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The Kabul Beauty School: The Art of Friendship and Freedom Hardcover – 3 May 2007

275 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; First Edition edition (3 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340935235
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340935231
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 22.5 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (275 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 594,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Heart-rending but uniquely entertaining book... this is a colourful, bitter-sweet but often hilarious book. It'd make a terrific movie. (Daily Express)

Terrifically readable, and rich in personal stories. (Kirkus Reviews)

Mad but splendidly warm hearted American woman ... a remarkable heart warming story. (Sunday Times)

A terrific opening chapter--colorful, suspenseful, funny--ushers readers into the curious closed world of Afghan women....This witty and insightful (if light) memoir will be perfect for women's reading groups and daytime talk shows. (Publishers' Weekly starred review)

This is a beauty of a book! I was on the edge of my salon chair as I read her gut-wrenching story that revealed true beauty outside and within. (Kathy L. Patrick, Founder of The Pulpwood Queens Book Club)

Rodriguez has written a very gutsy, real-life adventure story for women... Her trials and tribulations in setting up the school and entering an arranged Afghan marriage not only make fascinating reading but reveal a side to Afghanistan that few foreigners have experienced or understood. Her courage in tackling gigantic cultural barriers is also remarkable. (Publishing News)

This lively memoir is full of darkly funny moments - a customer who had never seen a blow dryer thinks it's a gun and runs screaming from the salon chair -and the humor leavens the horror stories about life in this war-torn land. A dishy but substantial read. (People)

If a clash of civilisations is imminent, we need writers such as Rodriguez [...] to show that those on the other side of the divide are humans too, with the same fears and aspirations as the rest of us. (New Statesman)

Book Description

In the tradition of Reading Lolita in Tehran, a look at the lives of women in Afghanistan through the lens of The Kabul Beauty School


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 Feb. 2008
Format: Paperback
Deborah Rodriguez is a beautician from Michigan who went over to Afghanistan after September 11th to help in any way she could. She quickly fell in love with the country and wanted to reestablish the Afghan beauticians who went out of existence when the Taliban took over. Along with help from others, she opened a beauty school where she trained Afghan women to become beauticians who could then open up their own beauty salons.

This amazing true story is heartwarming yet incredibly sad at the same time. The reader learns the personal and tragic story of the many Afghan women that Rodriguez befriends. We learn of their arranged marriages to men twice their age, abusive husbands who will divorce them if the women can't bear a son, and monetary struggles and desperate attempts to find that money. It is also wonderful to read about these same women becoming independent and happy due to their education from the beauty school and their friendship with Ms. Rodriguez.

This book is truly inspiring and educational. The reader learns about many customs and misconceptions about Afghanistan and its people through the real life experiences of Rodriguez. Her desire to help the kind Afghan people can inspire anyone to do the same.

KABUL BEAUTY SCHOOL is sure to please all readers who are open to learning about a foreign people, their customs, and an American woman who felt the need to dedicate her life to those less fortunate.

Reviewed by: Steph
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Megan ReadingInTheSunshine TOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 April 2014
Format: Paperback
I originally discovered Deborah Rodriguez when I read her novel The Little Coffee Shop Of Kabul, and I immediately fell in love with her words and way of writing, so knowing how much I’d enjoyed that book, I was looking forward to reading The Kabul Beauty School.

Deborah really brings to life the realities of Kabul, how everyday life can be for women in Kabul and the daily struggles that these particular women in the book face. Every woman in the book had their own individual story, their own individual issues and struggles, and I was honestly touched by every one of them. It felt very personal and I spent my time willing these women on and wanting to reach out to them.

The Kabul Beauty School is a big insight into the lives of these women and what they face. It is heartbreaking and honest, with moments of bravery, courage and positivity woven in. A gripping book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Olivia on 26 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book. It had just the right amount of background info, cultural insight and interesting anecdotes. I cared about the people in it and about the fate of the school and also found the author a very inspiring woman as well as an excellent writer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By TERRYJ on 29 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I previously read the little coffee shop in Kabul which was excellent and I think it would make a good film one day.
I am enjoying this book very much and it is a real eye opener to everyday life in Kabul and the struggles of the people there which we all tend to overlook.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joby on 28 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
Excellent book - loved it! An inspirational lady changing the lives of Afghan women and teaching them skills that they can use in the future. Bought it for my hairdresser! Feel very lucky to have so much freedom.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chellesbells on 12 Dec. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
A little gem that speaks openly of the secret hardships Afghanis face, and yet the love this writer shares through her stories sweetens the bitter taste of the constant struggles people face to maintain an even footing in a place where rubble has a fondness of appearing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sally tarbox TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 17 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback
Probably 2.5*
Autobiographical work; the author left her beauty business in Michigan, seeking to do something more meaningful after two unhappy marriages.. She joined a volunteer organisation in Afghanistan, but lacking any medical expertise like her colleagues, began using her own skill - giving haircuts to western workers, the Taliban having closed most hairdressing establishments.
This quickly leads on to the author realising that despite their modest dress, the Afghans love make-up and bling especially at weddings:
"In America, most people would associate this look with drag queens sashaying off to a party with a 1950s prom theme. Here in Afghanistan, for reasons I still don't understand, this look conveys the mystique of the virgin."
With a lot of donations from hair companies back home, Ms Rodriguez decides to open up a beauty school, giving the students the chance to start their own businesses and move on in life. We read of her struggles with bureaucracy, some of the life stories of her students, and the violent environment in which she lived. Not to mention her surprising marriage...
A quick, light read, quite interesting.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was really enjoying this book until i googled Deborah Rodriguez. I quickly discovered that she upset people mentioned in the book for incorrect information and put her son in danger by marrying an Afghan warlord. This book is written to make her look like this amazing person who strived to change the lives of desperate women when actually it's a self obsessed autobiography. She put her life in danger and seemed to have little respect for Afghan culture. She seemed to enjoy the attention she got whenever she went out, something she must miss since having to flee the country.
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