Review of Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows #ReadBravely #ReadingChallenge2019

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows is the fourth book that I read in January 2019. The first three books are Poonachi, The Girl on the Train and Norwegian Woods respectively. The title of this book intrigued me. I had also read a few reviews and most readers had praised it. This book was also picked up by Reese Witherspoon in her Reese’s Book Club. Honestly, I had great expectations from this book. However, when I started reading this book it felt more like an Ekta Kapoor mega soap opera where there are too many characters and the writer forgets what she/he was writing and the narrative goes all over the places. I had expected that this story would be about the widows however this story is not about them. This story is about a British-Punjabi girl called Nikki and how she solves the murder mystery of two Punjabi girls called Maya and Karina Kaur. The erotic stories of widows are thrown into this book exactly the way ‘item songs’ are thrown in Bollywood movies. The erotic stories are nothing poetic rather they are sexual fantasies of these middle-aged women that I found raunchy and titillating. These women are apparently shown getting empowered by talking about their sexual fantasies as if only way middle-aged women can get empowered is by talking about raunchy sex. Why would they want to come to a class only to talk about sex was beyond my understanding. The logic of this book is as logical as “Saans bhi kabhi bahu thi.”

The premise of the story had potential but the author was not able to exploit it to full potential. This story is the East meets West but it fails to talk about the Indian diaspora. If you have read Jhumpa Lahiri you would know how beautifully she had treated the East-West dilemma but this book deals the dilemma exactly the way Karan Johar deals in his movies. After the first 200 pages, the book became extremely boring and repetitive. The narrative was not moving forward and only new characters with little contribution to the storyline were getting added. In this book, the author tried to deal with a lot of issues that the diaspora population faces like xenophobia, immigrant status etc. It also talks about honor killing, arranged marriages, Izzat and everything that is associated. The author tried to deal with too many things in the scope of one book making it a bit hotch-potch. It could have been an excellent read if the focus would have been on the widows rather than a murder mystery. I would rate this book 2/5.

The prompts this book adheres to from #WriteTribeReadingChallenge2019 are

# Book written by a female author

# A book set in a country that you visited/want to visit

# A book recommended by a celebrity

# A book on crime-solving

# A book written by an author who is new to you

The prompts this book adheres to from #PopsugarReadingChallenge are

# A book you think should be turned into a movie (ideal masala film for Bollywood)

# A book recommended by a celebrity

# A book featuring an amateur detective (co-incidental rather than amateur)

# A book written by an author from Asia

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23 thoughts on “Review of Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows #ReadBravely #ReadingChallenge2019

  1. the bespectacled mother says:

    Okay. Let me just say your review was interesting more because I have read only good reviews about this book and your goes against popular opinion. I have read this book. Although I will agree with you that the name of the book does not do justice to the story. It says something else while the story is not entirely about it. Another thing I will agree is the point of women empowerment through talking about erotica. Talking about sexuality alone is no empowerment. The erotica was raunchy and titillating also. Despite these points, I still liked the book for the young girl’s story. I found the murder mystery thrilling. I couldn’t keep the book down once I picked it up because I wanted to know the what, who and why.
    Now I am off to reading your review of Norwegian wood. You remember I said I wanted to talk about it in detail but there is time crunch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      Erotic stories is a very Bollywood kind of book. It is almost like a book version of Kabhi Khushi kabhi gham or any other NRI Bollywood movie. Not my kind of book. I almost had to struggle to read the last few pages. Too cliched. I am extremely happy to read your detailed comment.

      Like

  2. Natasha says:

    I’m so glad I read your review, Tina. Everyone else has been raving about it so was planning to give it a go. But right now I have too interesting a TBR to waste on something like this. It sounds rather cliched to me.

    Will read your Norwegian Woods review too.

    Have a fabulous week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      See..it is not a bad book..many people absolutely loved it.. I am just not into these kinds of book that doesn’t mean that someone else wouldn’t like it. For example in Goodreads so many people have written bad reviews about Norwegian woods but I loved that book whereas erotic stories have such great reviews but it failed my likings. So a book is subjective..you never know you may like it.

      Like

  3. Shilpa Garg says:

    This is the first 2/5 kind of review I have read for this book.
    I enjoyed reading this book. It covered a lot of valid issues of the Punjabi community in Southhall. And also it was fun and funny at many places. I finished reading it in a short span of time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      Book reviews are extremely subjective and I am not saying it is a bad book…it is just not my type of book. I myself was surprised when I didn’t like it because I had great expectations from this book as I had read amazing reviews. I just couldn’t connect to this book. Thankfully in Goodreads I found few other readers who also echoed my sentiments. Before that I was feeling part of an isolated club where every single person liked this book and I didn’t 😐

      Like

  4. Shalzmojo says:

    Oh my god!!! I ma one of those who loved this book immensely so reading your review is like WHOA!!! I love the way you dont pack any punches and just go straight out to lay it all there. I agree with your review from the POV that this is not the kind of book you like to read.

    I didnt find it Bollywoodish at all and in fact love the exploration of sexuality by the elderly women who, I cannot imagine to have a sex life simply because of their everyday personna. I loved how this modern generation girl is thrown in their midst to teach them English and then WHAM!! these women begin to bond over a part of their lives that no one ever associates with them.

    Wearing white means life is over!! So hearing them talk about sex and in such rustic terms; delighted my soul to no end. That for me was the highlight of the book!

    But each to their own and I loved your Murakami review to pick up that book soonest! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      90% of people absolutely loved this book. At one point I even doubted myself for not liking this book. I almost felt isolated but then I found few readers on Goodreads who shared my views and I felt relieved that I am not alone 😁😁 I had high expectations from this book but somehow I was unable to like this book. I liked it in bits and pieces but overall I didn’t like it.

      Like

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