Love in a Headscarf: Muslim woman seeks the One (Review)

Book cover for "Love in a Headscarf" by Shelina Zahra Janmohamed.Title: Love in a Headscarf: Muslim woman seeks the One

Author: Shelina Zahra Janmohamed

Publication Year: 2009

Pages: 288

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir

Source: Received as a gift from my friend Therisa back in the fall
From the cover:

‘At the age of thirteen, I knew I was destined to marry John Travolta. One day he would arrive on my North London doorstep, fall madly in love with me and ask me to marry him. Then he would convert to Islam and become a devoted Muslim.’

Shelina is keeping a very surprising secret under her headscarf – she wants to fall in love.

Torn between the Buxom Aunties, romantic comedies and mosque Imams, she decides to follow the arranged-marriage route to finding Mr. Right, Muslim-style. Shelina’s captivating journey begins as a search for the One, but along the way she also discovers her faith and herself.

A memoir with a hilarious twist from one of Britain’s leading female Muslim writers, Love in a Headscarf is an entertaining, fresh and unmissable insight into what it means to be a young British Muslim woman.

All throughout reading Love in a Headscarf, I felt as if I had heard some of these stories before. I think part of this was that I had read some of her articles online, but also, there was just a sense of familiarity that she treated the reader with. It was as if you were one of her friends in whom she was confiding.

On the other hand, there were a few times when I honestly wanted to reach through the pages and grab Janmohamed by the shirt and shake her. Seriously?! Some of the experiences she had with men, or with their families, just made me shake my head. It was as if she was so caught up in trying to find “the One” that she couldn’t see when someone was blatantly treating her or her family with disrespect. Maybe it was just the way she chose to narrate these stories, but it seemed as if sometimes she was completely oblivious.

In the end, Love in a Headscarf is a great memoir about the ups and downs of looking for a mate in a traditional context in a Western society. There were lots of funny, emotional, and poignant moments, but overall, it was much the same as any other memoir about dating and looking for a life partner. I think that’s the strongest point, to be honest: it’s a narrative that’s able to be universally understood even while it touches on the cultural and religious norms of the author.


This book is a part of the Ramadan Reading event happening here this month.

You can find other posts in the series by clicking on the image to the right, or by taking a look at theĀ schedule of posts and reviews.

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