Review: Good Intentions by Kasim Ali

Goodreads | Waterstones

It’s the countdown to midnight on New Year’s Eve and Nur is steeling himself to tell his parents that he’s seeing someone. A young British Pakistani man, Nur has spent years omitting details about his personal life to maintain his image as the golden eldest child. And it’s come at a cost.
Once, Nur was a restless and insecure college student, struggling to present himself after being transplanted from his hometown with only the vaguest sense of ambition. At a packed house party, he meets Yasmina, a beautiful and self-possessed aspiring journalist. They start a conversation–first awkward, then absorbing–that grabs Nur’s attention like never before. And as their relationship develops, moving from libraries and cramped coffee shops to an apartment they share together, so too does Nur’s self-destruction. He falls deeper into traps of his own making, attempting to please both Yasmina and his family until he no longer has a choice. He must finally be honest and reveal to those who raised him the truth he’s kept hidden: Yasmina is Black, and he loves her.

Thank you to the publishers, Harper Collins, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I thought I’d like this book, but I didn’t quite expect to love it as much as I did. I picked this up because it reminded me a little of The Big Sick, which I really enjoyed. This one follows Nur as he struggles to face his parents about his relationship with Yasmina.

This one discusses culture, religion and race in a lot of depth, which was super interesting if a little difficult to read about. It flicks between Nur and Yasmina meeting to present day, where Nur has finally faced his parents and told them about his relationship. Even though we skip months of time in places, I still felt really close to Nur and the other characters.

Sometimes there is an emptiness inside him so large it would take the entire world to fill. 

Even though Nur makes a lot of questionable and regrettable decisions, I couldn’t help but relate to him on many levels. He suffers with anxiety and panic attacks, and I felt like these were quite emotional moments which I related to on a personal level.

There was a lot of discussions of difficult issues outside of this too, including depression and suicidal thoughts. I would have liked to have seen a discussion of therapy, but I did like the focus on friendships and family relationships. I listened to the audiobook of this one and I really enjoyed it, and it was easy to follow between the changing times and years.

It comes and goes as it pleases, triggered by nothing specific.

I must admit I felt really emotional at the end of this book, which I didn’t expect. I’m not 100 percent sure how I felt about the ending, but I will admit it really gave me a lump in my throat. I really enjoyed it overall and would definitely recommend it if it sounds like something you’d enjoy!

CWs: past self harm, racism, anti-Blackness, colourism, past attempted suicide, panic attacks

4 out of 5 stars


May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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