love and growing up, arguing with your parents and then making up, sadness and joy and life in all its shades and nuances, the moments that give meaning to life, don’t deserve to be told.”
You see, the things she talks about the feelings she has they aren’t exaggerated or oppressed or western. These are actual issues for people that grow up as “third culture kids” or “children of immigrants born in the West but need to stick in the East” face and often result in heartache or sadness.
But really, How We Met by Huma Qureshi is such a well written, beautifully laid out memoir that touches on every issue a girl faces when she reaches “that age of marriage” in our society. What I loved the most about this memoir was how the author didn’t shy away from stating things as they were in our desi society but also not giving claiming that things can’t be changed.
There wasn’t any exaggeration or dramatization of family rifts or differences. In fact, despite the pushback Huma Qureshi’s memoir shows that most of the time our parents are trying their best to come to terms with our decisions. No matter how slow or fast the process can look like.
However How We Met isn’t just about finding the one!
“I guess you could say I met myself before I met him”
It also is about finding and meeting yourself. After trying to fit into society and going by the book in hopes of being accepted, Huma finds that not only was she being dishonest to herself but her ambitions in life as well.
To hear her talk how she got into a major media publication, working on opinion pieces, and being recognized in her field, was amazing to know. There are so many challenges we face that we can easily overcome, so many achievements that we might ignore just because one part of our life isn’t going to plan as we or our parents thought.
And so How We Met isn’t just about Qureshi meeting her husband, but also herself.
Now all we need in part 2 of this book, because there is so much more I’d like to know and read in her words.
Onto the basics:
- Rating: 5.0/5.0
- Would I read it again: Absolutely!
- Reader Level: Fairly easy. you’ll be done with it in one sitting.
- Should you read it: as a young woman or man feeling confused in their twenties, this will be a nod to the fact that you’re not alone.
Till next time,