Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Newlyweds

I spent most of last week reading The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger, one of my Amazon Vine picks of the month. While the cover wasn't very appealing to me, the story within was.
George and Amina are technically newlweds. How they came to be married is slightly different than most couples.  Amina, originally from Bangladesh, uses an online dating service where she meets George, an American.  The two correspond for a while, and George eventually comes to Bangladesh to meet Amina, and then proposes.  The two barely know each other, but when Amina comes to America she moves in with George before the wedding since she needs him to take care of her in a strange country.  Both George and Amina have a few secrets that they haven't told each other.  As these are revealed, the two cope with them as best they can. What I found interesting is that in today's world many married couples would have immediately decided to end their marriage, while George and Amina struggle through.  Both have opportunities to end their marriage, or choose a different path, but opt to stay together for a variety of reasons. Even as Amina arrives in the US, she secretly plans to bring her parents over and move them in with her, a custom in her native land.  While she doesn't reveal this to George, his own secret (found out by Amina in a timely way) causes him to agree to this plan.  Both George and Amina have past loves that they are not honest about. 
In some ways I felt sorry for this couple who appear to be less than happy and appear to be willing to "settle" with each other. But another part finds their commitment admirable along with their ability to accept the imperfections they both have.
I have continued to think about George and Amina ever since I stopped reading.  Freudenberger's book will make a great book club selection - there is much to discuss and enjoy.

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