Posted 20 hours ago

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul: The heart-warming and uplifting international bestseller

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For me, there were times this book felt as though it was plodding along a bit and parts of the story that I just didn’t care about, it felt a bit pedestrian.

It's infuriating to find complex issues treated with the simplistic framework of tradition verses modernity. She came all the way from America to raise money for an orphanage that could very well be a front for something sinister. Meanwhile, Sunny can't decide which of two men, one a journalist and the other a black-ops guy, she wants to date. She spends long stretches of time on her own as her lover Tommy, whom she came with, started working for an NGO and now works as a kind of freelancer often on dangerous missions, gone months at a time without contact. I cannot reconcile my personal reactions to the dreadful horrors of being a female in Afghanistan and the author's 'Pollyanna' view of ordinary Afghan life (despite an on-going war, episodic as it appears to be).Into the café come Isabel, a British journalist on the trail of a risky story; Jack, who left his family back home in Michigan to earn “danger pay” as a consultant; and Candace, a wealthy and well-connected American whose desire to help threatens to cloud her judgment. As the plot evolves, Rodriguez has some of her female Western characters, Sunny's friends, visit Afghan women who are in prison with their babies incarcerated alongside them. I started reading it knowing it was written by an American woman who had spent many years in Afghanistan, so hoping the story would sound authentic- not westernised. Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of this novel is how it both transformed and expanded the narrow-minded ideas I held of Afghanistan; ideas that were built partially by reading news reports of oppression and violence and partially by pure ignorance. The author did an excellent job of bringing forth the ongoing problem of the oppression of women in Afghanistan.

This is a story of the affirmation of love between the clash of religious traditions and the characters' inner values. Book is in good condition with minor general wear and tear and moderate to heavy page discolouration/spotting throughout.Of course, I could have had a good guess from the setting alone, this would be a story set against a backdrop of violence and war, but that was pretty much my only reference point. Yazmina, a young pregnant woman stolen from her remote village and now abandoned on Kabul’s violent streets. About the author: Rodriguez taught at and later directed the first modern beauty academy and training salon in Afghanistan. I would urge others to read the author note at the end of the book as it tells how this book came about due to the recent war in Afghanistan and how the country has gone backwards instead of progressing with women and children yet again being made to feel inferior and needing men to be able to do things that most of us take for granted.

I actually can't believe I purchased this book, after seeing it be compared to books by Khaled Hosseini. It was eye-opening and heart-wrenching, particularly when every hard-won freedom is lost in the instant the Taliban regains power. The characters are fabulous, every one comes to life off the page and you can see each one clearly in your mind. Deborah] Rodriguez captures place and people wholeheartedly, unveiling the faces of Afghanistan's women through a wealth of memorable characters who light up the page. It's worth checking out the authors Wikipedia page to understand how she came to be in Afghanistan and the controversy her books caused, she does however acknowledge this in the authors note in this book.The ending was both sad and happy because there is no way that these characters, strong though they may be, can save all the women of Afghanistan and themselves. I did not feel satisfied at the ending, as things had been challenging in Kabul at the open of the story, and seemed to improve as the story went off, and then she decided to leave. Yazmina is a young woman from a remote village; when she's kidnapped and left on a city street, pregnant and alone, Sunny gives her a home - but all Yazmina wants is to find a way to rescue her sister from the same fate. Challenges the characters were facing, and some of them were huge, were worked out in no time, really easily. We spent ages discussing our favourite characters – Sunny, Rashif and Jack all got a mention, with Yazmina and Halajan each being chosen by a couple of members of our group – as well as who we thought were the bravest characters and considered what we thought the author’s motivation for writing the book were.

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