Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil

Deborah Rodriguez, Author . Random $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6559-2

A terrific opening chapter—colorful, suspenseful, funny—ushers readers into the curious closed world of Afghan women. A wedding is about to take place, arranged, of course, but there is a potentially dire secret—the bride is not technically a virgin. How Rodriguez, an admirably resourceful and dynamic woman, set to marry a nice Afghan man, solves this problem makes a great story, embellished as it is with all the traditional wedding preparations. Rodriguez went to Afghanistan in 2002, just after the fall of the Taliban, volunteering as a nurse's aide, but soon found that her skills as a trained hairdresser were far more in demand, both for the Western workers and, as word got out, Afghans. On a trip back to the U.S., she persuaded companies in the beauty industry to donate 10,000 boxes of products and supplies to ship to Kabul, and instantly she started a training school. Political problems ensued ("too much laughing within the school"), financial problems, cultural misunderstandings and finally the government closed the school and salon—though the reader will suspect that the endlessly ingenious Rodriguez, using her book as a wedge against authority, will triumph in the end. This witty and insightful (if light) memoir will be perfect for women's reading groups and daytime talk shows. (Apr. 10)

Reviewed on: 12/18/2006
Release date: 00/00/0000
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