Title : The Marriage Clock
Author : Zara Raheem
Publisher : Harpercollins India / William Morrow
Pages : 368
To Leila Abid’s traditional Indian parents, finding a husband in their South Asian-Muslim American community is as easy as match, meet, marry. But for Leila, a marriage of arrangement clashes with her lifelong dreams of a Bollywood romance which has her convinced that real love happens before marriage, not the other way around.
Finding the right husband was always part of her life-plan, but after 26 years of singledom, even Leila is starting to get nervous. And to make matters worse, her parents are panicking, the neighbors are talking, and she’s wondering, are her expectations just too high? So Leila decides it’s time to stop dreaming and start dating.
She makes a deal with her parents: they’ll give her three months, until their 30th wedding anniversary, to find a husband on her own terms. But if she fails, they’ll take over and arrange her marriage for her.
With the stakes set, Leila succumbs to the impossible mission of satisfying her parents’ expectations, while also fulfilling her own western ideals of love. But after a series of speed dates, blind dates, online dates and even ambush dates, the sparks just don’t fly! And now, with the marriage clock ticking, and her 3-month deadline looming in the horizon, Leila must face the consequences of what might happen if she doesn’t find “the one…”
Half expecting it to be a light hearted romantic comedy, I picked up The Marriage Clock for a light and fun read. Well, the fun part was on point but the rest was completely different from what I thought it would be. This book is much more than a romcom and I’m happy it turned out the way it did. Leila’s parents have given her an ultimatum within which she must find herself a spouse or they will find one for her.
Not undermining any community and showing ample love for her own, the author has beautifully portrayed what it’s like to be the daughter of an Indian Muslim family living in America. While marriage is a sacred ritual, it is tough indeed to settle down when you actually are not ready to. Everything has the right time and anything premature only indebts the future with more mishaps. So balancing between cultures : the one that ties you to your roots and the one in which you were nurtured, and listening to your own lost voice, Leila is just barely able to keep her head above water!
Going on a series of unfortunate dates with a string of men each individually belonging to a motley crew of oddities and weirdos, and suffering the wrath of the so-called “aunties” who are more concerned of her future than their own, Leila kicks and juggles her way through a phase of her life that is equally sensitive and altering.
What I admired the most was the fact that Leila finally realises the value of self worth and learns when to put herself before anything else.
Her aspirations for the perfect Bollywood romance soon gives way to patience for love, for when it comes it sways you off your feet and stays with you forever despite your many setbacks. I literally read this in one sitting and was very happy to find that it had the perfect ending that it deserved! I give it 4 magical stars ❤️