Hello/salaams everyone, welcome back to my blog! First book review of 2021 – woohoo! This is definitely an interesting one that I’ve heard about for a while. I was actually quite excited going into it and didn’t have particularly high expectations other than the fact that I was expecting to find it hilarious (it’s in the title), entertaining and relatable (it’s about life in a hijab… and my life is in a hijab… so really it makes sense). So let’s discuss!
Title: Yes, I’m Hot in This: The Hilarious Truth about Life in a Hijab
Author: Huda Fahmy
Genre: Graphic novels, humour, religion (Islam)
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐⭐
This book started off really strong. I found it really funny and straight away had a great liking to the narrator and protagonist (Huda herself) who seems simultaneously resigned, frustrated and quite frankly annoyed about the constant ignorant comments she receives regarding her hijab as well as her faith, Islam, as a whole.
This book definitely addressed some important aspects, mainly the whole, “but where are you really from?” question which is mentioned many times and is something that I was definitely able to relate to growing up in the Middle East, where there were a wide range of people from different cultures and backgrounds, and the number one question I got from people as soon as I met them (and something I as a young child noticed straight away) was “where are you from?” and when I would respond, “England/Britain” that would 100% be followed up with a, “but where are you really from?” which I found extremely irritating. I also had people outright not believe that I was from England, and that I was lying… I don’t think you need me to tell you how utterly insulting and racist that is. One particular incident that stood out to me was when a girl in my class came up to me and said, “you’re always lying! First you said you’re from England and now you say you’re from London!”
There are so many relatable experiences mentioned! One of the first issues tackled in this book is the butchering of Muslim names, and this one hits closer to home than anything else. I have had people say/pronounce my name in the most RIDICULOUS ways… sometimes the only response is sad laughter. I do appreciate that some people really do genuinely want to say your name properly. I have to admit, I have resorted to a watered down, easily swallowable version of my name (either a nickname or easy but not so accurate pronunciation) to people who I know won’t be to pronounce it properly… it doesn’t bother me too much because I understand some people just don’t have the pronunciation – but for a name as simple as “Huda”, I’m sorry that’s just inexcusable! I think teachers just see my name on the register and panic hehe. In my class at school, I’ve had this same girl ask what my last name is on three different occasions (she probably forgot she asked me before) and expecting some super complicated Arabic/exotic sounding name (my surname is pretty basic) she would always respond with a disappointed “oh!” I felt embarrassed for her lol.
I was once asked by a girl if I wear my hijab in the shower and having never heard of that being asked before, I was shocked and couldn’t stop making fun of how preposterous the thought was to me. I also TOTALLY relate to having so many different hijabs but only sticking to one colour… black hijabs are my favourite simply because black goes with everything and I feel like it just suits me better and always looks smart. I also can relate to the anxiety that praying in public brings! I’ve prayed in public on numerous occasions, simply out of necessity, and I never felt comfortable without a few of my friends or family standing or sitting around me.
I mean, I could go on… there were many things where the author really hit the nail on the head and years of frustration inside of me was just screaming, “yes! Thank you! I feel heard!” and paired with the comics and jokes, for the most part it was a funny and entertaining read and I definitely laughed out loud a few times.
However, one thing I didn’t like so much was how repetitive the book by the middle/towards the end. Sometimes it just seemed to me that I was reading the same joke/point recycled in an altered situation and I felt like I was reading the same thing and over and over again (the “where are you really from” was one I particularly remember I kept coming across). The repetition towards the end also made it a tad bit boring. I feel like this book didn’t need to have been as long as it was, and maybe the shortened length would’ve increased the punch a little bit.
The book is also meant to be about “life in a hijab” however there were some stuff that were included that was just completely irrelevant to hijab and being a Muslim woman (for example, a few awkward mentions of upper lip hair) where I just couldn’t see the point as to why they were mentioned. I felt like the author was throwing it in for some added humour, but personally it just left me feeling a little confused. I think whether you will enjoy this book or not does also depend a lot on your sense of humour, if your sense of humour does not align with the humour of this book, you may very well end up hating it.
My favourite part of the book was the Muslim horror movie versions at the end… I found them so hilarious!
All in all, I did really enjoy this book – and I would highly recommend! I think it’s a great and fun way for anyone who isn’t Muslim to learn more about the common misconceptions people have about Muslims and gain insight as to what it’s like having to live with all these misconceptions thrown at you on a daily basis, as a Muslim.
What do you guys think about this review, and this book in general? If you’re a Muslim hijabi, how relatable did you find this? If you’ve read the author’s next book on marriage, would you recommend it?
Speak soon!! 🙂