Yup! You read that right. When Dimple Met Rishi is my first ever buddy read and it’s with none other than Simant from FlippingThruThePages. She reads and recommends amazing books and our tastes are often similar so reading this romantic comedy with her was a chance I didn’t want to miss.
This book review would be a little different. There are seven questions Simant has asked me about the book and I’m supposed to answer them. Similarly, I’ve asked her seven questions that she has answered here. Go check out her post to know about her thoughts on When Dimple Met Rishi.
How did you find the overall theme of the story? Did it read like you’d expected?
I would say it didn’t read like I’d expected it to. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to not find it that cheesy when I got into it. From all the reviews and opinions I’d read before beginning this, I was pretty sure I would fret over a lot of stuff in it but fortunately, that didn’t happen.
As for how I felt about the overall theme: it was pretty neat. I would say finding myself relatable to both the characters and reading a story about kids born in a country different from their parents’ did some magic because these two aspects helped me overlook a few problems I otherwise found in the novel. I’m not a huge romance fan but romantic comedies are definitely my thing. This one did well in that impression. Plus, there were honest issues being spoken about and that’s right up my alley.
Being an Indian, how did you find the Bollywood references? Did you enjoy all the clichés and known events that we are used to seeing in Bollywood movies?
I loved them! I’ve grown up seeing a lot of Bollywood movies, dancing off to Hrithik Roshan’s songs, and believing a Shah Rukh Khan is out there for me. Then, of course, I grew up and things made more sense but I felt pleasantly nostalgic when I came across the references in this book.
There were quite some cliches and some annoyed me but I did like how all the ‘kismet connection’ (have you watched that movie?) played out. Also, I felt that the author did a good job to logically sew together events so the tropes and cliches won’t look too forced. For example, the coming-together-for-a-project trope was well thought when they ended up together at Insomnia Con because Rishi had requested Dimple. These little things made me enjoy the cliches more than I would’ve otherwise expected.
Dimple’s mother has been shown like a woman who just wants her daughter to settle down with a nice Indian boy. This mentality is common in many Indian women. Do you think that this mindset could have been avoided in the book?
I think it was a bit necessary for Dimple’s character growth because she wouldn’t have been excited for the little things if her mother would’ve been more flexible. Though, I do believe her mother’s mindset could’ve been written better. Especially since she’s an immigrant and well aware that her daughter is born in a country completely different from the one she’s grown up in. I’m born and brought up in a country different from my parents’ and they fully understand that fact. So her mother did seem a little too over the board, I would say. Then again, it’s probably something that some would like because they can relate and I didn’t like her much because I couldn’t relate.
I definitely agree that most Indian women have that mindset; my mother wants me to be married too but someday. I’ve been nurtured with opinions like ‘education is the most important thing’ and ‘you can set your life yourself if you’re educated’. So for me, it was a bit difficult to even grasp the fact that Dimple’s parents talked to their friends about a marriage proposal for their eighteen-year-old daughter. Her mother was adamant about makeup and looking put together which was another thing I couldn’t relate to because again, my mom is nothing like that. So I guess, it’s more about who can relate better but I couldn’t.
Dimple started as a strong girl who was determined about her career in coding. Do you think that because of Rishi, she diverged a little bit from her path? Or do you think that she managed well?
She did diverge. But it was almost inevitable. I mean, when you’re in a relationship, some things do take priority and uses your brain power, haha. In all seriousness, I think she gave her best and didn’t actually lose her determination but Rishi had a huge role in distracting her. Which…is fine, I guess.
However, I did feel like their relationship went too fast and it was almost like the six weeks of Con was their time limit to fall in love so they put all they had into that relationship. It was a bit sad to see the strong and fierce girl falter a bit but that last part made sense–not saying anything because of potential spoilers. She had to choose things but it’s her choice at the end of the day so she’s still strong.
What do you think about the secondary characters in the story? Do you think that the issue of racism was shown well? Or do you think that it was not needed in the story?
I was glad the issue of racism was spoken about because it’s very much present in the world and needs to be told. I couldn’t agree more with Dimple and Rishi’s take on how the Americans and Indians perceive them; they aren’t American enough to mix with the Americans and they aren’t Indian enough to be a part of the Indian crowd. It’s something I can relate to on many levels. When you’re from a different culture and are born in a different culture, you actually don’t live in any of the cultures because you aren’t completely a part of either. It’ a whole new level of dilemma.
