Tuesday 23 January 2007

(Un)arranged Marriage by Bali Rai

The page turning story of Manjit or as he preferred to be called Manny. Set in Leicester and the Punjab region of India. Manny is unhappy, born in England, he does not feel such a link to the Punjabi culture as his parents,including the issue of arranged marriages for his brothers. He wants peace to be his own person. His home is full of noise as his family becomes more extended. He is subjected to more than sibling teasing from his brothers, and some physical abuse from his father.

Manny has one best friend called Ady and has a girl friend, but as he approaches towards his 17th birthday the issue of arranged marriage raises its head. Manny doesn't want to and feels tore between the issues of a quiet life and rebellion.

Taken to India, on what is a holiday, Manny's family leave him behind and return to England. Manny builds a relationship with his Uncle, who has experienced the same issues and broke away from the family tradtion and helps Manny return to England, where Manny becomes his own person and has the life he wants.

I took this to bed last night, with a cuppa, and thought I would read a chapter or two on an early night. The book was written in such a comfortable, easy reading style that I zipped through the book and finished it just before Midnight! Clearly explaining the issues faced by teenagers, I wondered if this was slightly autobiographical? Like a previous reader I was surprised at the issues surrounding racism in the book, but I felt that the author had dealt with the complexities of the issues very well for a first book.

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