Kabul Beauty School....... A book review........
Kabul Beauty School, written by Deborah Rodriquez, is a true story based on the authors experiences while living in Afghanistan. Rodriquez, a hair dresser from Holland Michigan, originally went to Kabul, Afghanistan as part of a humanitarian effort but as she ventured out on her own into the city she discovered that there was a real need for established beauty salons as well as a beauty school. Beauty salons had been banned in Afghanistan by the Taliban along with dance, music, and pictures of people or other living things. When the Taliban came into power they also cut down all of the trees to eliminate the possibility of people standing behind them to shoot or hide thus making Kabul a virtual dust bowl where people easily develop respiratory problems and what Rodriquez refers to as the "Kabul cough."
Rodriquez is able to take her readers on a journey to a country where the birth of a baby boy is celebrated for days and the birth of a baby girl can throw a family into depression for months. We learn that in Afghanistan it is not uncommon for a man to have more than one wife and especially if the first wife is unable to produce a son. According to Rodriquez, one of the reasons why son's are so highly regarded in Afghanistan is because when they marry they continue to live with their parents and provide support.
Rodriquez takes her readers to a typical women's prison in Afghanistan where young girls are incarcerated because they tried to run away from an abusive husband or THEY were raped. We hear of women who are living in deplorable conditions, sometimes with their children, in cold, damp, lice and rat infested cells. Some of these long forgotten citizens of Afghanistan are plagued with open sores, suffering from malnutrition, and other deficiencies related to an on going lack of sun light. Kabul Beauty School is filled with example after example of the horrors of living in a country that has little or no respect for the dignity of it's women.
As Rodriquez befriends her students at the beauty school we gain insight into the beautiful young women of Afghanistan. We learn what they're homes are like, what they do for entertainment, what types of clothes they wear, what types of food they serve, and more importantly what they're hopes, dreams, and aspirations are. There seems to be a sweet naivety about these women as they laugh, talk, and share secrets with one another within the confines of the Kabul beauty school.
Rodriquez also takes her readers along to a typical Afghanistan wedding where the bride is hand picked by the mother-in-law. These weddings are usually huge and elaborate affairs where the men celebrate on one side of the room, and the women on the other, separated by a large curtain drawn down the middle. Readers learn about marriage contracts and consummation parties. Kabul Beauty School is very rich indeed in cultural diversity.
Throughout the book Rodriquez sort of lives on the edge putting herself in dangerous and questionable situations. She herself states in the book that her friends sometimes refer to as "crazy Deb."
There is much controversy surrounding this book because Rodriquez went to Afghanistan, not as a journalist, or as an author looking for a story, but as a friend to these women who shared some of the most intimate details of their life. One wonders if they would have been so open had they known in the beginning that she was going to write this book. Rodriquez is now living safely back in the United States, but these women, as well as their families, remain in constant fear and danger because of the outrage the book has caused in the Afghanistan government. Some of the women have tried to obtain visas but remain unable to get out of the country.
Have any of you read this book?...... If so, I would love to know what you thought about it...
I hope all of you are having a lovely day ♥
With warmest regards, Carol