The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger is a fictional book which deals with online marriages of US citizens to mail order brides. As with any marriage, this one is also fraught with challenges on a day to day basis.
My rating for The Newlyweds – 3
The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger is a well written book and a first rate drama. The author created a rich world and some thought provoking instances in the narrative.
This is one of those books that I’m on the fence about (much like Jane Eyre). While I certainly appreciate the quality, the story didn’t speak to me nor could I identify myself with anyone of the characters except George, the American husband, which is basically a set piece.
As someone who is not unfamiliar with cross cultural / cross religious marriages, as well as immigration and culture shock, I thought this book would speak to me more – but it didn’t. I really liked the premise of a Bangladeshi woman coming to the United States to marry an American. Amina is not some dimwit, but an intelligent (far more intelligent than her husband), pragmatic and hardworking woman.
Amina’s move from Bangladesh to the US was simply too smooth with little major obstacles. While it’s always exciting to move to a new place, there is also the second guessing, the realization that you have to start over, the depression, loneliness and culture shock. While those issues were addressed in the storyline, they were just mentions when anyone who ever had a big change in their lives know that they are all consuming.
I also didn’t care for Amina. She came off as a manipulator who uses her gullible American husband as a springboard to come across the world, live off his income while planning to bring her parents abroad. George on the other hand keeps making promises which he knows he’s not going to keep (such as converting to Islam) and comes across as a needy, a liar and a bit of a jerk.
I found the characters, besides Amina, one dimensional. The pathetic George falls flat as an equal part of a marriage, the other major character, Kim, does nothing to the story besides bring some tensions to the marriage. I felt that there was no need for such a person to be in the story, granted I used to know women who cannot live without drama (around age 30 I decided I no longer want to associate with miserable people) but I would have found the exploration the day-to-day challenges of such a not-so-uncommon mail order bride marriage much more interesting without another despondent person thrown into the mix. Amina is constantly besieged with by her self-reflection upon religion, heritage and traditions, but none of those actually get more than a paragraph or two per struggle
The book showed such promise and the last quarter, which takes place back in Bangladesh without George, is fantastic. However, I felt, could have been a lot more than what it ended up to be. Still, I’m glad I read it as Ms. Freudenberger has a hell of a way with words.
So tell me, what was the last book you read that showed great promise?
Amina Mazid has met George “a thirty-four-year old SWM who was looking for a wife” on AsianEuro.com. after a year of writing to one another she finds herself in Rochester, NY, living comfortably in her new country.
What George doesn’t realize is that with his beautiful bride, he is also getting traditions, culture and live-in in-laws. George also doesn’t know that he is only a “piece of the puzzle” in Amina’s grand plan of making life better not only for her, but for the rest of her family.
Zohar – Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free
- Migratory Hearts (3quarksdaily.com)
- A Week of Entertainment: Kindle Books Reviewed in Entertainment Weekly’s April 20/27th Issue (kindlereader.blogspot.com)
- Twitter Roundoup for Week Ending 21 April, 2012 (manoflabook.com)
- Nell Sweeney: More Murder, please! (loveonlit.wordpress.com)
- Freudenberg-NOK Taps Into Systems Miniaturization With Line of New Micro-Seals in North America (prnewswire.com)
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