"You can't choose who you fall in love with, they say. If only it were that simple". Award-winning short story writer and journalist Qureshi grew up in Walsall in a loving south Asian family, with parents who supported her career aspirations but also wanted to see her well-married. After meeting a number of "suitable" suitors, she fell in love with a man who was neither Pakistani, Muslim or brown. So not "suitable" at all. A wise memoir about family, finding your own path, and finding someone who suits your own idea of love, not someone else's.
Qureshi sees the humour in these episodes, but she’s mostly attuned to her own hurt. The Sad Girl Years is how she describes the period when she’s living in London and working at the Observer. Friends of hers have places they’ve bought, far better salaries, a sense of direction; she has a room not far from Beckton Sewage Treatment Works, feels undervalued by her bosses, and is slowly being eaten up by grief. At work events, “I frequently felt as though I was looking in from the outside, a moth batting against a window before falling away.” Fearful of messing things up in the office during the day, microwaving baked potatoes alone in the evenings, feeling at once blurry and raw, “My reflection a weird stranger on the Tube”: many readers will recognise their 20-something selves in these passages.