Priyanka’s aunt told her she would be happiest if she didn’t expect too much from marriage if she was obedient and kept quiet and kept the house. So a week after meeting Sanjay, like a good daughter, she packs up for a new name, a new family, and a new country. Of course then, when her new in-laws inform her that she is to take a job and contribute to the household finances, that’s exactly what she does. She’s still not quite sure how she went from a secretary to a reporter, though.
Kavita Daswani’s bittersweet novel is a story about finding oneself in the midst of difficulties. While I first read the novel several years ago, I feel that a second read allowed me to understand better the facets of the characters: how Priya’s hopeless malleability stems from naivetee and fear, but not weakness of character, Sanjay’s blind but well-intentioned misogyny, and how most characters, no matter how kind or cruel they seem, are simply attempting to fulfill their own motivations, even if it means using Priya, and how her failure to completely escape the cycle that chains her down for being a women is not a romantic ending but a precursor to future tragedies.
At its surface level, The Village Bride of Beverly Hills is an enjoyable beach read; beneath, it has enough questions and conflicts to prompt several essays. – Anya W. ’20