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The Rearranged Life Paperback – May 15, 2015
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Top customer reviews
This book deals with the subject of parental expectations, cultural expectations, growing up, and forging one's own path. It also touches upon the wonder of falling in love and how terrifyingly amazing it can be. As a Nigerian living in America, I could definitely sympathize with Nithya and her dilemma - love vs family, parental plans vs personal plans, etc.
I LOVED how Ms Sharma dealt with the issue. She didn't gloss over it and have a cheesy resolution for the couple. No. Instead what we have is an honest look into such a situation, how real and prevalent it is, and, if I may be so bold to say, a "manual/guideline", so to speak, as to how to deal with it. I LOVED that she also didn't fall into the "my culture is better than yours" trap which is very easy to do with this kind of conflict. I LOVED that she explored the similarities, as well as differences, between both American and Indian cultures. I LOVED that she underscored the importance of love, family and respect for one's own traditions - irrespective of whatever culture it is.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, when a book contains life lessons, I'm always giddy with excitement, and this book was chock full of them:
Culture is no excuse for prejudice, ignorance, or lack of progress
No culture is better than the other
True love is pure and wonderful, but sometimes you've got to FIGHT for it
Having plans are great, however, if they fall apart, it's not the end of the world
Sometimes it takes a major setback to place you on the path you're meant to be on
Family is a wonderful thing
Have faith in the power of love because it hopes and endures all things
Respect your family and traditions
Surround yourself with friends who will uplift you and not bring you down
The easiest road is not always the best choice, etc
I could go on and on, but I'll leave you to find out more from the book.
As for the characters themselves, they were wonderfully human with no abnormal superpowers or unreal characteristics. They were witty, funny, and real. They made mistakes, but made up for them. They worked hard and reaped the fruits of their labors.
I LOVED that James was such an honorable man who believed in the power of love. I LOVED that he was steadfast in his beliefs and refused to compromise his values - despite the obstacles and oppositions he constantly faced. I LOVED that he was such an "encourager" and wholeheartedly believed in Nithya. I LOVED that he fought for their relationship. I LOVED that he was man enough to give Nithya space to think about what it was that she wanted - even though her answer might crush him. I LOVED that he never made her, or her culture, seem inferior. I LOVED that he was a man who knew what he wanted and pursued it. I also LOVED how level headed and patient (well sometimes) he was. He was a perfect match for Nithya and I LOVED that he let her know he cared and didn't shy away from expressing himself.
As for Nithya, she was a wonderful heroine. She was smart and focused. She is the kind of strong woman we all should strive to be. Sure she wasn't perfect, but she made up for her mistakes and learned from them. She figured out how to stand up for herself, while at the same time not turning into a complete b*tch as we've been led to believe is the only way for women to be considered strong. I LOVED that, even though she was tempted to turn her back on her heritage and just say "to hell with it", she constantly tried to find a happy medium between what she wanted and what was expected. I LOVED that her problems were not easily washed away. I LOVED that she finally figured out that it was okay to forge a different path for oneself. I LOVED that, even though she had lots of difficulties, she always managed to keep a strong head on her shoulders. I LOVED that she was not afraid to speak her mind. I LOVED that she was also not afraid to be vulnerable and clueless and confused. I LOVED that she was also not afraid to lean on her friends. I LOVED that she had respect for her family and their traditions.
As for the secondary characters, they added so much more depth and truth and honesty and perspective to the struggles James and Nithya faced.
This book was written wonderfully and was engaging. I didn't so much as stop to eat dinner while reading. I read it all in one sitting - it was that good. If you're wavering about reading it because you're not familiar with the Indian culture, don't let that stop you. While there are lots of cultural references here, they are presented in such a way that those unfamiliar with it can still follow along and enjoy it while reading.
I definitely enjoyed myself while reading it, and as a reward to myself, I'm going to rewatch Bride & Prejudice- a movie that I FLOVED and have watched so many times I've lost count. Did I also mention that I have the soundtrack? I digress. Moving on :). I might even reread "A Bollywood Affair" by Sonali Dev, and "Priya in Heels" by Ayesha Patel. These books also touch upon the issue of culture and tradition and the fact that love sometimes comes when you least expect it.
I absolutely LOVED this book and I'm so glad I found it. Ms Sharma is definitely an author I will be automatically 1-clicking from now on.
Kudos Ms Sharma and I look forward to more from you :)
Nithya is an Indian girl born and bred in America. Her parents are pretty traditional Indian parents, they believe in arranged marriages, not the sort where she has no say so but where they find and approve the guy and then if the two hit it off they get married. They are not for love marriages at all so poor Nithya can't follow her heart without breaking her parents. It's crazy how well I could relate to Nithya, I also married someone out of my culture and shocked everyone in my family so I definitely understood the inner conflict she was facing when it came to that. She has always been the perfect daughter doing everything her parents want and making a lot of sacrifices to keep her family happy but what happens when your family expects you to make the ultimate sacrifice...love.
When Nithya meets James you can tell there was an attraction there from the get go but she knows better then to act on it so she tries to keep it strictly platonic too bad her heart didn't get the memo. While James is growing on her Nithya's family has plans to pair her up with Nishanth a son of an old family friend. I'm not going to lie when I met James I loved James when I met Nishanth I loved Nishanth, but you can easily tell which guy was meant for her, one she had feelings for the other it was more of an obligation.
I loved seeing Nithya's character grow throughout the novel and I felt James was a big part of it, he challenged her and she was able to be herself with him without wondering if he was going to judge her or not, honestly it was like she felt more free with James. I mean how can you not root for the two and hope she makes the choice that will lead to her happiness.
Overall Sharma wrote a beautiful story with a sweet romance and endearing characters.
~"I want you. I want to be rebellious and safe, wanted and challenged, broken and whole, and I want it all with you.I am all in."
~"He has seen me at my most vulnerable, in a disorganized mess in class and in a heaping ball of tears on his floor, yet he sees greatness in those experiences."
Some of Nithya's struggles really resonated with me, even though I'm no longer a college student and I'm not Indian-American. I found myself nodding and smiling as I read, remembering my internal battles when it came time to pursue my own path instead of continuing to do what would please my parents. Many readers will enjoy this aspect of the story. I also found myself cheering for both of the guys who are vying for Nithya's heart--one's Indian and one's not. Each one has a winning personality and other attributes that make it hard for Nithya to choose. I won't give away the ending, but I was very pleased with which guy she chooses and how she handles it. I also wanted to give Nithya a big high five for how she moves forward after her plans for med school hit a snag.
The story advanced at a very nice clip and when I reached the end, I wasn't ready to say goodbye to this story! I'd love to read a sequel that tells us how the "rest of the story" unfolds for Nithya and the man she chooses.
Anyone who enjoys a sweet romance will find this book to be a real treat. It's a bonus that the love story includes an exploration of cross-cultural relationships and the complications and triumphs they create.
Most recent customer reviews
I seriously LOVED the characters so much!Read more
The Rearranged Life is like nothing you've ever read in New Adult Romance in all the best possible ways.Read more