The Rearranged Life by Annika Sharma

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My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Genre: New Adult, contemporary

This story came to mean so much to me in the end. I’m of a similar culture, and I related a great deal with it all. I think it’s one of the reasons why this story became so meaningful for me in the end.

Firstly, Nithya was a character who’s circumstances I understood and the problems created for someone who is trying to juggle to different cultures at once. It’s not easy and it wasn’t for Nithya. But I loved how much she grew and learnt over the course of this book journey. I both admired her and loved her boldness and desire to go after what she wanted.

This journey embarks of a woman of Indian heritage falling for an American man. She is someone who has always planned and then taken that path where no uncertainties can arise. However, meeting James changes her plans. He encourages her, pushes her and lets her know that it’s okay to take some risks once in a while because while the future may be uncertain, what’s on the other side can definitely prove to be worth it.

The snow falls around us, the clouds giving the sky an eerily bright gray glow as if to say, “Look at what has been created.” We are limitless, and in my heart of hearts, I know the greatest love stories in the world have been made of moments lesser than these.

It’s not easy growing up being part of a different culture than the country you live in is accustomed to. It can be hard to identify yourself with either one as you’re both trying to either blend in or figure out who you really are. I think it’s just about the correct balance, and Nithya handled that aspect quite well. This was a great story about her personal journey of become who she really is, embracing change and acceptance.

It’s not that Nithya had a strict family as most people I’m sure would believe. Her family is pretty much amazing and loving. It’s just a case of culture really. What you’re brought up in and we don’t really like change as human beings. Her parents wanted what was best for her and sometimes it’s easier to just meld in with other people who are off the same culture. There are no awkward family gatherings and everyone can become one that way. That was what they believed and you can’t really blame them for it. I was incredibly happy to see that Nithya saw that and she never hated her parents or her upbringing for it. Rather she embraced it, and dealt with everything in such a grown up manner. So admirable. It’s difficult for people to understand if they aren’t raised that way but it is different in every culture. I think it’s just about understanding that.

It’s not about secrecy. It’s the closed minded people that bother me, the ones who don’t even try to understand where others are coming from. To think anyone could ever possibly imagine my parents hurting me because I fell in love! I give an involuntary shudder.

Overall, the main thing I loved about this book was character growth, and the multicultural aspect of it. I’m such a strong believer of everyone just accepting each other for who they are and opening their minds towards one another, which is why I loved this cute little story. I recommend to anyone who can relate with trying to manage to different lifestyles. I’m certain you will appreciate this story for what it is. I thank the author for writing this book and showing people what it’s truly like for someone in a cultural clash, thank you for showing everyone that that culture background isn’t necessarily a bad one. And thank you for showing it in a good light.

In the western world, arranged marriages are seen as ghastly or inhumane. In India, it is the norm. In ancient days, women and men were married as business transactions. Betrothals during infant hood occurred to further inter familial ties. Nowadays, the process has changed to something called semi-arranged. Basically, it’s the idea that the parents set you up on a blind date, For progressive families like mine, that means if your date tanks (like the time Mohini’s suitor stared at her cleavage all night), you can say it’s silly to continue onward, and the next match is brought up. There are many factors to be considered in these pairings, it’s almost easier to allow parents to choose a potential mate and then test out whether the chemistry works.

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