Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review.
You know how the more you read of a certain genre, the harder it becomes to enjoy it? I’ve been reading Chick Lit for close to twenty years (what?!) and I go through phases where I think I won’t ever enjoy another iteration.
I worried a little bit that that was happening with The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli but I’m happy to report that it did manage to redeem itself. Plus, this book is Canadian and you all know how that’s always been a challenge for me.
Raina Anand has just turned 29 and her nani is keen to get her married to a nice Indian boy. Raina has a great career, owns a condo in Toronto (no small feat!) and has a great group of friends – she’s a catch! The problem is that Raina’s heart isn’t in it; she’s still hung up on Dev, the guy she was with while living in London who definitely isn’t ready for that kind of step. When they broke up Raina was devastated and wore out the patience of her best friend, who is now planning her own big Indian wedding.
There was a point in the book when I was afraid it was going to become a story about a girl waiting on the wrong kind of boy to come to his senses and realize he wants to be with her, that she would only feel validation once he loved her.
Happily, the further I read the more layers I peeled back. The Matchmaker’s List is a kind of boy-meets-girl story made fresh by the cultural observations of an Indo-Canadian woman. It’s the story of three generations of women in a family trying to come to terms with what their relationships to each other and their community look like. Raina gets into all kinds of trouble by letting her grandmother think that she’s gay so she will stop trying to set her up. In borrowing a narrative that doesn’t belong to her, she realizes that she’s cheapening the story for those who it does belong to.
The Matchmaker’s List was funny, it was honest, it felt real. It’s a completely Canadian story while also being universal in its themes of love, family, and the journey to find our true selves.