When Dimple met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Writing:4 Characters: 4 Plot: 4 – Overall rating 2

Teen romance, Bollywood style. This is a fun, well-written, cute book. Dimple is a fully Americanized Indian girl slated to start at Stanford in the Fall. Her parents are far more interested in Stanford as a vehicle for finding an IIH – Ideal Indian Husband. When they agree to let her go to the six week “Insomnia Con” summer program focused on web development – her passion – she is surprised. Until she arrives and finds Rishi – the boy her parents have decided she will marry – attending as well. The story of them falling in love against her will is a nicely executed teen romance.

BUT – and big SPOILER ALERT because I am so irritated by the plot that I have to explain it all – the story of their experience at “Insomnia Con” is ridiculous. Dimple is supposed to be a strong female character – with real ambitions and a passion for technology. This is great because I love reading books promoting women in STEM fields! However this author knows absolutely zip about the tech field and didn’t bother to do any research. There is hardly a thing about the Insomnia Con program that made any sense.

Dimple declares her passion for web technology often. She wants to develop an app that turns diabetes management into a game in order to help people like her father who have trouble with the administration. She is desperate to win the Insomnia Con prize for best app – the attention and marketing support of Jenny Lindt, her tech hero. That is the extent of the discussion of her great passion. She and Rishi spend a full week of this brief 6 week program working on a Bollywood dance routine to win a talent show that will earn them money to somehow mysteriously enable their app to be better in time to win the prize (and Rishi has tons of money anyway so really there was no need!).

Then another team wins for an obviously stupid idea (Drunk Zombies – a drinking game) because the father of one of them bought a new wing for the University. Jenny Lindt, who in the end likes Dimple’s idea and agrees to help her, gives a little lecture about diversity – about how people get ahead unfairly because they are white or male or straight or rich and how we need more people with different points of view to get the field to move ahead blah blah blah. While diversity is a great message, the set up was offensively inaccurate and paints a very unfair picture of the very industry she claims to be promoting. As a (white, female, straight, reasonably well off but not rich) member of that industry I take real exception to her portrayal.

Rant off!

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