Marrying Anita: A Quest for Love in the New India By Anita Jain

Is arranged marriage any worse than Craigslist? One smart and feisty woman's year in India looking for a husband the old-fashioned way reveals a rapidly changing culture and a whole host of ideas about the best way to find a mate.

Anita Jain was fed up with the New York singles scene. After three years of frustration and awkward dates, and under constant pressure from her Indian parents to find someone, she started to wonder: was looking for a husband in a bar any less barbaric than traditional arranged marriage? After all this effort, there had to be something easier.

After announcing in a much-discussed New York magazine article her intention to try arranged marriage, Jain moves back to India—the impoverished, backward land her parents fled—to find a husband. At age thirty-two, and well past the cultural deadline for starting a family, Jain subjects herself to a whole new onslaught of expectations. Marrying Anita is an account of romantic chance encounters, nosy relatives, and dozens of potential husbands. Will she find a suitable man? Will he please her parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins? Is the new urban Indian culture in which she's searching really all that different from America?

With disarming candor, Jain tells her own romantic story even as it unfolds before her, and in the process sheds new light on a country modernizing at breakneck speed. Marrying Anita is a refreshingly honest look at our own desires and the modern search for the perfect mate. Marrying Anita: A Quest for Love in the New India


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I went to Junior High with Anita and we were pretty good friends for the 2 years there. I was excited to find out what she has been up to and the book brought back memories of her and her folks. I agree with other folks that the writing style is good, but the plot doesn't really move enough.

I thought it was a good effort for a first book. I learned quite a bit about India and how marriage is changing. I have other Indian friends that have been in semi-arranged marriages, so it is neat to have the perspective on it.

As others have mentioned, Anita doesn't come off very well in the book. I think she is pretty self-reflective about her flaws. This leaves them open to criticism by other people, but I give her credit. She is brave and honesty in a journey (and struggle)of exploring where she fits into the world. She holds onto herself, even if it isn't always pretty.

9781596911857 A very shallow book that frequently veered off-topic. 9781596911857 I found this book to be pretty disappointing. Like others have commented - I kept waiting for the part where something substantial happens. I also could never understand who Anita was really looking for - and I kept waiting for her to outgrow a lifestyle that seemed to be doing nothing for her - but she seemed very attached to and proud of her drinking and partying and casual liaisons. I hope everyone has had some time in their lives when they let loose and tried things simply for the hedonistic pleasure - but if it becomes a prolonged lifestyle - I think THAT is a limitation. JMHO 9781596911857 I learned that India is not the tradition bound society it once was. I enjoyed learning about the new India but Jain didn't do a great job of making herself into an interesting character. I found her writing compelling enough to finish the book but it lacked a fascinating main character. Some of the editing was sloppy. My edition has a few sentences where words seem to be missing. This book was more like a long newspaper article. It does open the eyes of the western reader to realize that cosmopolitan Indians now readily date, drink, divorce and have a fixation with youth culture. 9781596911857 The byline is inaccurate for sure!!! New India... New, maybe from the perspective of a second-generation immigrant, but as a reader who's part of the generation that grew up through the economic boom of the nineties, the description lacked freshness to me. The changes are indeed all cosmetic... Not just the hinterland, even the Tier-II cities lack any ground-breaking change that may be expected of the New India in question...
The premise was doubtless interesting. And as massacred English is one of my pet peeves, the authors trysts with were funny too... But my interest deteriorated as she traipsed around Dilli, one set-piece of a prospective husband soon merging into another. Cliches crowded the narrative.
One word i'll carry from this book: Hendrixstan - an original! 9781596911857

I heard this author interviewed on NPR, and thought her book sounded interesting. She is a 30-something woman, with Indian parents, who was born in America. After a succesful career and living all over the world, she realizes how lonely she is and wants to be married. So she moves to India in the hopes of finding a nice Indian guy. It's the story of her first year there. And I didn't love it. I wanted to. It was interesting to some degree, and she was so funny and nice on the radio, but her book was sort of bleh. It's a different culture than mine that is so casual about sex, drunkeness, and smoking pot. Her weekends are filled with this stuff, and she just never seems to find a guy. I couldn't help wonder if she tried to do NEW things when she moved to Delhi then she may have had different opportunities.
I gave this one star because I went with the reader through her journey, expecting her to come out a little changed by the end but I didn't feel she was. She didn't learn anything, she didn't progress. And I just couldn't identify with her lifestyle which seems so..empty? especially for a woman who is looking for a meaningful relationship.
It was interesting however, to learn a bit more about India's caste system and the whole arranged-marriages-culture. It's very complicated and seemed really strange to me.
Wow, this is a long review for a book I didn't like too well. I guess I felt like I had to justify why I gave it one star 9781596911857 Fun, lighthearted, quick read. Kind of like non-fiction chick-lit. I found Jain to be fairly class- and gender- conscious. Her commentary, although not earth-shattering, was smart and funny. She doesn’t really find love by the end of the book, but then I guess that would be too tight and neat of an ending. I am curious about where she is now.

