Book Review - Kabul Beauty School

Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the VeilKabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil by Deborah Rodriguez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was our book club selection and we all really enjoyed it. Rodriguez' story was both humorous and heartbreaking. The humor came from her stories of not following the Afghani way and the heartbreak from the stories of her pupils. The women of Afghanistan appear to be very much victimized by their society. Yes, that's coming from a Western viewpoint but giving away child brides, beating women and restricting them from leaving their homes should be universally viewed as wrong.

The gist of the story is that Rodriguez, without a lot of forethought, heads off to Afghanistan to teach women how to be hair stylists so they can earn their own money and potentially start their own businesses. While there, Rodriguez impulsively marries and becomes a second wife. She seems to ultimately be OK with that which was strange. However, the relationship seemed to sincerely work albeit with a lot of drama.

My four star rating was based on the knowledge I had at the time of the book. While we were talking about it, we wondered about the author's age so I whipped out my smart phone and looked her up. What I found was very disappointing. There were a lot of links to articles claiming that a lot of the story was embellished and even fabricated, that the women in the story had been identified and were now in physical danger and that she had split from her husband because he was sexually harassing the students. I have no idea what's true and won't take the time to research further. If the story is even 80% representative of the truth, it's worth reading.

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