I have just finished reading The Kabul Beauty School, by Deborah Rodriguez. This book is about the author herself Debbie who traveled to Afghanistan with the aim to help out a war-torn country. After arriving in the country, she decided the best way she could help out was to teach the women the be beauticians ( particularly hairdressing, but also makeup and beauty). This would enable them to become more financially independent, give them strength, courage and friendship. During Debbie`s time opening the school and training the girls she overcomes many problems, see some polar differences in ways of life, traditions, beliefs and values. Debbie grows to love the country and the women of the country. I loved reading this book for the story, but also to hear about all the vast cultural differences. The author seemed to try to fit in and go with a lot of the culture, for example covering her head, not allowing men in the salon and even marrying a man who has a “first wife” already. But on the other hand, she kept her Westernized side whereby she smoked, drunk alcohol and remained a headstrong woman who stood up for what she thought was wrong and protected and defended her girls to the best she could. At some points in this book, I understand Debbie and feel I would be the same. I would go to Chicken Street and explore Kabul, I wouldn’t want to stay in every night because no other women go out on the streets at night. However there are somethings Debbie does that I find extremely strange and I think that it could only be understood after living the life. Debbie marries an Afghan man who she barely knows and they don’t have much language communication. He also in true Afghan style has another wife and children! But it works for them. The book tells of the beauty school, which was interesting. But my favourite part and what kept me hooked on the book was all the extra stories about the country, the people and their life experiences. Afghanistan is a really interesting country. Reading this book made me far more aware of what goes on there and the vast cultural differences. What we see on the news is just a tiny tiny part of what goes on. It sounds obvious now writing that, but this book was mind opening but in an entertaining fun, heartwarming and sad way. I would definitely recommend this book. And I am looking forward to reading another book by Deborah Rodriguez, The Kabul Coffee Shop.
Book Review. The Kabul Beauty School.