Love Marriage by Monica Ali is an intense book. Not because it is an action thriller or mystery because it is not. Instead, the novel takes a deep look at expected social mores and what really lies behind closed doors. Most importantly, Love Marriage is all about the title. What is love? What is marriage? And are they the same?
A Mix of Cultures
Yasmin Ghorami is engaged to Joe Sangster. The Ghorami family migrated to Great Britain from India before Yasmin and her brother were born. A physician father and stay-at-home mother. Traditional family with a Love Marriage. Or so the story goes.
The Sangster family is Joe and his ultra-feminist and very famous mother. His father was absent for most of his life. So, the couple both grew up in Great Britain but virtually in worlds far apart. Thus, it is quite understandable that Yasmin has the wedding planning jitters.
Love Marriage Theme
The author spins stories of love and marriage, success and failure, and most importantly, of self-awareness. The growth and maturity of the younger generation featured in the novel is moving. Furthermore, an understanding of life events aids in the self-awareness for both Yasmin and Joe.
Monica Ali provides depth to her characters through interactions with secondary characters. And with the side stories, such as with the birth of Jasmin’s niece. And with the secondary characters themselves. Love Marriage takes a deep dive into relationships. What is normal and what is true. Ali also shows how siblings raised in the same household have differing views on the family dynamics.
The writing is peppered with humor, allowing the reader to absorb the intensity of life.
The intricacy of family relationships is the heart of the story. Much like real life, the past is at best rose-colored, at worst, blocked from memory. But love remains. If you are looking for a story deep with meaning, Love Marriage fills the bill. The characters are complex. Self-awareness abounds. Happy endings? The readers will decide that one for themselves.