Publisher: Enlightenment Productions (Author’s company)
Tala, a London-based Palestinian, is preparing for her elaborate Middle Eastern wedding when she meets Leyla, a young British Indian woman who is dating her best friend.
Spirited Christian Tala and shy Muslim Leyla could not be more different from each other, but the attraction is immediate and goes deeper than friendship. As Tala’s wedding day approaches, simmering tensions come to boiling point and the pressure mounts for Tala to be true to herself.
Moving between the vast enclaves of Middle Eastern high society and the stunning backdrop of London’s West End, I Can’t Think Straight explores the clashes between East and West, love and marriage, conventions and individuality, creating a humorous and tender story of unexpected love and unusual freedoms.
[Originally posted on Amazon 10/18/09]
I always enjoy reading books about other cultures, especially lesbians in other cultures, and that is the real strongpoint of this book. The story itself isn’t unusual; girl meets girl, girls fall for each other, girls have a hard time accepting they’re lesbian, things happen, do they get a happy ending?
What adds depth and texture to the story is the conflict of cultures and religions. The characters are well-drawn with distinct personalities. Sarif writes in a way that you feel the two women being naturally and realistically (if quickly, as is typical for romances) drawn to each other, rather than the attraction being artificially forced by the author as in so many of the lesbian books I’ve read recently. The book is decently paced with realistic conflicts, both internal and external.
I Can’t Think Straight isn’t a great lesbian romance, but it doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses and was a pleasurable read. So if you’re looking for something a bit different than the usual European-American falls in love with another European-American give this one a try for a refreshing change of pace.
Kindle Note: I don’t know if these errors are specific to the ebook or appear in the paper book also, I suspect they are in both. There is inconsistent use of quote marks, sometimes they are double and sometimes single. There are a few typo types of misspellings. It appears that the author changed the names of several characters during the writing, but not all instances in the finished book were changed, so occasionally the wrong name is used for a character which is a bit disconcerting.