A Stylist pick for best new non-fiction for 2021
“A beautiful, refreshing and honest memoir about family, love, inheritance and loss” – Nikesh Shukla, author ofBrown Baby
“A sweet, touching memoir about family, faith and love. There’s a purity and simplicity to Huma’s writing, as she attempts to reconcile the sprawling weight of expectation with her own desire for a contained but free life. But what does a life on her own terms look like? What even are her own terms? A consolation to others who have trod this very path, enlightening for those of us who haven’t, you’ll be rooting for not just Huma, but for everyone she loves too.” – Pandora Sykes
You can’t choose who you fall in love with, they say.
If only it were that simple.
Growing up in Walsall in the 1990s, Huma straddled two worlds – school and teenage crushes in one, and the expectations and unwritten rules of her family’s south Asian social circle in the other. Reconciling the two was sometimes a tightrope act, but she managed it. Until it came to marriage.
Caught between her family’s concern to see her safely settled down with someone suitable, her own appetite for adventure and a hopeless devotion to romance honed from Georgette Heyer, she seeks temporary refuge in Paris and imagines a future full of possibility. And then her father has a stroke and everything changes.
As Huma learns to focus on herself she begins to realise that searching for a suitor has been masking everything that was wrong in her life: grief for her father, the weight of expectation, and her uncertainty about who she really is. Marriage – arranged or otherwise – can’t be the all-consuming purpose of her life. And then she meets someone. Neither Pakistani nor Muslim nor brown, and therefore technically not suitable at all. When your worlds collide, how do you measure one love against another?
As much as it is about love, How We Met is also about falling out with and misunderstanding each other, and how sometimes even our closest relationships can feel so far away. Warm, wise and ultimately uplifting, this is a coming-of-age story about what it really means to find ‘happy ever after’.
“This beautiful, romantic memoir grabs you from the first page and won’t let you go. Told with heart, wit and quiet restraint, How We Met is the story of how we can transcend the expectations of others and arrange our own happiness in life and in love.” – Viv Groskop