- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Corgi Childrens (3 May 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0552547344
- ISBN-13: 978-0552547345
- Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 293,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
(Un)arranged Marriage Paperback – 1 May 2001
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A moving story of alienation and identity, (Un)arranged Marriage
follows teenager Manny as he struggles to maintain his links to his
family and live his own life.
The toilets in the motorway
service station at Leicester Forest East stank of disinfectant. But at
least they were warm compared to the biting wind that was kicking up
outside in the car park - where my two brothers Harry and Ranjit were
waiting for me. Waiting to take me to Derby, to a wedding--my
wedding. A wedding that I hadn't asked for, to a girl who I didn't
On the morning of his marriage, which also
happens to be the morning of his 17th birthday, Manny looks back on his rebellious teenage years.
From the age of 13 he has found that the values of the Leicester Punjabi community from which he comes have little relevance to him. He has nothing in common with his brothers or parents. Manny's older brothers appear to him to glory in their ignorance while his father is a hypocritical, violent drunk. His mother is a remote figure who appears only to ask what he wants to eat or to cry hysterically at his disobedience. Knowing that he is expected to follow the same path as his brothers into an arranged marriage at the age of seventeen and a blue collar job, Manny makes the decision to try to make himself the most unsuitable suitor possible, the bridegroom that no-one will choose for their daughter. Finally though, it is a family trip to India which irrevocably sets Manny's mind on the course he had always suspected that he would have to take.
Written in the first person, (Un)Arranged Marriage feels very much as if it is inspired by personal experience, if not of Manny's specific situation then of his environment. The characters inhabit an unsentimental, realistic world, a world where kids often don't try quite hard enough at school and families cannot bridge the huge generation gaps between them. Perhaps what is most striking about Manny is his complete alienation from the Punjabi culture which his family are trying so hard to preserve, and his overwhelming detachment is skillfully captured here. The culture that Manny inherited is completely eclipsed as he embraces the Western culture he finds everywhere outside his home and which offers him the choices he desperately wants. --Rachel Ediss
"Any teenager under pressure from his or her parents to conform will enjoy this novel" (Guardian)
"Rai has an unselfconscious style and a dry sense of the ridiculous . . . An appealing subversive edge" (TES)
"Absorbing and engaging . . . A highly readable debut from Bali Rai that teenagers of any culture will identify with" (Observer)
"Energetically and pacily written . . . There is a vitality and freshness about Rai's writing that engages the reader . . . An intriguing debut that promises well for the future" (Books for Keeps)
"Brilliant" (Amanda Craig The Times)
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Top Customer Reviews
This book shows how much a person can do if they set their mind to it. But it also shows how hard it is to make something of yourself when your parents don't believe in YOU. This book gives us a chance to have a look in at a different culture, and it's marvellously written. This book is one of those books which is completely UNFORGETTABLE!
For a teenager in a similar position - awaiting an unwanted arranged marriage - I would imagine that this book would give them some strength to challenge their situation and help them work out their confusions. But perhaps it is the parents of these potential bridegrooms who should be the ones who read it instead.
I would read another book by Bali Rai, but look forward to him writing perhaps for grown ups too one day.
Manny's family are skih. Also, His father beats him if he is crossed, his brouther's bully him and his mouther only speaks to agree with this father. In Punjabi, marriages are arranged and Mannys family is no different. His brother Ranjit, is married, his outer brother Bilhar ( known as Harry ) is to be married soon. In four years time Manny will be doing the same. But he doesn't want it. He wants to go to collage, and go out with Lisa. Lisa, if they knew about her . . . well, Manny wouldn't be going out anywhere. Manjits father even has a problem with his best friend Ady, because he is black. In his fathers eye, only outer Punjabi people are sutible company.You feels his familys anger at him, for, as they put it, acting white. '(Un)arranged marriage' is a story about doing what you believe in, even if it means betraying you're family. This book makes you look twice at you're own life as well as outers in difrent religions, or countries and outer ways of life in general. This book is a voice that was previously unheard, and is a huge eye opener.
Manny is a really likeable character, who is very real to life. He does do some stupid things, but that's part of being a teenager.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this in my teens from the library and have just brought my own copy. Fantastic tale by Bali Rai. As a British Asian, I found the story very relevant and captivating.Published 9 months ago by M. Ali
The description said it was in great condition but when I received it, it most definitely wasn't.Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great Book! Was from a guys point of view which we dont get to read or see much usually. Enjoyed reading it. Fab Book!Published 13 months ago by kaur
I enjoyed this book. It was an interesting look into a different culture and well written. I'll be picking up more of Bali Rai's work.Published 13 months ago by Nicola
Once I started reading this book, I couldn't leave it half way! I was literally glued to it and finished reading it in one sitting.
I've enjoyed reading Bali Rai books! Read more