I remember going to India for holidays and explaining kids who were my age as to ‘why I was not born in this country but still call it mine’. Similarly, ‘why do I call UAE as my country when it actually isn’t’. Anyway, that’s a story for another time and more of a born-to-an-expat problem. But in WDMR, Dimple and Rishi are fully Americans and they still find themselves hit by racist darts, so it was much more realistically sad.
The secondary characters were fine. I did like Celia but she was absent during the middle of the story, and the fact that Dimple wasn’t even trying to understand what’s going on with Celia when they share the same room was evidently a way to just focus on the romance and leave the friend out of the scene. Hari and Evan were jerks and they did a good job at infuriating our main characters so I liked them. Isabelle was someone I just couldn’t understand–what’s her problem? I even thought she was being stereotyped into a rich, white girl and that little scene where Rishi ignores her completely was a bit too much, I would say. Anyway, both the girls definitely grew toward the end and I appreciated when they stated their opinions out in front and said no. Hari and Evan remained jerks which is often the case in real life so yay.
What is your thought about Rishi? Was his character relatable? I mean, for me, it’s too difficult to have a boy like him in today’s world. It kind of sounded fake? Though I agree he was too cute. What do you think?
YES! It’s too unlikely to have a boy like him in today’s world. He didn’t sound fake, though. At some points, he did. But I related to him at a few levels. I keep my parents in mind a lot. I would say it’s my duty as an only daughter so what Rishi felt as the only son who could take responsibilities was relatable for me. Similarly, he was the more mature and empathetic one at an early age, and it’s understandable because some do grow up fast. Not only this, he speaks against what he feels wrong and that’s so me. I can stay quiet and good for as long as possible but when something ticks me off, I can’t just let it go. So I could sometimes sympathize with his thoughts.
However, most of this thoughts went right above my head. The way he was so into the idea of marrying Dimple when he hasn’t even met her yet, or his enthusiasm of giving her second chances all throughout the book…man, nobody gives me second chances! He was too perfect at times and that felt forced to me. Anyway, he did develop at the end so that was a win.
I have many Indian blogger friends who find this book cheesy and well, not that good. What would you say to all of them? Do you think these kind of stories are more popular within the foreign audience as compared to the Indian ones?
Like I said at the start of the post, I didn’t find this book that cheesy and somehow found myself impressed by the little things that were given spotlight amidst and aside the romance. I would mention that how good this book is depends largely on the type of audience that would read it. It’s predictable that solely Indian readers wouldn’t find it as good because there are situations highlighted in the story that they never found themselves in. For example, that incident Dimple recounts when she visited her cousins back in India and was laughed at for her accent and called firang isn’t something Indian readers would even agree upon…true, maybe not everyone does that but it does happen and I think that’s what people need to understand. We can’t ignore issues simply because they haven’t occurred to us.
I wouldn’t just say it for the Indian readers but even the exclusive foreigners wouldn’t relate to it as much and that might make them form not-so-good opinions about it. Which is fine but again, if we want diversity in literature, we do need to give some aspects of the story a benefit of doubt because what might be completely incomprehensible to one group would be the most coherent thing for another. Like the usual Hindi words in WDMR, ‘Hai Ram!’ or ‘na’ or ‘toh’ made the dialogues more real for me because I could see myself speaking those words but it would’ve been the most exasperating thing for someone who had to turn pages for the vocabulary index. BUT saying that adding Hindi words in between were a distraction for readers is the most absurd thing because why?! The characters speak Hindi, their parents do…so they would definitely add in words here and there because the readers who can relate know well that they do it too.
Basically, it’s a book for the people who find themselves belonging to different cultures and still trying to pave a path for themselves without letting any of those cultures influence their decisions. But it’s not meant to be read by only the people who belong to this group. Everyone can read it. And everyone can form their own views about it.
Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this via the author herself but that, in no way, influences my rating and/or opinions about it. Thank you, Sandhya Menon and Simon Pulse! This post may contain affiliate links; to know more click here.
Read my review of From Twinkle With Love by Sandhya Menon
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