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review 2018-04-15 00:07
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
When Dimple Met Rishi - Sandhya Menon

Dimple Shah has a plan: she's going to attend Insomnia Con and win the grand prize with her app idea, and then she's going to go to Stanford and become an amazing web developer like her idol, Jenny Lindt. She has no desire to get married, despite her parents' wish that she find herself the Ideal Indian Husband.

Rishi Patel is looking forward to meeting his future wife, Dimple Shah, at Insomnia Con. Both his parents and her parents think it's a good match, and Rishi is a devoted son who genuinely likes the idea of an arranged marriage. He has romantic visions of his marriage working out just as wonderfully as his parents' marriage. Sure, his mom beat his dad with an umbrella when they first met because he'd taken her seat on the bus, but they'd eventually fallen in love. Unfortunately, what Rishi doesn't realize is that no one has told Dimple about him.

Oh, this was lovely. So cute and fun.

The scene pictured on the back of the book (at least on my hardcover copy) really does happen. It's Dimple and Rishi's first meeting. Rishi, overly excited about meeting Dimple and thinking she already knew who he was and that he'd be at Insomnia Con too, introduced himself by saying "Hello, future wife. I can't wait to get started on the rest of our lives!" (25) Dimple responded by flinging her iced coffee at him.

Things went better than I expected after that. Rather than being angry at Rishi, Dimple was more upset at her parents for arranging a marriage for her behind her back. She was sympathetic towards Rishi - she saw him as another victim of her parents' decision not to tell her what was going on.

For the most part, Dimple and Rishi were great together and balanced each other out pretty well. They got along amazingly well considering their first meeting, and although Rishi wasn't as into web development as Dimple was, he worked hard on their project because he knew it was important to her. He also kept Dimple from immersing herself so much in her work that she forgot to enjoy herself.

Rishi loved being around Dimple and seeing her excitement as she worked on her app. If I had one complaint about him, it was that, when he first started hanging out with her, it felt a little like he was waiting for an opportunity to convince her to be his future wife. However, that gradually changed into him just wanting to be around her.

It would have been nice to have seen Dimple and Rishi interacting with a greater number of decent Insomnia Con attendees. Unfortunately, most of their on-page interactions were with attendees who said gross things to Dimple or who were otherwise rude. Celia, Dimple's new friend and roommate, became friends with that group, not realizing how horrible they'd been to Dimple, and I was worried she'd morph into Dimple's enemy, leaving Dimple with no friends except Rishi. Thankfully that wasn't the case.

There was a bit more drama near the end than I expected, and I had some issues with the way one particular thing Dimple did was resolved. She had good intentions but acted without Rishi's consent, and when he found out about it and things blew up, she had the gall to call him a coward. I felt that things went a bit too smoothly and easily for her at the end. That said, this was an excellent book overall and just as fun as the cover made it look.

Additional Comments:

The book references a few Bollywood movies, which I wrote down in the hope that I could then give them a go via Netflix. The only one mentioned that I'd seen was Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, which I wholeheartedly recommend. Unfortunately, it's no longer in Netflix's catalog, at least in the US. In fact, it looks like the only movie mentioned in the book that's still available is Krrsh.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2017-02-14 20:28
Book 1/100: Sacred Wilderness by Susan Power

I fell off the wagon of uploading my book reviews for the end of 2016, but I'm starting fresh in the new year.

 

Sacred WildernessSacred Wilderness by Susan Power
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was divided into several different story "sections" -- one that took place in present day and followed an older Native American woman who was employed by a wealthy couple as a cook/housecleaner and others that delved into the stories of the main characters' ancestors.

I loved the way this book blended Native American and Catholic spirituality (which is what drew me to the book), particularly the Virgin Mary's intuitive understanding that all beings who forged a path of peace were sacred and would have been "friends of her son." Mary's manifestation appeared in both the historical and the modern timelines, and I liked her portrayal in the historical one better; she felt just a touch too "woo-woo"in her modern incarnation, and I kind of felt as if the privileged, unemployed middle-aged woman she was sent to "awaken" was not really deserving of the honor. On the other hand, her appearance to comfort a grieving mother and clan leader in the historical storyline seemed a much more worthy visitation.

The historical writing was incredibly beautiful and evocative. The modern writing I found to be a little stilted in places, but I liked that it lent some greater insight into the politics of being American Indian and living in the current culture. This is something I still strive to find a deeper understanding of, especially since moving to a state with a significant Native population that still remains mostly a mystery to me.

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