02 August, 2008

Book Review: Kabul Beauty School

Deborah goes to Afghanistan to help others and in turn helps herself.
Crazy Deb is in another phase of her life, and not really sure how she got there. She is married to an abusive preacher man. She escapes him by volunteering and getting disaster training. She took care of the fireman during 9/11. When that was over she couldn't stop watching what was happening in Afghanistan with the Taliban. She wanted to help. Her husband forbid her to go. As she walked out the door to the airport he said "I hope you die in Afghanistan." She replies "I would rather die than live here with you."

She finds herself surrounded by doctors, nurses, missionaries and other highly profession people. She feels useless because she is “only” a hairdresser. But when folks find out they flock to her. Beauty is something that has been missing in women’s lives for a long time. She gets women to bring her to Afghanistan salons and realizes that they are using crap for products, twigs for perm rods, solution that is over 4 years old and a hookers idea of makeup for weddings.

What follows is Deb’s brilliant idea of opening a beauty school and how she gets it off the ground. But more importantly it is about the women of Afghanistan. What they have done, and continue to do to survive at the mercy of the men and politics of the region.

This was a great book and I recommended it to several folks on the train while I was reading it. I don’t always agree with what she (Deb) did, but it is a fascinating look at a culture that we (or perhaps I should say I) know nothing about.


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