Kabul Beauty School

An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil

By Deborah Rodriguez; Kristin Ohlson
(Random House Trade, Paperback, 9780812976731, 301pp.)

Publication Date: December 18, 2007

List Price: $16.00*
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Description
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.
With the help of corporate and international sponsors, the Kabul Beauty School welcomed its first class in 2003. Well meaning but sometimes brazen, Rodriguez stumbled through language barriers, overstepped cultural customs, and constantly juggled the challenges of a postwar nation even as she learned how to empower her students to become their families' breadwinners by learning the fundamentals of coloring techniques, haircutting, and makeup.
Yet within the small haven of the beauty school, the line between teacher and student quickly blurred as these vibrant women shared with Rodriguez their stories and their hearts: the newlywed who faked her virginity on her wedding night, the twelve-year-old bride sold into marriage to pay her family's debts, the Taliban member's wife who pursued her training despite her husband's constant beatings. Through these and other stories, Rodriguez found the strength to leave her own unhealthy marriage and allow herself to love again, Afghan style.
With warmth and humor, Rodriguez details the lushness of a seemingly desolate region and reveals the magnificence behind the burqa. "Kabul Beauty School "is a remarkable tale of an extraordinary community of women who come together and learn the arts of perms, friendship, and freedom.

"From the Hardcover edition.




About the Author
Deborah Rodriguez is the author of the nonfiction New York Times "bestseller Kabul Beauty School "and the internationally bestselling novel The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul". The hairdresser and motivational speaker was a cofounder and director of the first modern beauty academy in Afghanistan, and also founded the nonprofit Oasis Rescue. She lives in Mazatlan, Mexico, where she own Tippy Toes salon and spa. Her latest book is Margarita Wednesdays: Making a New Life by the Mexican Sea".




Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. We so often think of ourselves as more socially advanced than Middle Eastern nations. What does it say about this assumption that the author was treated by a preacher husband in the US the same way that Nahhida, wife of a Taliban member, is treated in Afghanistan?

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