So The Marriage Bureau for Rich People is about a family, the primary character only going by Mr Ali as well as his wife Mrs Ali. One day, Mr Ali sets up a family-owned business at his house that will help people find a match for marriage. There are a lot of internet dating sites that are much cheaper than five-hundred dollars out there, but the business is successful nonetheless. This book also takes place in India during the dry and hot season, where separately a girl named Aruna is around looking for work and ways to fix her family feud, and Mr Ali's son Rehman is on a what Mr Ali calls "childish" protest of condos and houses being built unlawfully on farmer ground. With all those stories meshed together, we have our book.
Now, the last book I read that took place in India was Tiger's Curse, and I've ranted on that book ever since I first reviewed it. And the last foreign book I read which took place somewhere hot, from recent memory, was Things Fall Apart, and I liked that book even less. This book doesn't completely scrub off the bad taste in my mouth those two books left, but it still didn't really bore me. The novel brightly discusses religion between Muslims and Hindus and acknowledges that these people don't fight as much as they do anymore. I wish we had more books that acknowledge religion difference isn't as subjective and inflammatory as it could be. Thankfully, Mr Ali doesn't antagonize this like Okonkwo did in TFA. Plus, the landscapes and flowers described here made me sort of want to visit India, or at least look at a documentary of what their land is like, if that ever comes up. When Rehman refuses to agree with his father on the protest, he gets kicked out of his house and family. This was one of those circumstances where I wished there was a Freaky Friday element to it, one where Rehman and Mr Ali switched bodies, or at least places. Imagine if you were Mr Ali and someone was threatening your business or your garden. Would you fight for it or would you succumb to the idea of having no power over it? If developers wanted to change something you weren't affiliated with, would you care about it less? That was the story I wished we had more of instead of the one we have here.
The filler this book has involving Mr Ali's business and his customers makes his business seem genuine and may help some readers on business ideas. Sadly, the book also doesn't have any lasting impressions throughout this part of the story and doesn't play much of a role. Not to mention in Aruna's story, the outcome you can actually tell from a mile away. The other two stories concerning Aruna and Rehman are more interesting and plot-building than Mr Ali's, but these are also less original and even less unpredictable. Rehman's protest storyline is one I didn't see coming, but when it happened, there wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Remember, I'm a teen. I've read stacks of rebellion books. And I was close to recommending this book nonetheless for its skill in having writing that gave me a feel of India, as well as its acknowledgement of peaceful religions. But I guess what prevented me from recommending it was this one line about twenty pages before the end. It involved saying, "I can't marry _____," even though this character had been talking about it forever and does this marriage a few pages after. It almost felt like a spelling mistake. Not to mention the turnouts were predictable and the end felt like nothing lasting had really happened on the marriage bureau. And I guess it's harder for me to recommend a book when there are others much easier to skim through. The book might be worth checking out if you enjoy hiking, and don't ask me why I said that.