Author : Sandhya Menon
Publisher : Hodder (Hachette India)
Genre : Contemporary YA
Source : Publisher, I requested it and was generously provided a copy
Rating : 4/5 Stars
Everyone has already read this book. India is probably the last country to get this book written by an Indian (or American of Indian origin) featuring Indians and Indian situations but better later than never, especially for a book that seems as exciting as this one.
When Dimple Met Rishi is a book about, you guessed it, Dimple meeting Rishi! Dimple, a rather stubborn and stuck up Indian girl of eighteen, is on the way to Stanford (thank god her parents gave her permission) and is trying to convince them to also send her to Insomnia Con to fuel her career and feed her love of coding. She is surprised when they agree but soon finds out why they were so generous with their acceptance (and money). There she meets Rishi, a boy who doesn’t make a very good first impression but everything he does after that seems too good to be true. or is it? That’s the story. It’s about arranged marriages, it’s about Indian families and it is about Indian people (yes, north Indian but at this point I’m willing to overlook how us south Indians are overlooked)
The synopsis says “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?” But this isn’t correct. They definitely meant to arrange this early in their lives, in fact that is why they end up sending their son to this program in the first place. So I’m not sure why they are trying to play down the arranged marriage bit but they are and I’m just letting you know that it isn’t al that involuntary.
I received this right when I was entering a book reading slump and it could not have come at a better time. When Dimple Met Rishi is a fun little read that moves fast, doesn’t lag anywhere and certainly ticks a few diversity boxes if you aren’t Indian and want to read something about the people from the place. I tend to avoid book that only use diversity as a selling point so i am super glad this didn’t do that. It isn’t about Indian people alone, it is but not just that. The characters are relatable, yet they have that something that isn’t common in western culture. The use of Hindi is minimal and usually has translations in italics, Bollywood does feature and yes, there is a song and dance (no I won’t tell you where). But clichés aside, this is one enjoyable book and I am so glad I got a copy.
WHAT I LIKED : I ADORED how this book showcased how arranged marriages really are. yes there are a few horrible families that send off their daughters and sons to marry perfect strangers but this is how it normally is. And I am so glad Sandhya Menon showcased it for what it truly is. No, parents don’t tie up their daughter in a rice sack and unload her at the wedding hall to marry someone she hates. No, they don’t kill her for not liking the first proposal that walked through the door. (Atleast not if they are sane). And this showed it off in the best manner possible. A lot of the arrange marriages I know sort of went with an informal meeting and then developed into affection which is how it is shown in this book and I’m relieved she has shown this in the light that it is meant to be shown.
Dimple and Rishi as characters are so realistic that I felt like I was reading about my friends. I love how unstable and emotional Dimple is, true to being a teenager who is being told that “a girl must marry and always look pretty” when she completely believes the opposite. Rishi is a true blue Bollywood style romantic good boy. Obedient to his parents yet willing to concede in certain aspects to the girl he has been told he is to marry.
WHAT I DISLIKED : While I am glad it is Indian I would have been a little happy if it didn’t have a lot of Bollywood clichés. Yes this is new and unique to foreigners but it isn’t al that uncommon to the rest of India and it once again north Indian washes the whole country. But that is all that I had a problem with, nothing else. And to be fair I am being super picky about this since it does represent India to an international audience who already think India is Bollywood-Hindi and Naan.
I would definitely recommend this for anyone looking for a light read. This isn’t only limited to a YA audience. If you love big gestures and typical Rom-coms you will adore this book. It is also helpful if you are in a reading slump and want something to destroy it.
P.S. For those saying Dimple isn’t a realistic name, yes it is, shut up. For those saying she is annoying, yes she is, she is also eighteen and I can very well imagine how you are/were/are going to be at the same age. Stop whining and enjoy the damn book.
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.