- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Berkley (February 5, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451490940
- ISBN-13: 978-0451490940
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Matchmaker's List Paperback – February 5, 2019
"Maybe You Should Talk to Someone" by Lori Gottlieb
"This is a daring, delightful, and transformative book." ―Arianna Huffington, Founder, Huffington Post Pre-order today
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Praise for The Matchmaker's List
"Sonya Lalli offers up a tale of familial pressures, cultural traditions, and self-discovery, that is equal turns heartbreaking and hilarious...Lalli tears down stereotypes with humor and warmth."--Entertainment Weekly
"Lalli’s sharp-eyed tale of cross-cultural dating, family heartbreak, the strictures of culture, and the exuberance of love is both universal and timeless."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Bright and vivid, and fresh and funny—I was utterly charmed by this insight into Raina's struggle to be the perfect Indian daughter.”—Veronica Henry, author of How to Find Love in a Bookshop
“A funny and moving exploration of modern love.”—Balli Kaur Jaswal, bestselling author of Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows (A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick)
“A warm and refreshing look at cultural identity, unexpected romance, and unbreakable family bonds.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A riotous odyssey into the pressures of cross-cultural modern dating that will chime with every 20-something singleton.”—ELLE (UK)
“Lalli's debut is a delightful, multicultural romantic comedy full of humorous banter and loads of life lessons about family, happiness, love, honesty, and acceptance.”—Booklist (starred review)
"Absolutely charming."—Woman's Day
"A knockout romantic comedy debut."—Washington Independent Review of Books
"The Matchmaker's List comes through in spades (and hearts)."—NPR
About the Author
Sonya Lalli is a Canadian writer of Indian heritage. She studied law in her hometown of Saskatoon and at Columbia University in New York, and later completed an MA in Creative Writing and Publishing at City, University of London. Sonya has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and loves travel, yoga and cocktail bartending. She lives in Toronto with her husband.
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Our heroine, Raina, was sadly one of the main reasons why I did not love this book. I can definitely relate to the overwhelming pressures that family, friends, and community can unwittingly place on an individual. Even with this and the sadness surrounding her childhood, I had a hard time sympathizing with Raina because of her behavior throughout the book. I understand that it was part of her character arc to grow and recognize certain truths, but it was frustrating to see an almost 30 year old woman act this way. I don't want to be spoilery, but a good part of the book has her basically being a doormat (I wanted to throat punch Dev so badly!) and then she tells a lie by omission that ends up having HUGE repercussions. There were so many opportunities to come clean and explain, but over and over fear ruled her and she let the lie perpetuate and change lives. The situation with Asher felt forced and I'm a bit skeptical of the declarations that were made given their sporadic history. I really just wanted more from Raina and when she finally did come into her own, it just felt like too little too late.
Something I did love, however, was the overall message of love and acceptance. Yes, this is a romance, but it's more a romance about falling in love with yourself. Loving who you are and recognizing that you are enough exactly as you are. The writing was entertaining, but sometimes too detailed and descriptive for me. Overall I did enjoy Raina's journey and think the book's message will resonate with readers.
*I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book*
Wow, I have mixed feelings about this book. First off, this is not really a romance novel, I wouldn’t really consider it to be a rom-com either. A couple is not at the center of this story and this book delves deep. It’s not even a little bit fluffy. Even the humorous parts are a bit dark. I found the plot to be refreshing, but I do think you will be disappointed if you are looking for a true romance novel.
Back to my mixed feelings. On the one hand, Sonya Lalli is an incredibly gifted writer and I cannot wait to read more from her. Her descriptions, particularly the use of smell, made it so easy to get lost in the world she created. I read the first 100 pages in a flash.
On the other hand, Raina is an unlikeable heroine in many ways. I loved and related to her at the beginning of the story. I am of a similar age, and while I can’t relate to the cultural pressures Raina was facing, (though, I loved learning about them) I deeply relate to many of the other issues she was facing. I think the isolation people can feel, even when surrounded by friends and family, especially when they’re single, is expertly articulated.
If the whole story had stayed along the lines of the first half of the book, this would have been a wholehearted five stars. But as the book progresses, Raina becomes more and more selfish. Her poor decisions and downright hurtful behavior to the people who mean the most to her made me truly sad.
As I mentioned, Raina isn’t perfect, she drinks too much on a first date, judges men before she truly gets to know them, obsesses about an unhealthy relationship and lies to her friends and family. She is deeply and intrinsically human and her character resonated with me more with every misstep she took. Did I like Raina by the end of the book? Not really. Not even when she redeemed herself. But I don’t think you need to like the main character of a book to appreciate the emotions it invokes.
I understand why this book is so polarizing, but because of Lalli’s writing alone, I couldn’t dislike it. I wanted to talk about this novel with random people on the street as soon as I finished. Whether they loved it or hated it, this book will elicit a response from readers.
Overall, if you’re looking for a romance novel, this book isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a comfortable read, this book isn’t for you. If you’re looking for an interesting and thought-provoking novel with a completely flawed heroine at the forefront, give this book a try.
**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**
Meet Raina. She is a modern business woman who prides herself on her accomplishments, close relationship to her family and friends, and her culture. Raised by her very traditional grandmother, though perhaps not as close-minded as one would think, Raina is torn between her traditional upbringing, and the need to make her own decisions as an independent, and capable adult. Times are changing and her Nani’s old world values don’t really fit with this new generation of modern adults.
That said, she has been hurt by love in the past and doesn’t feel ready to pursue a relationship, arranged or otherwise, but is feeling the pressure from her family and the close-knit Indian community they are part of.
Keen to get everyone off her back and perhaps meet someone new, she allows her Nani to arrange dates with several candidates who could be husband material.
Date after horrible date, Raina shows us what it’s like in the modern dating world, and boy am I glad I’m not part of it anymore lol. And just when it can’t get any worse, Dev, the man who broke her heart, reappears in Raina’s life just to make everything more complicated.
This book offers so much. It’s hilarious and heart-warming, the writing is fantastic and the characters are larger than life. I loved reading about the traditional and cultural aspects of Raina’s life and learned a few things I hadn’t known, which made for a very rich reading experience. Really, it’s got a little of everything you want in contemporary fiction. Love, laughs, family drama, and friendship.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Sonya Lalli comes up with next. Honestly guys, I can’t recommend it enough!
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Reads & Reels)