Huffington Post Review

Review by Claire Chambers in the Huffington Post


You're Not Proper
Tariq Mehmood
Her dad is Pakistani and her mother is white Christian, and somehow she feels as if she doesn't quite fit in.

Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781908446305 
Published: March 2015

Format: eBook
ISBN: 9781908446374
Published: March 2015

Excerpt of You're Not Proper book review 

You're Not Proper, Mehmood's first YA novel, is partly a conversion story and partly aimed at girls who are on the receiving end of Islamophobia. Unsurprisingly, though, given the author's history, it is political through and through. As another reviewer of the book points out, this is a welcome angle, since there aren't 'many books on the same subject' of young Muslim girls in Britain.

14-year-old Kiran (her name means 'light') is a member of the Willow Tree Mob. This is a gang from Boarhead West, the white side of a divided, declining former mill town that may stand in for Mehmood's home city of Bradford or could also be a Lancastrian town like Rochdale. Kiran is the daughter of a Pakistani-heritage Manchester United fanatic, Liaqat ('Lucky') Malik, and a depressed white mother. At the beginning of the novel, she prefers to be known by her English name 'Karen'. As Karen, she spends her days texting, listening to Lady Gaga, hanging out with her friends Jake and Donna, and occasionally drinking alcohol and laughing at 'scarfies, turbans and beards'.

Shade to Kiran's light, Shamshad is one of the so-called 'scarfies' from East Boarhead. She is the hijab-wearing daughter of an austere Deobandi father who forbids pictures and photographs from being displayed in the family home. Despite this prohibition, Shamshad's mother has discovered Skype and monopolizes the computer for long, gossipy conversations about land, goats and people with her loved ones in Pakistan. 
Claire Chambers, Lecturer in Global Literature at the University of York. 

Tariq Mehmood is an award winning writer and film-maker. His books include Hand On The Sun (Penguin) and While There Is Light, . He co-directed the award-winning documentary Injustice. Tariq currently teaches at the American University of Beirut, in Lebanon and lives in Beirut and Manchester

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