by Huda Fahmy
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publication Date: March 10, 2020
Genres: Graphic Novel, Non-Fiction
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Chaperones, suitors, and arranged marriages aren't only reserved for the heroines of a Jane Austen novel. They're just another walk in the park for this leading lady, who is on a mission to find her leading lad. From the brilliant comics Yes, I'm Hot in This, Huda Fahmy tells the hilarious story of how she met and married her husband. Navigating mismatched suitors, gossiping aunties, and societal expectations for Muslim women, That Can Be Arranged deftly and hilariously reveals to readers what it can be like to find a husband as an observant Muslim woman in the twenty-first century.
So relevant in today's evolving cultural climate, Fahmy's story offers a perceptive and personal glimpse into the sometimes sticky but ultimately rewarding balance of independent choice and tradition.
This is a sweet memoir that starts with Huda’s childhood her introduction to Muslim courtship customs and ends with her marriage a few weeks before she turns 26. In between, we learn about her hopes (that she won’t turn into an elderly cat lady) and dreams (how to find the perfect husband??) as well as see some of the, well, not-so-successful suitors.
Huda, an English major who admits she read a very large amount of Jane Austen, compares Muslim courtship to Austen-era courtship, and while it leads to several funny running gags, it’s also a pretty apt comparison. It’s a very different process than typical American dating (chaperones and the amount of parental involvement were the two that really made me raise my eyebrows), but Huda does a good job explaining why it’s important to her. She doesn’t shy away from both the pitfalls of the process (how to even meet guys?) and the strengths (avoiding getting involved in a relationship just for the sake of being in a relationship). So, while it’s very different from my experience in some ways, in others, not so much!
I really liked the advice she got from a sheikh. When she tells him about her checklist of what she wants in a husband, he gently points out that she wouldn’t pass her own checklist (fluent in Arabic, memorized the Quran, etc), and that she should look for someone at the same level who wants to grow together. Good advice for anyone, I think.
The art style is simple but colorful, and the faces are hilariously expressive. My one criticism is that it wasn’t fully “illustrated” – most pages would have a paragraph or two of text at the top of the page followed by a drawing. I wish all of the text could have been incorporated into the images, as the differences in style between the two fonts was pretty jarring.
Overall, I found this a fascinating and sweet glimpse into a different culture’s view of romance. I’ll definitely be looking up her previous book!