Ed's Reviews > The Newlyweds

The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger
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's review
May 13, 12

it was ok
bookshelves: 2-and-a-half-stars, 2012, new-author-to-me, read-on-kindle
Read from May 02 to 12, 2012

After gushing on about so many really good novels I have read this year, it is almost a relief to come across one that does not quite bowl you over and that you can formulate some criticisms. Though this is not to say all is wrong with Nell Freudenberger's The Newlyweds or that the novel did not have potential in this story of Amina, a young Bangladeshi modern-day mail-order bride (aka international Internet "dating" site) bride coming to Rochester, NY to start a life in surburbia with George, an electrical engineer.

The first parts worked out quite well, exploring the cultural mine-field that would be at the very core of this kind of relationship, let alone any new marriage. Amina is smart and charming, George a bit tentative and bumbling and it was interesting to see how things falling out. But then things get a big bogged up as the emphasis shifts from the marriage to Amina's obsession with bringing her parents to the States. Without giving too much away and despite a good twist with each of the newlyweds (which came the proverbial "day late, dollar short"), I found the novel lost its focus and, by the end, I got thinking "The Newlywed" or "Getting A Visa" would have been a more apt title.

A bit more nagging, was that I did not find the work to have an authentic ethnic voice. In the acknowledgements, Freudenberger suggests the jumping point of the novel was a couple she knew and also notes her own extensive international travel. But I just don't think that kind of observational research, especially as an outsider, can possibly create what would have been a far richer literary experience if the author was Bangladeshi.

Good. In parts, interesting. But ultimately, just a bit of timing misfortune of not favorably stacking up against recent reads. 2.5 stars, with the round-down to an "okay" 2 stars.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle Can't wait to see if you like this. I have been waiting for it to come out.

message 2: by Ed (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ed I really didn't know what to read next, so pretty much twirled my finger around my TBR list, plus looked at that ToB "watch list" for next year and this is what came up. Just underway, but seems interesting.

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