Love, Hate and Other Filters Book Review

 

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*Major spoilers in the review*

Love, Hate and Other Filters was a book that I have been excited to read since I heard about it last year. I had heard a lot about it being a book about a Muslim teen and that for me was why I was so excited. I would finally see someone who was like me.

This book is about a Americal-Indian Muslim teenage girl, Maya Aziz who while she is in her final year of high school is victim to a hate crime after a terrorist attack happens near her small town. This book tackles some heavy topics, hate crime, islamophobia, racism.

I have such mixed feelings and I’m so torn as I really ¬†wanted to like it but I think my expectations and how it was advertised left me feeling underwhelmed and just not liking the story or characters at all.

I felt like it was basically a fluff romance book for 90% of the time with some islamophobia and hate crime added in. It was also heavily advertised as a Muslim teen book yet Maya neither talks or acts on anything to do with her religion. The way it was advertised I was expecting there to be references that she is Muslim and she makes decisions or is struggling or something to do with her religion. But she never mentions it not even once. Her Indian culture is mentioned in her clothes or food or weddings etc but Indian culture is not the same as her religion.

There is even a scene where she’s at dinner with a boy that her parents have set her up with to meet and he orders wine and then says at least he isn’t eating pork. It can’t be justified by saying he doesn’t eat pork and it’s not even mentioned that just because he is drinking it (that’s his choice) it’s not actually allowed in Islam.

I also didn’t like the insta-love between her and Kareem and then the weird love triangle that continued for the first half of the book. I felt the fluff romance was far too dominating in the book and it just isnt my thing so I was really put off by it.

I also didn’t like Maya, she was a spoiled selfish brat. She was irresponsible and immature and acted like a 12 year old. She snuck around doing things behind her parents back and then was annoyed with her parents when they were upset with her about it. She didn’t tell them that she applied to NYU and when she dithery did eventually agree to let her go. Then after they were victims of a hate crime her parents were scared and changed their minds about letting her go. Instead of trying to maturely speak to them about it, she runs away! I understand that she has her passion and dreams but running away is no way to solve it especially in the middle of her parents dealing with the hate crime and fearing for their safety.

I felt like her parents were unfairly portrayed. She always complained about how her parents never understood her but I never actually read a single moment in which she actually tried to have a conversation and explain anything to them.

And throughout the story I didn’t see much character development aside from her finally telling her parents that she wants to go to NYU.

I also didn’t really see the relevance how the point of view from the bomber was relevant to the story. It was confusing to read and didn’t add to the story.

Okay so I know I’ve spoken a lot about what I didn’t like but I am glad that topics like islamophobia and hate crime are being discussed in books. It is needed, we need diverse books and diverse characters. And I’m glad there are more and more authors who are writing about these topics.

I also liked that there was references to Indian culture and I also really liked Maya’s friend Violet. She was a good and loyal friend. She defended and protected and supported Maya throughout the book. And I do wish we had got to see more of her.

I’m also glad that the author showed how much of an impact a hate crime can have on a family. It made them fear for their safety and how emotionally distressing it was. It showed how unfair it was to hold someone else responsible for a crime someone else commits.

Overall this book wasn’t for me. The advertising made it seem like the book was something it was not and this book was not for me. If you do like stories which has lots of romance then definitely give it a read but it was not my kind of book.

Rating: 2.5/5

 

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Happily Ever After?

A few months before I got married one of my best friends told me, marriage is twice as hard as you think it’s going to be. And she couldn’t have been more right.

Marriage isn’t the fairytale we are taught growing up where they magically live happily ever after. It takes constant hard work to build a strong and successful marriage. There are good days and there are bad days. Ups and downs. Even days where you want to kill each other. It is a huge change in your life and it will take time to adjust and many compromises and meeting at half way points has to be done. When you go from living with your parents and having little responsibilities to have to compromise on many aspects of your life it can be a shock to your system. After that honeymoon period where everything is lovey dovey and reality kicks in that’s when you realise just how much effort you need to put into your marriage to make is a successful one.

Now I’m not saying all this to scare people but many people go into marriage thinking it’s all going to be easy and everything will be just fine and they don’t need to change or make any compromises and that’s how people end up fighting and problems escalate and people get divorced on matters that could have been solved if they had gotten married and been realistic in what marriage will be like.

Both the husband and wife need to make compromises and adapt and change to the changes in their life. It is necessary that they both realise that their lifestyle before marriage will not work now they are married. You have responsibilities towards each other and it is important to understand that each of you must make joint decisions and give each other time and support to adjust to the new lifestyle.

It’s so important that they both take time to understand each other and create an environment where both are comfortable and not feeling suffocated. It is not okay for one person to have to always fulfill responsibilities while the other relaxes and enjoys themselves. Both need to fulfill responsibilities so that both have time to relax and spend some time with each other and family and friends.

Good communication is so important as misunderstandings can happen so easily especially at the beginning of the marriage. Men and women communicate differently and initially it can be difficult to understand what each other are trying to say and it can be easy for your spouse to say something and for you to understand it differently than what they meant. Speaking to each other daily by spending quality time together can help a lot when trying to learn about how the other communicates.
Romance! Keep the romance alive! That spark and excitement that we have in the honeymoon period is so amazing so why let it end after a few weeks? Go on dates, surprise each other with gifts or something that is important to your spouse. Take an interest in their interests and hobbies. Have quality time set aside regularly solely to spend time with your spouse as our busy routines can make us take our spouse for granted.
But I feel the most important thing when you get married is to help , support and encourage each other in our ibadah. Wake each other up for fair, read Quran together sometimes, attend islamic classes together. Improve in your worship and learn how your marriage can help you gain the love of Allah. As really and truly our marriage cannot be successful without the help of Allah.
None of this happens overnight, it needs constant hard work, I have been married for almost a year and we’re still learning about each other and how each other thinks and communicates. This is a reminder to myself first before anyone else. We still have a lot of growing to do in our marriage but we want a successful marriage in the sight of Allah.
And lastly I want to say that before demanding your rights you must fulfil your responsibilities.