Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal is a thought-provoking, meaningful, and sexy book that was definitely not what I was expecting. Jaswal pairs funny, light, and lively touches with very serious themes like arranged vs. forced marriages and traditional vs. modern cultures. As I was scrolling through the Libby app, I found this title and checked the author’s website where I found this:
Write a movie poster tagline for your Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows.
Balli Kaur Jaswal:
You’ll never look at root vegetables the same way again.
Nikki and Mindi are sisters who showcase differences between generations and traditions. Mindi is slightly more traditional than her more modern sister Nikki. The daughters of Indian immigrants, both Nikki and Mindi, are working to find their places in life. Needing a change, Nikki applies for and is hired to teach creative writing at the local Sikh community center. When she arrives for the first class though, she learns that the job posting was a lie. Her students are mostly older Punjabi widows who want to learn how to read and write. Quickly adjusting, Nikki starts teaching them English letters, but the widows become bored. The students soon find a book of sexy/erotic short stories that they read to each other before class starts. This devolves into the widows sharing their own stories. Chaos ensues with issues popping up all over the community and within their own class.
Even though the name of this book sounds scandalous, this book is not erotica nor romance. Yes, there are a couple erotic stories, but the stories presented are meant to appear like they are written by women who cannot read or write. Instead they are lived experiences or stories that come from the heart or from loneliness. These stories are presented in ways that show that these women want to feel equal or loved or wanting to feel pleasure or be able to be on equal terms as men. They add meaning to the book by showcasing issues that women have faced for centuries and are still facing today.
There are lots of triggers in this book: violent murders, threats, oppression of women, mention of rape, religious persecution, and social oppression.
This title is also available in spanish fiction and as a Libby eBook.