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Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil (2007)

av Deborah Rodriguez

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1,661837,631 (3.55)99
Soon after the fall of the Taliban, in 2001, Deborah Rodriguez went to Afghanistan as part of a humanitarian aid group. Surrounded by people whose skills--as doctors, nurses, and therapists--seemed eminently more practical than her own, Rodriguez, a hairdresser and mother from Michigan, despaired of being of any real use. Yet she found she had a gift for befriending Afghans, and once her profession became known she was eagerly sought out by Westerners desperate for a good haircut and by Afghan women, who have a long and proud tradition of running their own beauty salons. Thus the idea for the Kabul Beauty School was born. Within that small haven, the line between teacher and student quickly blurred as these vibrant women shared with Rodriguez their stories and their hearts, ultimately giving her the strength to leave her own unhealthy marriage and allow herself to love again, Afghan style.--From publisher description.… (mer)
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  2. 00
    Honeymoon in Tehran av Azadeh Moaveni (elbakerone)
    elbakerone: Both these books explore the themes of Western women living in Middle Eastern countries and adjusting to a new culture.
  3. 00
    Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, an American Town av Warren St. John (elbakerone)
    elbakerone: Both these books tell powerful and inspirational stories about women making drastic differences in the lives of others.
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engelska (81)  katalanska (1)  italienska (1)  Alla språk (83)
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It's almost its own genre now: first-world white woman enters third-world country, wants to help, ends up enriched by the experience. Along the way some of them actually do provide some needed help.

Rodriguez was helped in the writing by friend Kristin Ohlsen, and I would love to know who did what. I did find it better than stock writing, better than most "as told to" stories. Perhaps that is in part because the stories of the Afghan women are intertwined with the stories about how the beauty school came about and continued, and sometimes they just fade away. I think, too, though, that Rodriguez's sense of humor permeates the book but with just the right degree of attention. She doesn't knock us over the head with the funny parts, just states them and moves on.

But to the story. Rodriguez first headed for Kabul as an aide after the Taliban was deposed after 9/11/2001. The place was in ruins, recovering, trying to find itself again. Rodriguez was a cosmetologist among medical aid workers, and she wondered why she had been chosen to join the relief effort. We can only speculate, but she did soon find her place in this city where beauty salons had been outlawed during the Taliban's regime. She headed home to the states after meeting a number of people and determining that there was a great need for a beauty school in Kabul. And she returned, after some bumps, accompanied by huge donations from beauty product suppliers.

She had seen how women were treated and how helpless they were in many situations there, given the culture and the laws. She wanted to offer an alternative way for women to make money on their own, build their self-esteem, help their families. And she knew that there is nothing like a salon or beauty school for creating community among women.

So we learn of the obstacles Rodriguez faced and how she managed to do so. It was through these challenges that we find out what kind of person she is. I think this is what I enjoyed the most. I could never have stood up to the organizations and neighbors and others the way she did. She also had the ability to call upon the strengths of others as needed, and they rose to the challenge. But she doesn't stop to pat herself on the back or to engage in false modesty.

I became so engrossed with the story that I lost a bit of sleep until it was done. I was sad to hear that the school no longer operates, but that does not mean that her work was for nothing. Read it and find out. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
The description of this memoir intrigued me and the story did not disappoint.
Such a strange chain of events that led the most unlikely person to become a post war relief aid.
Day after day she saw the devastation, and heard the personal stories from the women of Afghanistan. These heartbreaking stories set the course for a journey that was both personally and professionally life changing, not only for her but also for the women of Kabul.
Inspiring, emotional, beautiful and tragic, this poignant story gives you a rare look inside a world that few Westerners have ever seen. ( )
  Penny_L | Jun 9, 2020 |
Da lontano sembrano fiori nella polvere, sprazzi di azzurro nel grigio delle strade di Kabul. Fiori calpestati, ma non spezzati, che sotto il burqa celano storie di sofferenza e coraggio. Come quella di Baseera, promessa sposa a dodici anni a un uomo più vecchio di lei e costretta a partorire sul nudo cemento di un ospedale privo di personale medico. O quella della quindicenne incarcerata perché fuggita dal marito che la picchiava e denunciata alla polizia dagli stessi genitori. A raccontare queste storie è Deborah Rodriguez, una volontaria americana che nel 2002 è partita per l'Afghanistan con una piccola ONG. È stata tra le fondatrici della prima scuola per estetiste della capitale afghana: un progetto nato per offrire a tante donne un'opportunità di indipendenza economica, e per ridare una speranza a quelle che, durante il regime talebano, avevano dovuto chiudere i loro saloni di bellezza e sotterrare gli specchi, proibiti al pari degli aquiloni. La sua testimonianza è anche un inno all'amicizia, perché nell'oasi della Kabul Beauty School, libere dal burqa e dal controllo degli uomini, le donne hanno trovato uno spazio tutto per sé, dove sono nate complicità inaspettate, capaci di superare le barriere erette da una cultura repressiva. In un paese in cui la strada verso la pace e la conquista dei diritti civili sembra impraticabile, questa impresa straordinaria lancia un messaggio di speranza.
  kikka62 | Jan 29, 2020 |
True story middle 2010's — approx afghanistan — teaching women way to earn $ — horrific stories of no woman's rights, etc.
changing their life + hers?
Arranged marriage to Son — not well written but gets Afghan women's stories out

