“The Newlyweds” tells the story of Amina and George. Amina is living in Bangladesh and George in Rochester, NY, when they “meet” on a (dating?) site called AsianEuro.com. After several months of communication over email and the phone, George travels to Bangladesh to meet Amina and her family properly. During that visit, Amina and George become engaged and she eventually moves from Dhaka to Rochester, where they are married.
Although the book is called “The Newlyweds” it’s not really about George and Amina as a couple. Really, it’s mostly (maybe even all) about Amina and is written predominantly from Amina’s point-of-view. We learn why she puts a profile up on AsianEuro.com, her plans to continue studying English, her plans to support her parents from Rochester, and her plans to eventually bring them to America to live with her and George. If George also had plans, we don’t learn what they are.
It was an interesting book, and I enjoyed reading it, but it’s not a love story. Yes, the synopsis on the inside flap and some of the reviews on the back call it a love story, but it’s not. I mean, the book focuses more on Amina than George, but even with the scant bit we find out about George, it’s obvious that they are both in love with other people. And they are both prevented from acting on that love for a variety of reasons. So, no, this is not a love story about George and Amina. It’s a story of two practical people getting together and being practical with a little emotional blackmail thrown in for fun.
Don’t let the fact that it’s not a love story deter you from reading it though (unless, of course, you are medically prohibited from reading anything that’s not a love story. Safety first, people, safety first). It’s well written and provides an interesting snapshot of one aspect of immigrant life. And Amina’s relationships and interactions with her parents and extended family was fascinating. I also really enjoyed reading more about Bangladesh as it is not a country I’m very familiar with.
All in all, I’d recommend this book and give it 3.5 stars. If you’re a Freudenberger fan, I think you’ll really enjoy “The Newlyweds.” If you thought “Lucky Girls” was pretentious and overrated, so did I, but I still really liked this book. If you’ve never heard of Freudenberger but enjoy well-written literature, give this a try.