This was my last read of Jan 2020, and I’m glad I ended my reading month with this delightful and relevant book. Also, this would be my second book as part of the South Asian Reading Challenge pick this year, which I replaced for Scavenge the Stars, since I wasn’t able to get my hands on the new release 🙂
Now, I know there will be a lot of people who will either read the book because of its title, or avoid buying/reading the book because of its title. Well, let me tell you readers, this is neither a fifty shades of grey kind of book, nor a book that just has a clickbait title or one that will make you squirm with discomfort if you’re a prude like me.
The author has very cleverly written about the making of the ‘fictional’ book from her story, and added that in title of the real book that we read. But the story is not actually about erotic stories for Punjabi widows. It is about women across the world, married women, single women, women facing the constant domination of a patriarchal society, women who have been taught to subdue their most basic desires through years of social conditioning – either on the basis of morals or on the basis of religion. It is the story of women who are forced into marriages, women who are told that marital rape is OK, because you’re just fulfilling your duty, women who have undergone years of torture but who judge other women if they try to carve their own paths, because they’ve been taught that being abused socially, emotionally or physically, is completely acceptable. This is the story of these women and how they fight their subjugation through the power of these erotic stories.
I loved how these lovely Punjabi women get together and talk about their wildest fantasies. Oh yes, some of those stories did make me blush, since, I’m one of those women who had been raised to think of sex and pleasure as sinful practises or thoughts. My fantasies literally would end at the kiss. Even that was blasphemous, if I shared that thought with another adult. I wish I had read this book when I was younger 🙂
I also adored the friendships and woman-power that builds up in the book. We see so many different characters and almost everyone gets their redemption. I really enjoyed how the author wrapped up all the different stories, with such clarity of thought.
All in all, a lovely book. One you should pick up if:
- You want to read about diverse characters, or if you’re Indian and want to read about your own community/country
- You like stories featuring strong female characters and female friendships
- You like reading a bit of erotic stories 😉
- You like reading about feminist issues and different ways of tackling those issues by means of a fictional book
- You like reading about unusual friendships – such as between a younger person and an older person
Avoid this book if:
- Steamy stories make you deeply uncomfortable. Those stories are just 5% of the whole book, but still, if you can’t digest them, don’t read it 🙂
- Death of a child is a trigger or a difficult subject to read about. That part was actually harder for me to read without crying, than the rest of the book
- Subjects of child marriage and rape act as triggers
Questions to you guys 🙂
Have you read this book? Did you love it, or weren’t that impressed by it?
Is there a book you read, which was out of your comfort zone, but once you read it, you were glad you did?