Sunday, April 09, 2006

(Un)arranged Marriage by Bali Rai

(Un)arranged Marriage by Bali Rai.. Yes, yet another book about Indian arranged marriages. It starts remarkably well though - "Harry & Ranjit were waiting for me - waiting to take me to Derby, to a wedding. My wedding."

The book tells the story of a young Punjabi boy, living in Britain, who is strongly opposed to the marriage that his father has arranged for him. It looks at conflict across cultures and generations as well as addressing the universal theme of teenagers rebelling against his parents.

This story about Manjit's wedding is a typical one. This time, however, the perspective is a male one. Fourteen-year old Manjit (Manny) is a Jat Punjabi living in Leicester. He learns that his alcoholic, abusive father has already planned his marriage. It is to take place when Manny reaches seventeen; the bride will be the daughter of one of his father's friends in India. The character of Manny is that of a whining, self-centred, ignorant youth.
In essence, Manny's selfishness is a reputedly common trait among second generation Asians in the UK. No longer able to consent to an arranged marriage, what exactly are the options? Manny's is hardly the courageous or heroic solution.

It comments on what people still have to do for their tradition. it deals with racism, relationship and family. The book also gives us an insight into life in india which is nice also for those of us who have not been for a while.

Must admit its not that great 'most read' book.

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