Shamim Sarif’s novel, I CAN’T THINK STRAIGHT, focuses on several issues that are close to my heart: love, friendship, and families. Many of us can relate to these topics on some level, even if the main characters come from different backgrounds.
Tala is a Palestinian who lives in London. In the opening pages, she’s preparing for her engagement party. This isn’t the first time she’s been engaged and Tala’s mother and sister fear that she might blow this opportunity again. Tala loves the man she’s engaged to, but feels like something is missing.
Leyla, a British Indian woman, is also involved in a relationship with a man. Again, she likes him, but doesn’t feel the spark.
When Tala and Leyla meet there’s an attraction, but neither can put their finger on it right away.
This is a sweet romance between two women torn between their feelings and family obligations. While their mothers love them, at least I think they do, they also have traditional values. For them, getting married to a man is a fact of life. Both of the mothers care a lot about their traditional values and what others will think. And they want their daughters taken care of. They worry like most mothers.
The daughters are free-spirited. They just have to realize it. And act on it. It’s one thing to admit to yourself the truth. It’s a whole new ballgame to proclaim it to the world.
This novel takes the reader on an emotional roller-coaster. There’s happiness, love, pain, and loss. What shines through is the beauty of relationships, whether they are romantic, family, or friendly.