“Filming is the way I see things. Really see them. I can capture what is important to me at a particular moment. That way, I keep it forever.”
Blurb: “Maya Aziz dreams of being a film maker in New York. Her family have other ideas. They want her to be a dutiful daughter who wears gold jewellery and high heels and trains to be a doctor. But jewellery and heels are so uncomfortable . . . She’s also caught between the guy she SHOULD like and the guy she DOES like. But she doesn’t want to let Kareem down and things with Phil would never work out anyway. Would they? Then a suicide bomber who shares her last name strikes in a city hundreds of miles away and everything changes . . .”
I can never tell if I am going to like contemporary books or not so, rather unfairly, I always go in with really low expectations. I’d heard a lot about this book so also worried that the hype may play a factor. But I didn’t need to worry so much because this book is actually really good.
The reader meets the protagonist, Maya, at a really turbulent point in her life: she’s trying to get through high school, applying to colleges and facing ever growing pressure from her parents to find the “perfect Indian boy.” From the outset her voice was so strong that it’s just impossible not to feel for some of the situations she finds herself in. Maya is really into films and takes her camera literally everywhere with her, describing it as her “shield” and this is an aspect of her character that I could personally relate to: she has a passion for something creative that some of her family don’t see as a feasible career and try to dissuade her from going ahead with it. But Maya has a strong mindset of what she wants to do and isn’t budging. I’ve faced something similar in my own life so seeing that play out in this book was all too much like reading my own story.
I’m not normally one for love triangles but I actually didn’t mind it. Phil is a white boy that Maya has crushed on forever and Kareem is the ideal match in her parent’s eyes. Each relationship was based on something different and I really liked how both of the boys fuelled a different side of her and that Maya was able to open up to them about her life in different ways.
We’re in a politically difficult time with the rise of terror attacks and Islamaphobia which is something that Ahmed addresses in the introduction of this book and why she feels representation is important. The latter half of this book focuses on the terrible racism Maya is subjected to after a terror attack happens and some of the scenes are really difficult and horrible to read. Even more so when we remember that this happening outside of a fictional setting.
However, it just felt like there was too much of a disconnect between the love triangle aspect and the thread I just mentioned. Which could be argued as “that’s how life happens it’s not entirely focused on one thing” but it felt like the story took a sudden jump which was just a bit disorientating.
Overall, Love, Hate & Other Filters is a book that will remind readers what it feels like to fall in love and the importance of standing up to injustice.
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