Book Review: “Finding Mr. Perfectly Fine” 

Imagine being 29–years-old and a single woman. It sounds okay, right? But, imagine being a 29-year-old Bengali single woman. That is a whole other story especially when growing up in a traditional Bengali household. In “Finding Mr. Perfectly Fine” by Tasneem Abdur-Rasheed, published by Zaffre Books this year, Zara turned 29 and her mother gave her something more than just a present; she gave her an ultimatum: find someone to marry before her 30th birthday or get married to someone of her mother’s choosing, in Bangladesh. However, it sounded to Zara more like a threat than an ultimatum. 

Nevertheless, Zara felt pressured into finding the one. It’s not that she didn’t want to fall in love and get married. Actually, the idea sounded kind of nice. Thus, with the help of her sisters, Yas and Amina, she joined dating apps, a speed-dating night and put herself out there at functions with family and friends, all in the hopes of finding, if not “Mr. Right,” then at least… a “Mr. Alright,” or a “Mr. Perfectly Fine.”

During one such occasion, Zara met Hamza, an Egyptian American with a sense of humor she could get used to! The key words here are “get used to” because although he was funny, a perfect gentleman and shared a lot of common values with Zara, there was something holding her back. Could it have been that she had been feeling the pressure from her mother’s ultimatum? Could it have been that she had been meeting other potential grooms at the same time as she had been spending time with Hamza? Could it have been that she was just, plain, nervous? Could it have been something…someone, from her past, holding her back? 

Despite all of Zara’s personal emotional struggles and coming to terms with this ultimatum or rather, “threat,” she did everything she could to try to find a husband. The reader also encounters her battle against age-shaming and body-shaming. The reader senses her frustration, her tears and her moments of hope. 

There were lots of moments in the book that I found myself laughing out-loud! As a Bengali-Muslim, myself, I could relate to Zara’s wrestle with Bengali social decorum and social pressures as a result of cultural norms. As a woman, I could relate to Zara’s fight for becoming a more independent woman of her day and age. The story hooked me to the point that I read it from cover to cover within a span of three days and that’s because I am a mother of three with two different careers; otherwise, I would have binge-read it in a day! Tasneem certainly has a way with words and an extraordinary sense of humor given the circumstances of the plot. Dive into Zara’s quest on “Finding Mr. Perfectly Fine” today.

Rumki Chowdhury
Rumki Chowdhury

ONLINE ASSISTANT EDITOR FOR HAYATI MAGAZINE, PUBLISHED AUTHOR, POET AND JOURNALIST WITH AN MA IN ENGLISH LITERATURE. BORN IN BANGLADESH, RAISED IN USA, LIVED AND STUDIED IN UK AND NOW, AN ENGLISH TEACHER IN SWEDEN. ALSO, MARRIED AND MOTHER OF THREE DAUGHTERS.

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