From my bookshelf


By Dsborah Rodriguez

Deborah Rodriguez has written a few books now, apart from The Kabul Beauty School, including The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul, House on Carnival Street and Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul.

This was a book that I bought for my daughter as a Christmas present several years ago.  I had no real idea what it, or the other one out at the time, The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul were really about.  My daughter really enjoyed them.

Deborah Rodriguez is a hairdresser who volunteered for an Aid organisation for a fairly short-term trip to Kabul.  There she found herself wondering just what she was there for, surrounded on the team by experts and medical professionals.  She found that, by using her skills as a hairdresser, she not only made friends, but found out first hand what life in war-torn Kabul was like.

And all was not as it seemed.

It wasn't easy for her - as a Westerner some of the restrictions and customs were frustrating, but Deborah soon realised what was really needed, and that was a school which taught Afghan women how to run a beauty business properly, with good products.  This would give the women some independence and income.

Through her account of how the school was, with others, set up, we meet some of the women who study at the school, work in their own businesses, and who come to her for treatments for special occasions like engagement parties and weddings.  And throuogh these women, we get to know more about Afghanistan, its tribes, languages and something of their difficulties.

Deborah fell in love with the Afghan people, and maybe, through her writing, we will come to a better understanding of the underlying problems.

As I write, Kabul has just had two devastating terrorist attacks, claimed to have been carried out by the Taliban.  But even they aren't always all they seem.

These books are unusual, but easy to read.  I hope you enjoy them.




Yours, Lindsay