Good Girls Marry Doctors South Asian American Daughters on Obedience and Rebellion by Piyali Bhattacharya (San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 2016. 196 pages.)

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Sara Haq



From the publisher that brought us Gloria Anzaldua’s classic work Borderlands/
La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987), now comes Good Girls Marry Doctors:
South Asian American Daughters on Obedience and Rebellion. Aunt
Lute Books gives us this 2016 anthology of short stories edited by Piyali Bhattacharya
that, I envision, will strike a similar chord of deep resonance with
those who are living in the liminal spaces of mixed consciousness, mixed cultures,
mixed religions – the South Asian American diasporic community and
beyond. The striking cover of the book shows a graphic illustration of a brown
girl decked in traditional South Asian gold jewelry and a red sarhi, her hand
slipping underneath the fabric below her waist, leaving the viewer to imagine
that she is feelin’ herself.
The style of writing and the range of themes allow this book to speak to
a multitude of audiences. The book can easily be included in syllabi ranging
from South Asian American studies, American studies, and Islamic studies to
women/gender/sexuality studies, cultural studies, and affect theory. What
Bhattacharya set out to do over a span of eight years in bringing this collection
to fruition is to create for herself and the women she knew a network, a community,
a support system (p. v) – “we had to find our tribe” (p. viii). What I
find interesting and useful in this collection is that it can be used as an illustration
of how gender and sexuality frame affective knowledge production
and world-making in diasporic communities ...

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