Review: Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
What a title. Anything that is a pick from Reese's bookclub, you know will be a safe bet. After I saw the name, that was all I needed to know!
Nikki is the daughter of Indian immigrants. At 26, living in west London and working in a pub, she has spent most of her life avoiding her Sikh roots and has a stronger preference to a more Western lifestyle. Not knowing what she wants to do with her life, she signs up to teach a creative writing class in her community. Many Punjabi widows make an appearance; the creativity of their stories definitely leans on the raunchier side. Nikki has to battle between her enthusiasm for the women sharing their stories (no matter the subject) and cautioning them to safety to ensure the brotherhood of conservative men in the area don't discover what they're up to!
I thought this book was incredibly refreshing; who doesn't like reading a bit of erotica over their morning porridge? This book had a bit of everything and all under 300 pages: drama, romance, comedy (and of course some porn thrown in). It was fun and didn't take itself too seriously so I would class this as a perfect summer read.
Something I have to commend the book on also is that it is completely different to anything else I've ever read. There are conversations about female suppression within the culture, and interesting discussions about acts that are legal in some communities and illegal in others. However, it ultimately was able to perfectly weave in moments of seriousness with a wonderful comical (and some what ridiculous) storyline... Despite this being a short book, I found the characters to be convincing and I was immersed in the story quickly. My only fault with it is that the real joy and tenderness of the book starts when Nikki begins teaching the classes, and I felt that slightly too much time was unnecessarily taken before it truly began - but again, being a short book meant that not much of a difference was made!
Initial Prediction: 3.5 stars
Final Rating: 4 stars
Publication Date: 9 March 2017
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
# of Pages: 298