Review: Arranged — Catherine McKenzie

Read: 28
To Go: 72

Book List:
21. Why Men Lie — Linden MacIntyre
22. My Dear I Wanted to Tell You — Louisa Young
23. Phaedrus — Plato
24. The First Wife — Emily Barr
25. The Last Boyfriend — Nora Roberts
26. Love in the Time of Cholera — Gabriel Garcia Marquez
27. Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes — Kamal Al-Solaylee
28. Arranged — Catherine McKenzie

Anne Blythe has a great life: a good job, close friends, and a potential book deal for her first novel. When it comes to finding someone to share her life with, however, she just can’t seem to get it right. When her latest relationship implodes and her best friend announces she’s engaged, Anne impulsively calls what she thinks is a dating service — only to discover that it’s actually an exclusive, and pricey, arranged marriage service. Anne initially rejects the idea, but the more she learns about the service, the more she thinks: why not? After all, arranged marriages are the norm for millions of women around the world; maybe it could work for her.

A few months later, Anne is travelling to a Mexican resort, where, over the course of a weekend, she meets and then marries Jack. And initially, everything seems to be working out…

In case that was confusing for anyone, the review starts here.

So, if it wasn’t obvious, I have a bit of a bone to pick with whoever wrote the back blurb for this book. Everything sounds great until all of a sudden it trails off into nothing; I feel like just a wee bit more information would’ve been good before whipping out the ellipses.

Aside from that, I really, really enjoyed Arranged. It sounds like a totally bizarre novel but it was funny, sweet, adorable, romantic — and, most importantly, light. I needed a light read after the last two heavier novels.

The only thing I would nitpick about the book is that, occasionally, the dialogue was written a little bit like a teenager penning their first story (I have trouble explaining it better than that, but it only happened like once or twice so no big deal). As well, there was this whole sibling pet-name thing going on that didn’t make sense to me. That I’ll explain:

I have a thing against novels where siblings call each other “brother” and “sister” or “little sister” and “big sister.” You know, you get the gist. Like, if you look at most sibling relationships (or, most of the ones know), they just call each other by their first names (or, occasionally, “hey, jackass!”) or a nickname. I would never call Megan “little sister,” because it wouldn’t make any sense. We know which order we were born in, we don’t have to keep re-establishing it. So when authors choose to go that route, in order to seem, like, precious or something, it just feels a touch overdone.

It sounds like I’m ragging on this book and that I hated it, but I swear I really didn’t. It was great — I thought the plot was original and really interesting, and Anne was basically your everywoman — I’m sure every lady could relate to her in some way. And Jack…could I just have him? Please? He’s like my ideal man.

Also, fun fact: of the 388 pages in this book, I read 280 of them yesterday. And then the other 108 today. And yes, I am very proud.

Next book: either Tucker Max or Tina Fey. It’s a toss-up.

– Kelsey

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