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My Rating - 3 out of 5 stars

Publisher - 4th Estate
Genre - Romance
Publishing year - 2022
Language - English
ISBN - 978-0-00-855334-0
Pages - 346
Good Intentions by Kasim Ali

Book Review - 

Good Intentions is a debut book by UK-based author Kasim Ali. The story revolves around the love story between Nur and Yasmina and how they navigate through social, religious, and peer pressures. 

The protagonist Nur is an aspiring writer and a Pakistani Muslim. In contrast, Yasmina is a strong Black Sudanese girl. They both met at a party and fell for each other. They were together for four years, but Nur never introduced Yasmina to his family, while Yasmina's parents knew about their relationship.

On the way to becoming a good son, Nur forgets to become a good partner or even a good human being. On the surface, he seems alright, but as the story progresses, one can see that he is part of the problem, not Yasmina or his parents. There were subtle hints of his discriminatory behavior throughout the story. 

He is so afraid to accept Yasmina in public or front of his parents that he creates a bubble in which he judges everyone except himself. He is so good at self-sabotaging things that when someone behaves differently than he expected, it leaves him peccant and overthinking. 

The story has many sides but was told from Nur's point of view. It questions one's moral and ethical foundations and how times change, but people are not. Instead, they stuck with the same mental bigotry notions; for example, Nur's maternal grandmother has no issue with Yasmina because she is at least MUSLIM. 

Imran, Nur's best friend, was forced to leave his home because his parents couldn't accept a gay child. However, they also offer him to stay in the house if he agrees to marry another gay girl from Pakistan; after that, they can do whatever they want, which also saves them from humiliation. 

There are many things in this book that made me realize that no matter where you live or study, if you're not open enough to see the truth, you'll never grow, and this applies to Nur and his whole family. Although, Nur's siblings are praiseworthy. The deception disheartened them, but they came forward to support Nur. 

One more thing that this story deals with is anxiety, panic, and depression. Yasmina's younger sister Hawa and Nur were coping with these issues; they were vulnerable on some days, but on others, they entirely shut themselves, which caused more strain on their relationship with Yasmina. 

I often felt that actual events inspire the story because of the similarities one can find between the main character and the author. However, I didn't enjoy the past and present narration style; there were a few unnecessary chapters, and the ending also left me with bittersweet feelings. Kasim Ali has potential, but he needs to focus on plot building. 

Are you looking for a romance story that revolves around Asian culture or wants to explore what it is like to be a Muslim queer or a Muslim who has to suppress their feelings and always tip-toeing around their families and relatives? 

If your answer is yes, then you should read this book. 

Grab your copy from - Amazon IN Amazon US

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