Title: The Other Half of Happiness
Author: Ayisha Malik
Page Count/Review Word Count: 442
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.
I’m already somewhat familiar with Malik’s work, because I’ve already read and reviewed her first book, Sofia Khan is Not Obliged. It was described as the Muslim Bridget Jones, but I’ve never read the Helen Fielding book or watched the Reece Witherspoon movie, so I like to think that I have a relatively clean palette for this.
The accompanying information with this, the sequel, described it variously as a book that “will resonate with any woman who’s looking for love” and “the feminist romantic comedy you’ve been waiting for”. Now, I don’t know about that – for the record, I’m pretty sure I’m basically a post-feminist – but I do know a good story when I read it, and I couldn’t give a damn about the genre or whatever labels you want to put on it. Yes, it has elements of romance. But it also has plenty of drama. Name a good book that doesn’t.
I think it’s easy to classify books like this as belonging to one genre or another, but I also think that the very best authors manage to merge a few of them together. Stephen King, for example, is thought of primarily as a horror writer, but that’s not all he is. Likewise, Malik is a romance writer, but not really. She just writes about life, and let’s face it – what is life without a little romance?
Now, you might have noticed that I’ve avoided going into detail when it comes to the plot. That’s largely because a lot of it relies upon what happened in the first book. What I will say, though, is that the plot flowed smoothly between the two instalments, and that there’s plenty of character growth still happening, which is always a worry when writers get to their second book. For example, Sofia’s mother always drove me up the wall, which is pretty much the point of her. That continued throughout the first book, but in the second, I started to come round. I wouldn’t exactly say that I like her, but I do have a lot of respect for her.
Overall, then, I think this is a good sequel to a good book, and I get the feeling that Malik isn’t finished yet. Sure, it’s not for everyone, but I think that if you’re a free-thinking sort of reader with no real preference when it comes to genres, there’s plenty to enjoy.