Posts Tagged ‘Book Reviews’

I recently read “The Marriage Bureau for Rich people” by Farahad Zama.

“The Marriage Bureau for Rich People” by Rufi Thorpe (via Goodreads)

The blurb reads:

“What does somebody with a wealth of common sense do if retirement palls?

Why, open a marriage bureau, of course. And soon Mr Ali, from beautiful Vizag in South India, sees his new business flourish as the indomitable Mrs Ali and able assistant Aruna look on with careful eyes.

But although many clients go away happy, problems lurk behind the scenes as Aruna nurses a heart-rending secret; while Mr Ali cannot see that he rarely follows the sage advice he so freely dishes out to others. And when love comes calling for Aruna, an impossible dilemma looms…

A colourful coastal town and contemporary marriage bureau prove a perfect backdrop for a splendid array of characters making sense of all sorts of pride and prejudice – and the ways in which true love won’t quite let go – in this witty and big-hearted debut novel.”

This is a great little book covering life in south India as Mr Ali opens a marriage bureau and helps people to find spouses. There are so many different characters, from the poorer members of society to the rich elite. Aruna is Mr Ali’s assistant and comes from a poor family who are trying to marry her off but struggling due to their poor status. She falls in love with a wealthy client but knows a marriage is out of the question due to the massive differences between their lifestyles and family status.

Mr Ali deals with difficult customers and easy customers, and seems to have a knack for sorting out even the most complicated situations. His wife, Mrs Ali, helps out occasionally and has her own ways of getting customers to cooperate. Their only problem is their son, who won’t settle down and get married but prefers to fight for rights and justice by protesting at demonstrations, much to his parents’ frustration. He is one example of not conforming to a society that sees certain behaviours as potentially damaging for that person and their family.

I never realised how complex a marriage arrangement could be: there are questions of marrying someone of the same caste or a different one, what benefits the couple bring to each other’s families, how compatible husbands and wives will be, how height and looks can rule out so many matches, and so on. There are so many things to consider but I feel like I understand it all a bit better now.

I give it 8/10 because it is a fascinating insight into life in such a complex culture and is a great read! I would read it again!

I recently read “The Girls from Corona del Mar” by Rufi Thorpe.

“The Girls from Corona del Mar” by Rufi Thorpe (via Goodreads)

The blurb reads:

“Mia and Lorrie Ann are lifelong friends. While Mia struggles with a mother who drinks, a pregancy at fifteen and younger brothers she loves but can’t quite be good to, Lorrie Ann is luminous, surrounded by her close-knit family and immune to the mistakes that mar her best friend’s life. Until a sudden loss catapults Lorrie Ann into tragedy and there is nothing Mia can do to help. As good, kind, brave Lorrie Ann stops being so good, Mia begins to question just who this woman is and what that question means about them both.”

It is an interesting novel, exploring a friendship which seems like the usual intense friendship that only exists between two teenager girls, until a chain of events starts which changes that friendship into something confusing and difficult.

It feels like Mia is the troublesome one with issues in her homelife and her personal life, and that Lorrie Ann is the goody two-shoes, who has a loving family, gets married and has a baby and looks set to have an ordinary life. It’s amazing how wrong life can go for someone who seems perfect in all ways. It seem a little bit unfair that Lorrie Ann gets all the worse things thrown at her and she goes off the rails and becomes a character who Mia struggles to understand.

I felt sorry for Lorrie Ann at first but then when she starts making stupid decisions, I find myself being less sympathetic and more irritated with the way she’s messing up her life. Mia seems to straighten out when she goes to college and her life seems to be pretty good and normal, and she is the more likeable character all the way through the novel.

You feel like you know the two girls, especially when you grow up with people like them, but then you discover something totally surprising which makes you wonder if you really knew them at all and can’t comprehend how you never saw that part of them.

I give this novel 7/10 because the plot thickens over time, throws up some many questions and deals with so many different issues. It’s well written and kept me reading on, but I’m not sure I’d read it again.

I actually finished reading “How To Build A Girl” by Caitlin Moran a few weeks ago and completely forgot to write a review for it! I’ve read Moran’s columns and 2 of her previous books and enjoy her writing, and I thought I’d give this a try.

“How To Build A Girl” by Caitlin Moran (via Goodreads)

The blurb reads:

“My name’s Johanna Morrigan. I’m fourteen, and I’ve just decided to kill myself.

I don’t really want to die, of course! I just need to kill Johanna, and build a new girl. Dolly Wilde will be everything I want to be, and more! But as with all the best coming-of-age stories, it doesn’t exactly go to plan…”

It’s actually a good book, although at times it feels a bit too similar to her actual life as described in “How To be A Woman” with her growing up in poverty and working for a music magazine, which made me wonder if she can actually write about anything else.

However, Johanna is a typical teenager who doesn’t fit in and tries to reinvent herself to become someone different. She goes about it fairly extremely, changing her name, dying her hair black and wearing eccentric outfits in black. She educates herself about music in order to get a job, and uses her new self to create a new life for herself. She seems to go a bit crazy at points, which makes for interesting reading! Her actions are not only to further and improve herself, but also to help provide for her family and lift them out of poverty.

I love her crazy adventures and the way she does things. Her relationships with her family and others are typically mixed and fascinating to read about. It seemed obvious to me that pretending to be Dolly Wilde was going to cause problems for her at some point and it does!

I did enjoy reading this novel, and I give it 8/10 because it’s just so different and a breath of fresh air (ironic, given the amount of smoking she does) and was worth reading!