Soon after the fall of the Taliban, in 2001, Deborah Rodriguez went to Afghanistan as part of a group offering humanitarian aid to this war-torn nation. Surrounded by men and women whose skills–as doctors, nurses, and therapists–seemed eminently more practical than her own, Rodriguez, a hairdresser and mother of two from Michigan, despaired of being of any real use. Yet she soon found she had a gift for befriending Afghans, and once her profession became known she was eagerly sought out by Westerners desperate for a good haircut and by Afghan women, who have a long and proud tradition of running their own beauty salons. Thus an idea was born.
  christinejoseph | May 17, 2018 |
This was such an enjoyable memoir!

Deborah Rodriguez left a horrid marriage to help women halfway across the globe in Afghanistan. She didn't understand the culture or speak the language. But her heart was deeply committed to the Kabul Beauty School project and the women she trained.

Becoming a beautician offered these Afghan women an opportunity to support their families, often including a large extended family. Many of them spent years away from Kabul while the Taliban was in control. They're immigrants and refugees in their home country.

Having financial power gives the women a chance to change their often abusive marital situation as well. The drive they have to succeed is inspiring, especially when factoring in the massive obstacles.

Debbie is a hot mess, and in that sense she's the perfect person to teach and encourage her students. She gets involved in the NGO and diplomatic communities, bringing fun and relaxation to all kinds of folks.

Her writing style is conversational, perfectly blending rollicking humor with heartbreaking sadness. It's like meeting a girlfriend for pedicures and a catch up!

Debbie includes a multitude of cultural lessons about Afghanistan that illustrate the conservative nature of (mostly) post-Taliban Kabul. Time and again, Debbie has no clue about the actual reality of her students' lives. But her genuine caring and feisty nature overcome a lot! ( )
  TheBibliophage | Mar 20, 2018 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Deborah Rodriguezprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Ohlson, KristinFörfattaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Luckily, I am a lady
Mariam of my own epoch

I have conscience,
Intelligence and talent
But am fated to continue
Existence
In captivity behind the
Bars of prison of life
As if I am a jail-bird

I want to declare my feelings
But nobody seems to realize me

I am being asked to stay thoroughly out of sight,
In the darkness
Why?
Because it is easy for them to disgrace me and discard me

They have covered me from head to toe
Amputated my legs
Shut my mouth

Oh!
I want to be known
If not as I am a female
But through my knowledge

Let the years go
Let them have my written words

One day they will ask whose
unique words are these

Maybe at that time they will
Know me as
a female who can do something

I am hopefull...
                                 Farida Alimi
Dedikation
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This book is dedicated to my father, Junior Turner, who passed away June 5, 2002, while I was on my first trip to Afghanistan. Dad, I never got a chance to tell you about Afghanistan and the school. You left me too soon. I know you would love Sam, my husband—he is just like you, but Afghan style. I know you would be worried, but also very happy that I am following my dream. I miss you.
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The women arrive at the salon just before eight in the morning.
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Soon after the fall of the Taliban, in 2001, Deborah Rodriguez went to Afghanistan as part of a humanitarian aid group. Surrounded by people whose skills--as doctors, nurses, and therapists--seemed eminently more practical than her own, Rodriguez, a hairdresser and mother from Michigan, despaired of being of any real use. Yet she found she had a gift for befriending Afghans, and once her profession became known she was eagerly sought out by Westerners desperate for a good haircut and by Afghan women, who have a long and proud tradition of running their own beauty salons. Thus the idea for the Kabul Beauty School was born. Within that small haven, the line between teacher and student quickly blurred as these vibrant women shared with Rodriguez their stories and their hearts, ultimately giving her the strength to leave her own unhealthy marriage and allow herself to love again, Afghan style.--From publisher description.

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