When Dimple Met Rishi – Saturday Discussion

“She wept for her hardheadedness, and for a world that couldn’t just let her be both, a woman in love and a woman with a career, without flares of guilt and self-doubt seeping in and wreaking havoc.”
Sandhya Menon, When Dimple Met Rishi


Synopsis:

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.


Reviews:

Eden: When Dimple Met Rishi is a book that I was very excited to read. I’d heard a lot of wonderful reviews about it and because of that I had very high hopes. However, I felt like the story didn’t read the way I would have preferred. It’s nothing on the book, it was just a choice in preference. 2/5 stars. 

Caitlynn: This book was on so many of the most anticipated lists for 2017 and I’m not disappointed, but I definitely wanted more. There was too much going on and not enough time to fully flesh out some very interesting plot points. Overall, I gave it a 3.5/5 stars.

Jenn: I had very high expectations for this book. I loved the overall idea of the book. However, I think that some of the aspects of the storyline were unneeded or they took away from other moments in the book. I would love to read more by Menon because I really enjoyed her writing style and voice. However, I only gave this book a 3/5 stars.


Discussion:

Jenn: I gave this book 3 stars.

Caitlynn: I gave it 3.5.

Eden: I gave it 2 stars.

E: Okay, Caitlynn since you rated it the highest what did you enjoy about this book?

C: Okay, so if I’m not focusing on the coding aspect and how that fell short. I liked how she flipped the emotions of Dimple and Rishi. I liked that she was the standoffish one and he was the emotional one.I like how she portrayed them and their relationship. I like the concept. I don’t think it was executed the best that it could have been. I liked Rishi, I wanted him to have the fairy tale ending. You don’t normally see the emotional one being the guy and so I liked that she flipped it.

J: I would agree with that. I think I would like it if it was 2 different books. So, for example I would have liked it if we had a contemporary romance with a guy who was more emotional and trying to connect  with a girl with less obvious emotions. Or I would really like a girl finding her path through a male dominated industry and just focusing on that. I would like to see her voice and her journey through that. Together, I don’t think it really worked. Neither side held true to the storytelling arc that it seemed to be going in. I think if you separated both stories the narrative would be stronger and the message would be clearer.

C: That sounds so much better. It was exactly like that. I really liked both aspects of it but I didn’t like them together.

E: Yeah I think that was my thoughts. I knew there was a romance.  I mean, the book is literally called When Dimple Met Rishi. The issue for me was that it was set up as an incredible opportunity for a woman to break into a male dominated profession. It turned into a love story instead. I was simply disappointed that it became predictable. I get that with contemporaries can have a formula when writing them.

J: It doesn’t have to.

E: It doesn’t have to. Also, all the reviews I saw for this book were praising this book. I think that also hurt my opinion when reading this book. I had seen some of my favorite book bloggers saying that it was an amazing book. It just didn’t mesh with me. It’s a cute story but I’m not a huge fan of cute stories.

J: I think that you have to go all out or you don’t go at all. Rainbow Rowell, Morgan Matson, Stephanie Perkins, and Jenny Han write cute stories. They write the books that give you the butterflies in your stomach and that nostalgic feel to it. They do that really well. I think that the problem here was that she had too many ideas. When she put them together it got really muddled. So, when it got to those moments hat make a great contemporary throughout the plot the emotions weren’t as strong. It was simply because there was a background of another story that you were equally invested in. So, it took away from the intensity of those moments. I think if it was a story about her coding and her developing a relationship despite the competition it would be good.  Instead it felt like the coding competition was just a way to have them meet to start the romance. Or if they didn’t make such a statement about how groundbreaking she was going to be. I was waiting for her moments of standing up for herself and women and I didn’t really get that.

E: That was another bone I had to pick. We have a character who is a strong character. She is meant to be this strong feminist role and she is. But, she has a stance of not wanting what is expected of her. I felt like Sandhya Menon didn’t really know her character. I felt it was out of character for Dimple to end up in a relationship. I thought it was going to be a thing between them for a passing time and then them deciding they’d be better off as friends. I’d be really happy about that. But, it wasn’t the case. I just felt like she didn’t follow what her character would have done. If she wanted that to be the case showing ideas and perceptions can change that’d be fine.

C: I feel like with this being her debut novel I’m excited to see her develop and grow as a writer. I really did like this book and I liked reading it. There was just a lot going on.

J: I liked her voice.

E: Yeah, she had a very strong voice.

J: Can I say the moment I was totally pulled out the book? First of all, I had a very hard time getting into this book. I don’t know why but it was a struggle. But, I was trying to give it a chance. Then it got to the talent show and I couldn’t rationalize why a camp would put on a talent show to help you win a coding competition.

C: I didn’t get it either.

J: I couldn’t figure out any other reason it was included other than a plot point to separate Dimple from the aberzombies. It was just a plot point. So I didn’t like that and I really wish that whole section wasn’t included. I think she could have done so much more without it.

E: I agree.

C: Honestly, if she played off the whole finding herself aspect in that it would have been better. She didn’t use it to her advantage to develop Dimple’s character.

E: It’s like Jenn said it didn’t make sense. Originally, when they mentioned the talent show I thought it would revolve around coding.

C: I thought it was going to be a science fair!

E: Yeah, then it turned into dancing and singing and it didn’t make sense. I actually thought I would have liked a book of Dimple going through the camp. I would also like a book focused on Rishi and his comics. She just put so much into it that she couldn’t flush it out.

J: Maybe it shouldn’t be two separate storyline but separate books in a series. So, for the first one it could be her finding herself and going through coding camp and meeting Rishi. The second could be more focused on Rishi’s story and development with the comics and his passion. Then the final one could really focus on the relationship between the two of them. That would have felt like a smoother transition that ties everything together rather than feeling like it was all crammed into one.

E: I think that talent show was a great indicator of her having  a lot of ideas that weren’t necessarily needed.

J: I think it was supposed to show Dimple was gaining confidence. But, since it happened toward the end of the book and it focused more on the aberzombies it felt pointless.

C: I did very much like the Indian culture in the book. I liked that it was a diverse novel.

J: I really appreciated it too. I wish we could see more of her background and more of her family.

E: I didn’t know how her mother and father interacted really because we didn’t get to see a lot of them.

C: Yeah, and I really liked them a lot.

E: I wish we got to see more of them.

 

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