Shamim Sarif’s I Can’t Think Straight, published 2008, filmed also in 2008, is a delightful romance that’s wonderfully written and full of humour. Leyla is a London girl with Indian ancestry, and Tala is from a wealthy Christian family in Jordan with Palestinian origin. The story is very revealing about religion and culture in a way that is serious but often also a source of humour. The book had me laughing out loud frequently.
‘What do two women do together?’ she said. …
‘Knit?’ offered Yasmin. ‘Make jam?’
‘It’s not natural,’ Maya offered.
‘Jam-making? I agree. Not when you can buy a decent jar for a couple of quid. All that peeling and boiling. And what is pectin anyway?’
At the start, both women are in denial of their true sexual orientation, Tala getting engaged for the fourth time and Leyla dating also. Their boyfriends are good, honest men, practically perfect, but the women don’t feel any passion for them. But then they meet each other, and there is no longer any denying what they feel…
She swallowed and tried to cover her emotion – these newly naked, uncontrolled feelings were embarrassing and ridiculous. She seemed to walk around all day on the point of tears – the lightest, most unexpected sensory touch could arouse her to crying.
I watched the film a year ago and loved it. I have finally got around to reading the book, and my memories of the film are vague enough that the book is full of discovery, but the film certainly influences the way I imagine places and people in the story. I would actually recommend that people watch the film before reading the book, although this is not necessary.
Both film and book have their faults, and I almost feel I should take a star from each, but ultimately I enjoyed them so much for so many different reasons that it would be churlish to do so.
★★★★★ (Film & Book)