WOW. what a novel. It was so exciting to read that I woke up this morning and just polished the book off instead of getting ready for the day. I get carried away with books that I tend to mirror the feelings off the protagonists. Anyway...
The story: A Bengali Muslim woman who is sweet, grateful, and from the village has an arranged marriage to a man who lives in London. He is very good to her, but not attractive or the overly romantic type. He is an intellectual who loves to discuss everything. She takes all this into stride and considers herself very lucky.
However, she starts to have an affair with a young man. She unlocks all these sexual emotions she didn't know she had. At this point of the story, I felt for her. Was she trapped in a loveless marriage? What is more important - her stability or deep love?
It makes me think about Western society, Hollywood, and even Bollywood now. They push this idea of romantic love. That someone out there is your soul mate. It's not like that though. Statistically speaking there is little chance that I'm going to run into the perfect person for me. Hats off to the people who get the best of both worlds, but to me the priority is someone who I can trust to take care of me. Well-educated, stable, and a source of strength.
In India, let's face it, most marriages are arranged. But why is there such a negativity associated with it? Most of my family have gone this route and have turned out pretty well. The couples make a good team, running after their kids and managing the household. I think you can grow to love a person not because they think you're beautiful and ahem great in other ways, but because of their caring nature.
I read this article from the New York Times (Marry Him!). I interpreted it as don't go searching for the man of your dreams; if someone is smart, stable, and you could see as a good caretaker and father - what is wrong with marrying him? You don't always have to be all over each other (if you catch my drift). I realize though that is an important trait for me. Every male I have admired as been such a good caretaker - made you feel safe.
This novel was much better than Kiran Desai's book. It followed one character and really made me feel like I knew her personally and sympathized and envied her.
I don't want to give away the story ending, but I approved. She made the right, mature decision.
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