Dreaming in English picks up where Laura Fitzgerald's debut novel Veil of Roses left off. Tamila Soroush came to America from Iran to find a husband. There were no opportunities in Iran and the lure of America, where her sister was living already, was too much for her to ignore. Following a whirlwind courtship and a last-minute marriage to Ike Hanson, Tamila is ready to embrace America with open arms.
Unfortunately, it won't be that easy. Ike's family is shocked at his sudden decision and is less than welcoming to her. Tamila's former American boyfriends keep surfacing, and not all of them wish her well in her new marriage. Ike's ex-girlfriend, and apparently the previous love of his life, has resurfaced and is intent on making Tamila's new marriage miserable. With her immigration interview looming and all of these obstacles in her way, will her luck run out?
Dreaming in English was an incredibly interesting novel. I especially enjoyed Tamila's reflections on freedom and what it meant to her to be able to become an American citizen. We so often take our freedom and privileges for granted, and it was interesting to be presented with an additional perspective. As Tamila attempts to learn English and to immerse herself in the American culture that surrounds her, we as readers can almost feel how much this means to her.
I also appreciated that this was a commentary on marriage. Anyone can walk into a chapel in Vegas and get married, but Dreaming in English reflects on what it means to keep a new marriage together. I've long felt that the strongest marriages are the ones where the couple works through their misunderstandings and differences in order to come to a better understanding of one another and of themselves. This book examines this issue.
My only complaint would be that I found the ending to be a bit overdramatic, but that did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the novel. On the whole I found it to be well-written and enjoyable, filled with characters that I really came to care about.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Challenges: 2011 100+ Reading Challenge, South Asian Challenge 2011
Courtesy of Erin at Penguin I have one copy of Dreaming in English to give away! To enter:
1. *Mandatory Entry* Leave me a comment letting me know that you would like to win this book. Please include your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win. No e-mail= no entry!
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3. *Bonus Entry* Spread the word about this contest in some way. Facebook it, Tweet it, blog about it or post it on your sidebar. It doesn't matter how you choose to do it, just leave me a separate comment to let me know what you did.
This contest runs until February 18, 2011 at midnight and is open to Canadian and US mailing addresses only. The winner will be notified by e-mail and will have 48 hours to respond. Good luck!