Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Publication Date: June 1st 2017
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟
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.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review!
When Dimple Met Rishi is an important book. I am not Indian but I identify as South Asian, and my own culture is very much influenced by India. I grew up eating Indian food and watching Bollywood movies and I can understand Hindi to a large extent. Therefore, I could pretty much relate to the majority of this book. I will even go as far as saying that it is one of the first books I’ve ever seen myself represented in. So yes, it’s important, but it’s also a really good book.
One of the first things I noticed was how sophisticated the writing style is. Funnily enough, I had no trouble following the Hindi words and phrases without translation but there were a lot of words in English that I’ve never encountered before. I found it quite difficult to get into for this reason, but it definitely didn’t take anything away from the story. I also enjoyed reading from both Dimple and Rishi’s perspectives, but at the same time I wasn’t a huge fan of the constant shifting of viewpoints within single chapters.
The characters, however, were so relatable. Dimple’s parents reminded me very much of my own, from her dad’s diabetes to her mom’s continuous search for the Ideal Indian Husband. I could also relate to Dimple in her non-traditional ways, and her sense of humour was so on point. There was no shortage of laugh out loud moments. Rishi was just adorable and kept saying the wrong things and it honestly made me want to wrap him up in a blanket to protect him from Dimple’s playful hits. To my surprise, I found myself relating a lot more to Rishi. The struggle between wanting to please your traditional parents and pursuing a career path that is right for you is something I felt on a deeply personal level. The book accurately portrays the conflict of cultures that children of the diaspora face on a daily basis, and this is something that we very rarely get to see.
My only criticism would be the romance. It was actually adorable for the most part. But, from the synopsis, I was hoping for a slow burn and in reality everything just happened way too fast that it was almost predictable. I love that the book challenges misconceptions about arranged marriage since it’s something I’m familiar with, but its portrayal was also an aspect I couldn’t really relate too possibly due to religious differences.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It made me smile and laugh and see myself somewhat represented on the page. I adored the characters, their relationships with each other and all the cultural references, even if it was something as small as the name of a song I grew up listening to. That being said, I would have liked to see more focus on the web development aspect considering that it’s a huge part of Dimple’s life.
Yet, despite the parts I didn’t enjoy so much, this book is seriously addictive and I would love to see it on the big screen, more specifically as a super cheesy Bollywood movie. And I also want a sequel; it shall be called When Dimple Weds Rishi.