Monday, July 24, 2017

When Dimple Met Rishi

*This post contains affiliate links ~ I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*
This entire week I'm giving you book reviews! I know, it doesn't sound exciting, but it is! I'm going to be featuring different genres and books geared towards young adult and middle school age kids, so please keep checking back. If you are in a reading slump and need some new reads I'll have a few I think you should check out.

When Dimple Met Rishi - Sandhya Menon

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways. 

I have a pretty funny story on how this book arrived to me, first of all. So it was early evening when I had a knock on my back door and my kids all scream, "MOM! THE POLICE ARE HERE!!" Not knowing what the heck was happening, I answer the door. 
The very nice police officer informs me that a package for me was delivered to the wrong address by the post office (no shocker, back then I had a really awful, lazy mail carrier) and the person who received it was "alarmed" and thought perhaps it was something illegal, possibly related to terrorists. The police officer looked my name up and said he would deliver it and found me, and this blog, easily through a Google search so he didn't think I was a terrorist. He was inherently curious as to what was in the package though, so I said it's probably a book, look at the return address, it's a publishing house. But I open it anyways and it's this book! The look on his face when he see it was a book but one with a woman who looks of Middle Eastern decent? 

Hilarious. Totally hilarious. 

And no, I'm too lazy to be a terrorist but thank YOU, concerned fellow citizen. HA! 

Anyways. Let's talk about the book! 

This is kind of an interesting YA novel about two kids fresh out of high school, ready to start their lives, but at very different points of doing so. We have Dimple, who was born in America to parents who are from Mumbai and her parents try so hard to get her to live in their traditions, and appreciate her culture, except Dimple is from America- her culture is American. That statement alone is totally upsetting to her mother who is dead set on Dimple finding a nice Indian boy to marry, sooner rather than later. While her parents aren't exactly stopping her from going to college and enriching herself academically, they are plotting behind her back to meet Rishi. 

Rishi follows the traditions of his culture and has agreed to meet Dimple, under the assumption she's game for this as well. I think he really wishes he were more like Dimple but he isn't, he's following tradition because that's just what you do. 

It's a cute book that stands out in the bookstore because the cover is amazing, the description and author bio jump out at you, but my issue is that it was just.. OK. I'm giving this book 3/5 stars and only because I think that the book covers the generational gap really well and I think a lot of readers can relate to it, even if you don't have foreign parents. I think we all, in some way, have those moments where we feel like our parents don't understand us because times are different. I can't give this book it's fourth star because Dimple as a character is really... she's awful. She has such a dislike for everything and everyone and frankly, is not a character I would want my daughter emulating. Adolescent attitude aside, there's a part in the book where she waits in line just to throw an ice coffee on someone. 


Secondly, there's another part where Dimple actually punches Rishi and I get how it's downplayed in the book but in my head I couldn't help but think- really? Is this really how we would want our daughters to treat someone? Absolutely not. I take serious issue with downplaying any kind of domestic violence as light hearted or something a character does offhand. Can  you imagine if a male character did that to a woman? It would be an issue, so that really bothered me. 

I wanted to much to love this book because I'm fascinated by the Indian culture it promised and I wanted this to almost be like a modern Romeo & Juliet minus the suicides, but it didn't get there for me. But the discussion about the generation gap and arranged marriages in modern society was interesting and that's what is giving it the 3/5 stars versus 2/5. I can't think of another book like it at my local bookstore so we have to give it props for being one of a kind. 

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