I went into this book recommended heavily by Jyoti Patel – and was immediately enticed by the story of Mohsin Zaidi, a gay British-Pakistani growing up in East London and discovering who he is. From his childhood to adulthood, Zaidi’s memoir goes through his life and he writes in such depth that it easily sets the scene to readers and explains how he mentally copes with finding his identity.
I think what strikes me about this book is the journey Zaidi takes you on with ease despite the emotion he pours into his writing. From young while watching entertainment that lightly touched on LGBTQIA+ to freely coming to be who he was in university.
I really felt for him when he told his family one by one, including his mum and I can’t imagine what it must have felt like but reading it was heart-jerking. A Dutiful Boy is a powerful book that I would warmly recommend, it’s not gruesome but has points where people who have been through bullying and family divide might resonate with. But its an important book of our ages, and there’s a quote in the epilogue that I wholeheartedly agree with:
The dish that I paired with this book is Palak Paneer (otherwise known as a spinach and cottage cheese curry). In the later chapters, Zaidi mentions that his mum used to make this dish for him when he need comforting. The recipe from Priya’s blog, The Girl Next Door is a perfect one to follow making Palak Paneer, with a ranking of level 3 as recommended by Priya. It can be found here.