Ackee and Roti by Narinder Purewal

by | May 2, 2023 | Author | 13 comments

  1. What is your book all about?

Ackee and Roti is an autobiographical retelling of my personal life journey. I am a South Asian Punjabi woman who was born and raised in the United Kingdom. Essentially the book is about significant relationships I have encountered in my life that have led me to where I am today.

I have written about my childhood in depth and how at 18 years old I fell in love with a man not from my own cultural background, some would say a ‘taboo’ for South Asian families. I fell in love with a British- Jamaican born man . I share the ups and downs of my interracial relationship to my cross-cultural upbringing and what led to the destruction of the relationship after creating two children together. 

As you travel with me on my journey you see me entering the next stage of my life becoming a single mother and how I navigated and rebuilt a new relationship with my children’s father through a journey of forgiveness, acceptance and understanding along with humility for the sake of our children. In the midst of all of this also having to deal with the stigma that comes attached to South Asian women and rebuilding relationships with my own family who eventually did evolve and embrace us. 

The shame and guilt that came with having an interracial relationship followed me around like a shadow for most of my adult life and just like a coin the other side saw me walking around with no regrets as to me love had no colour. 

When my relationship broke down I had lost my sense of belonging in the world, yet here I was responsible for two very young children feeling alone and lost unable to turn back the clock. It was because of my children I decided I was going to face this shadow and step out of the darkness that had stolen my light otherwise I would only drag them deeper into the darkness with me.

The latter part of the book touches on the racism and discrimination I have had to deal with, as a mother of bi- racial children my children have experienced more anti-black racism from my own community than any other.

  1. What inspired you to write the book?

Initially I started writing the book for both of my children. It wasn’t until the latter end of 2020 we as a family were finding ourselves experiencing discrimination, racism and prejudicial views all too often. I knew that this was something that my children may continue to face in their life as being bi-racial came with challenges especially in a world where racism and its father ‘white supremacy’ had now bled into South Asian cultures and was becoming a growing epidemic around the world.  Sharing the book was my solution to help clean this wound up.

Writing the book was my way of guiding my children through life’s challenges as they became older. Almost like their own ‘Bible’ written first hand by their mother’s lived experiences. It was when I started the first chapter I decided I would share my message with the world and write the book for those experiencing similar adversities in the hope that they too could gain some solace from my journey. The book was also my way of giving back to the universe by sharing my journey I could use the proceeds made from the book to go towards helping under privileged children from all communities.

  1. What is your target audience for the book?

Honestly, I don’t think there is a soul on this earth I haven’t written this book for. It is literally for everyone. Being born in a generation where a huge majority of us are raised with relatives and friends from all cultural backgrounds I felt it was important to write about my life so that others could understand our unique journeys. The only way to understand the journey is to share the journey so together we can rise as one human race. 

Anti – Blackness is inherent in many nonblack communities and we won’t be able to move forward unless we start speaking up and standing in solidarity with all of our brothers and sisters. 

Modern day slavery has destroyed the nuclear family and it is up to us to speak up and look for solutions. If we want to leave a better world for our children then it starts with us. 

  1. What do you hope readers could get out from your book?

By sharing my journey my readers can share a deeper understanding of my experiences and can take any lessons I have learned and apply it to their own lives if they are experiencing similar adversities and particularly if children are involved. 

Explore proven techniques for managing stress and emotional challenges that come with being a single parent.

Learn how to overcome heartbreak and emotional pain, and how to cultivate a positive and resilient mindset that allows you to thrive.

Most importantly, exploring innovative ideas for celebrating and embracing diversity in all its forms, and how to encourage your children to do the same.

  1. What are your future goals/plans for the book?

I am currently in the process of setting up a platform as a ‘multicultural family coach’ supporting people from all walks of life encouraging them to share their stories and know that there are people who will listen without judgement and be supportive. Giving them the guidance they need to heal from any negative experiences that may be holding them back.

  1. And something more about yourself?

I am a very passionate teacher who teaches mathematics to pupils in Special Education.

I also have a new member to my growing family, my little puppy called Laila, who brings me so much joy and happiness. 

Should you wish to connect with me here is a link to my website: www.ackeeandroti.co.uk

13 Comments

  1. Joanne

    This book is definitely one to be read. It touches on so many issues, subjects and situations that are never really spoken about much, making it interesting, educational, helpful and positive. The outcome is a message which gives you a feel good vibe.

    Reply
    • Narinder Purewal

      Thank you for supporting my journey I’m glad you enjoyed the
      book

      Reply
  2. Manni

    Such a truly inspirational story written from a genuine honest person. To love and forgive is the way forward and this book is powerful in highlighting that,especially if you have children. Well done Narinder. Look forward to more of your work.

    Reply
    • Narinder Purewal

      Thank you for the support and I’m
      glad you enjoyed the read

      Reply
      • Cliff r james

        I read this book took me ages as I’m a slow reader, I was moved and inspired by it, great courage narinder thank you

        Reply
        • Narinder Purewal

          I’m glad my book inspired you thank you for taking the time to read it

          Reply
  3. Ortega Ogomigo

    Think of a guide on life’s toughest challenges of being a single parent or heartbroken or being from a multicultural family or whatever, this is it!

    I could honestly say it is one of the best books I read this year. I was so grateful to have read it. It contained a lot of practical lessons on accepting who you are, forgiveness, love, family, and moving on. It is a masterpiece you should read it too!

    Reply
    • Narinder Purewal

      Thank you for such a great review I’m glad that you were able to relate to the experiences and enjoyed the book

      Reply
  4. Anoop Bachu

    As a young person navigating the current society this book encapsulates the thoughts and feelings of how myself and many others within a minority community feel and what they experience through childhood and even still . this is such a well written book as it covers many current and personal issues with raw honesty by the loveliest and kindest person in the world who has so much wisdom to give !!!

    Reply
    • Narinder Purewal

      Thank you for your kind words and I am glad that you were able to resonate with my thoughts and feelings and hope that you can take some comfort in knowing that by sharing our journeys together we can overcome adversities

      Reply
  5. Dr Christopher A. Johnson

    Indeed, this unique literary work is both fictional and non-fictional, as it narrates and analyses at the same time, the dynamics of cultural, ethnic, and social issues that are often seen as binary contradictions in society. In applying her knowledge, experience, and talent to great lengths, Purewal has practically redefined the notions, if not the typology of inter-ethnic/racial relations in terms of their manifestation. She has also asked sections of society to reflect on their overall attitude and behaviour towards socio-cultural plurality which is destined to remain integral to 21st-century life and living. As probably now, the second generation barring those who have passed on since the early part of the 20th century, she has set the stage for a matured debate on complex relationship issues that are often trivialised, hyped, or misunderstood altogether. Any layperson might tend to agree as well, that Purewal’s book is but a treatise on modern society’s thinking on matters to do with culture, ethnicity, race, and the overall socialisation process.

    Reply
    • Narinder Purewal

      Thank you for such an informative review Dr Johnson and for supporting the very basis of what the book symbolises.

      Reply
  6. Mikey Gregson

    It’s just a breathtaking read if I’m completely honest.
    It took me back to the past and I was speechless reading some of the stories in the book especially since I’ve worked alongside the writer in the past.
    Not knowing the struggles and heartache that were unfolding in the book was just emotional and powerful.
    Overall a very inspiring read
    100% recommend this book

    Reply

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