Looking for a hilarious follow-up to Yes, I’m Hot in This? Huda Fahmy’s second book of comics, That Can Be Arranged, is just as funny and relatable. This one tells the story of how she met her husband and got married; it explores how Muslims who don’t date still manage to get to know their prospective spouse before tying the knot.
The story begins when Huda is five years old and ends at her wedding. In between, she describes the evolution of her feelings about finding a life partner—romantic idealism, desperation, taking things into her own hands, having standards, exercising patience, and finally, understanding qadar.
What makes this book so relatable to insiders is her no-holds-barred discussion of the community quirks that plague us all—expiration dates for young women (25 in some communities), the men to be wary of (including but not limited to “the Yes Man,” “the Visa,” and “the Dude-Bro”), bio-datas, and the aunties hunting marriageable young women at weddings and (mostly metaphorically) shouting “Bride ahoy!”
For outsiders, this book also offers an informative peak into how two people find a life partner without dating. Fahmy makes it clear that Islam is not a monolith and that this is a Muslim love story but not the only one. She explains the rules of gender interactions as well as things like kitab and walima.
Personally, one of my favorite things about this book is the way she shows that her parents’ involvement in the process is useful and welcome. Another favorite for me (obviously) is the comparison to Jane Austen—the nosy moms, the balls, the dowries, the chaperones, and the codes of conduct for interactions.
The best thing about Fahmy’s writing (and drawing) is that she is super real. She’s willing to spill it all out on the table, where we can gather around, see glimpses of our own lives, and share in the joy of both laughing at ourselves a little and appreciating a culture that is uniquely ours.
Here she is on NPR talking about the book.