I liked the fact that she stayed in New Delhi after her one-year quest – it made the relocation and story much more genuine, not just something she did so she could write a book. I thought it was pretty courageous and honest to document this journey; honestly, I would be embarrassed to divulge some of the details she recounted to readers (Indian aunties would definitely disapprove of the drinking, the numerous male friendships and dating, and the non-traditional ideas about relationships!). I also liked her parents, her dad in particular, for standing behind their daughter and supporting her.

Drawbacks: Chapters weren't thematically organized in anyway, they just
seemed to be a chronological account. I guess that makes sense since the basis of the book is on a one-year mission of sorts. Hard to tell where she was in time. Sometimes her relationships with male friends were kind of annoying, but then, who am I to judge?
9781596911857 The most interesting part of this book, for me, was the close-up, semi-insider's view of new India (a world I will never, ever, ever, ever see, I realized several times as I read--I don't possess the right personality). Perched on Anita Jain's shoulder, we're inducted into parties, clubs, exclusive jaunts to the countryside, not to mention her struggles to secure a decent apartment as a single woman. I love that she gives us price tags (she spends $18.20 a month for a cook!) The ostensible subject of the book, however (moving to India to find a husband/ satisfying long-term relationship), was much harder to read about. I ended the book feeling bruised and a little sordid, and irritated with myself for partly sympathizing with the puritanical landlords who didn't appreciate the late-night parties and surfeit of male visitors. Well, obviously you're having trouble finding a husband, I clucked to myself more than once. And then felt bad for being judgmental. Nevertheless, something about this book is ultimately unsatisfying: while it purports to be a book about finding a husband and settling down--i.e., a serious and concerted change of mind and habits for the globe-trotting author--it ends up being a chronicle of changing the scenery but keeping the mind the same. And this, for me, was disappointing. 9781596911857 Hard to determine stars to give this book; the writing style is pretty good, the beginning of the book makes some great observations--but it all seems very pointless in the end!)

I read the first quarter of the book avidly, eagerly, enjoying the experience. The next quarter was somewhat less exciting. And then, about half way through, I was so fed up with Anita that I skimmed the next few chapters and went straight to the Epilogue (it's a mark of how infuriating this book became because I generally regard it as a HUGE no-no to look ahead in books!) to find out what became of the (as I saw it) going-nowhere-ness of her quest for marriage. After reading that, I felt no need to go back and read the rest.

What did I like about the book: Jain has a good writing style; I was very interested to gain some insights into the New India especially from the eyes of one whose father left India in the early 70s because of the lack of opportunity--now, this Harvard-educated journalist American daughter (who grew up in Sacramento area, actually!) flees TO India to escape the highflying New York culture with it's parties, bars, casual flings and viscious dating circle to find a more marriageable man. (She makes some great observations about the changes in India--has good insights into personalities and such)

Here, though, is where I became quite peeved with Anita. Because, you see, when she went to New Delhi she did THE SAME THING SHE DID IN NEW YORK!!!!! Parties, casual flings, etc., etc. -- it was as if she sought out the same sort of people, they were just New Delhi-ians instead of New Yorkers. It was clear that SHE thought she was finding something a bit more connecting in them, but I didn't really see the difference...

And the biggest disappointment of all...(spoiler warning)


She never got married!!! As the book ended, two years after her arrival in New Delhi, she was still searching. Lots of her friends and former boyfriends are married, but still not Anita. She seems semi-content with this, but also still searching for love. I'm not saying we all need to be married to feel complete, but the fact that this was the basic premise of Jain's work (for HER to feel complete) and that it was called Marrying Anita I felt quite perturbed at the lack of marrying in the end. Especially since I'm not sure what Anita learned from it all...?

9781596911857 What was this book trying to accomplish? Were we meant to feel sorry for her? I can tell you I got sick of her midway through the book but I stuck with it. So, she took a change of life because she couldn't find someone to marry in NY and basically the same happens in India as well.
She seems to cry about this an awful lot in the book but nor does she want to change anything either....I just got this feeling she has some sort of high expectation and it's just going to keep setting her up for failure. Her writing style was fine, it was chatty so in that respect it was easy to read but I got bored too, not much substance except her complaints of being single.

It's not like she didn't meet guys but there was always something wrong with them..Always.

I wouldn't recommend this book for others...I got it as a bargain bin read..Glad I paid little for it..If I had of bought it when it was out at top price I would of felt jipped out of my money. 9781596911857