I picked this book because it is supposed to fit Popsugar challenge prompt #4, a book about a bookclub. Now that I’ve read it, for me, it doesn’t fit but I’m super picky. As I mentioned in one of my posts about prompts, you choose the rules. You choose what fits and what doesn’t. It’s entirely subjective. There is no group monitoring what you read and deciding if something fits or not. For me, this doesn’t fit. It does work for other prompts… A book set in a city that has hosted the Olympics (London), a book recommended by your favorite blog, vlog, podcast, or online book club (It’s a Reese’s book club pick and my online book club recommended it), a book you picked because the title caught your attention (erotic stories?!?), a book on a subject you know nothing about (if you don’t know much about India or the Sikh religion), a book featuring one of the seven deadly sins (lust or envy), a book by a WOC, or a book with a main character in their 20’s. The last one is probably what I’ll use it for now.
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Women is written by Balli Kaur Jaswal and was published June 2017 by William Morrow. It takes place in present day London and mainly follows Nikki, a girl in her 20’s who dropped out of University and is trying to figure out her way. She ends up meeting a group of widows who she is supposed to teach writing to (see not a book club, a writing class). It ends up turning into a group that shares erotic stories and they help each other capture and write these stories.
The book highlights several points that could lead to further discussions. Nikki’s conflict between her immigrant world/community and being a local, having been born and raised in London. You can see her struggle as she wants to be accepted by both. She is frustrated by American tourists that don’t think she is from London but she is also not frustrated when she is considered an outsider by the Punjabi community because she is too English. She’s caught in the middle.
It also covers how detrimental judgement and the fear of shame can be to a person. It can drive people to do crazy things. I hate judgement. I’ve struggled with fear of being judged my whole life and have worked hard to get out from under that. I’ve always have felt that there is commonality between the South in the US and the Indian culture and how there is so much severe judgement and shame in both.
I love that this book takes on the subject of judgement, shame and the taboo of talking about things, head on. I love that it explored Nikki’s struggle of being an outsider to both of the worlds that she is part of. I wasn’t a fan of the writing. I struggled through parts of it and that may have been due to the fact that it’s a translation… maybe some things got lost in transition. Because of my struggle with the writing and layout of the book, I rated it 3 out of 5 stars. A lot of my bookish friends rated it much higher at 4 or 5 stars. On Goodreads it’s 3.9/4 stars.
I’ve been extremely fortunate to have spent time in India and have many Indian friends, I know a lot of people that don’t have that and I think this is a great book to give people insight into a culture that they may know nothing about and I highly recommend it for that. I also think it is a fun book but it might have too many steamy sex stories for some people, I’m on the fence about whether all of them were needed.
Did any of you read it? Do you agree? Disagree with me??