“Perhaps passion and excitement were meant to be secondary to a stable adult life.”
Every woman has a secret life . . .
Nikki lives in cosmopolitan West London, where she bartends at the local pub. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she’s spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father’s death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki, a law school dropout, impulsively takes a job teaching a “creative writing” course at the community center in the beating heart of London’s close-knit Punjabi community.
Because of a miscommunication, the proper Sikh widows who show up are expecting to learn basic English literacy, not the art of short-story writing. When one of the widows finds a book of sexy stories in English and shares it with the class, Nikki realizes that beneath their white dupattas, her students have a wealth of fantasies and memories. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express their untold stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected—and exciting—kind.
As more women are drawn to the class, Nikki warns her students to keep their work secret from the Brotherhood, a group of highly conservative young men who have appointed themselves the community’s “moral police.” But when the widows’ gossip offers shocking insights into the death of a young wife—a modern woman like Nikki—and some of the class erotica is shared among friends, it sparks a scandal that threatens them all.
Alright my dears, if you are ready for a fiction read with a twist and a lot of refreshing, surprising SASS then this is it! This book was just a joy to listen to on audible. I really enjoyed it because of the cultural journey it took me on, and the very real issues it presented. Being a Mexican-American woman living in the United States, I understand perfectly what Nikki struggles with when wanting to balance her two cultures. In addition, I understand how difficult it is to grow up and eventually realize you disagree with some things you learned from both cultures. Watching Nikki navigate this journey was special. This book allows the reader to experience Nikki evolve, grow, and shape her new perspective based on her new experiences. The Punjabi widows change everything for her, and have her confront a culture she was running from in a loving, personal way. It’s beautiful to witness. It’s also just a fun book that serves as a reminder that we are all alive and full of fantasies and dreams at all ages, not just at youth. The other aspect of the book I not only liked but admired was its courage to confront some of the issues the Punjabi and Sikh community faces not only in London but everywhere. The more we all become more aware and allow ourselves to empathize then we will create a more understanding world. I really recommend this book.
*Images not my own but are a link for purchase*