This book, Desi Distancing is a satirical sociography meant to make you laugh but also realize the bad happening around us, to us and maybe by us too. The author has recounted incidents, moments, days from her life growing up and observing the society she lived in. The book has a humorous and light narration style, no confusing analogies, just relatable events and people we encounter on a daily basis.
Sarah Fawad is a Master’s in English literature, a blogger and a well-known satirist who resides in Karachi, Pakistan. She writes about societal issues in a humorous way, to convey a message and make her readers laugh, simultaneously. She is also a mother of three and writes about everyday struggles a young mother faces in her society.
This is her second book, the first, ‘How (not) to be a good Housewife’ was published in collaboration with Juggernaut Books, India in 2018.
Muhammad Ali Samejo (verified owner) –
Do I even dare?
Trust me, I so want to review this book, and at the same time I’m scared to review it. It’s not that I can’t, that’s not even a problem. But at the same time, describing the impact a book leaves on people can be difficult, and that’s exactly what’s happened here with Desi Distancing. So, let’s take it one step at the time, then.
First, the title. This is what really hooked me, because I could understand exactly what the author wanted to accomplish. Being an introvert myself, I find it incredibly challenging to navigate through the murky waters of desi society, and often use my excuse of social awkwardness to avoid such interactions altogether. That doesn’t mean other people don’t suffer through them, and this title is bound to catch the attention of even a non-reader and make them wonder: “I can so relate to that.”
Add to it the absolutely groovy cover design with all the brightest colors that make it a vividly alluring treat. The artwork looks incredibly artsy like a comic book and depicts it to be fun and amusing at first. Then the subtle messages in the artwork itself show that the author and illustrator paid extra special attention to ensure the real tone of the book would be communicated to anyone and everyone.
Which brings us to the next aspect: the tone. Make no mistake; this isn’t for the faint of heart. I’m talking unfiltered, unrestrained, unapologetic levels of sarcasm and wit that is bound to make you feel relieved and offended. And that is the goal here: to peel off the layers upon layers of quirks and habits we’ve come to take as normal and look for a different person underneath it all. And once those layers do come off, the results may shock you.
How is that tone conveyed? This brings us to the content and writing itself. For one thing, this doesn’t read much like a book in the conventional sense. Which makes it a problem for me, as those who know me will attest, as I had to shut off at least half a dozen OCDs just to not start correcting the grammar and punctuation. Heck, I’d even do a free proofread at this point, but that’s not how this book was supposed to be portrayed. As an amalgamation of English and Urdu, this book is ideally suited for a more social-media savvy reader, with its mixed-language phrases and short paragraphs, and those twitter-screenshot-message like bits of quotations that hit right in the feels. Not to mention the desi phrases, expressions, thoughts, and quotations from all the random uncles and aunties, and extended family members, and frienemies who are featured heavily and with no regrets whatsoever.
But the in-your-face tone is just the first half of every single issue that’s covered here. Because highlighting the issues isn’t the only goal, and certainly not how one is going to peel the layers off. No, there have to be solutions or workarounds or at least realizations to these problems at hand. Woes everyone is familiar with such as bullying, shaming, patriarchy, sexism, apathy, deceptions, character assassination, gossiping, parenting and in-lawing, (lol, love that one!) judgmental behavior and what have you, are dealt with observations, real-life examples and recommendations that will make you either nod your head in agreement or grab flaming torches and pitchforks in an angry mob. Either way, the book makes the desired impact.
All in all, this is a fun ride into the inner workings of the world we all know and love, with a dash too much radical honesty for most tastes. And that’s the best part about the whole experience in my opinion, and exactly why I’d recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
Muhammad Saad –
📚 Book Review (Desi Distancing by Sarah Fawad ) 📚
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/ 5
Publishing Year: 2020
Genre: Sociography, Autobiography
Page Count: 100 pages
This book tells us how to stay away from Desi Traditions that have no moral and Islamic Values in the most humorous way possible. Starting from the introduction about herself and her reason to write it, this book extends and discusses every issue that you must have heard or seen living in a Desi Society. It discusses bullying, introverts, social media, woman empowerment issues, pre and post-marriage issues, the in-laws and their behaviour in the funniest way. It also highlights depression and shows that how is it not a joke. The author also gives 5-6 desi-est examples with every concept to help us understand better. Sarah Fawad beautifully explains the philosophies of Socrates and Confucius and also mentions many fictional characters Mr Bean, Voldemort, Tom and Jerry, etc which makes the book even more interesting. The author shows her love for Pakistan too and shows how kind its people are! Her philosophy is that a society can progress if we find its problems and solve them. It is just an overview. The choices of words and the examples used in the book will make you cry due to laughter.
Ok! So, after reading the title of the book, I first thought that it would be a book about western feminism. But NO! I was completely wrong! This book doesn’t just revolve around the title, it is way more than that! In fact, it is the most versatile non-fiction book that I’ve ever read. This book is in two languages because some typical Pakistani one-liners can’t have the same effect if translated into English. I laughed a lot while reading this book. Jokes and lines that we are all familiar with made me hit my hand on my thighs hard and feel as if I had a leg day. The Author also justified everything. Overall it was a great read. A must recommendation for every Pakistani Citizen. It is a very light read and easy to understand.
“Listen to what they are saying, rather than listening to what you think they are saying.”