Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana review

When the Taliban invades Kabul, Kamela Sediqi's entire family is instantly changed. There is constant fear of breaking one of the rules and the possibility of being accused of working against the Taliban is high for men like Kamela's father. In a matter of months both of her parents are forced to leave Kabul, resulting in Kamela and her sisters to find a way to support themselves and their brothers while a war rages on and women are not even allowed out of the house without a veil and are basically confined to their home. 

Desperate to help her family, Kamela begins sewing in her living room, learning from an older sister. She turns a tiny income into a huge, thriving tailoring business in a very short period of time, all while the Taliban continues to rule directly outside her doors. She and her family earn enough money to support themselves, as well as begin a school to assist other women in helping to support their families throughout Kabul. 

To say this is an inspirational book would be a complete understatement. Journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon writes this book about Kamela and her family as if it were a novel and not a true story and, at times, I had to remind myself that this really happened. It's an absolutely fascinating look into a side of Kabul during the Taliban that we, as Americans, don't often get to see, especially having to do with women during that time period!

As much as I loved the story and the inspiration of the entrepreneurship of Kamela, I wasn't totally amazed by the writing. Parts of the story definitely needed a bit more meat and though I often think books are too wordy and long, almost felt this one could have stood to be a little longer! The pace was really fast and I felt like the author was glossing over a lot of the details and only giving us the basics of Kamela's story. 

That being said, I would definitely recommend this to readers, especially fans of inspirational memoirs. 

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and The Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
288 pages
Adult Non-Fiction
March 2011
Review copy provided by publisher


What Book Today said...

Awesome review! I'm so excited to read this. I heard about it on NPR the other day and am happy to see it turned out to be fantastic. Thanks so much!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Saw this on Morning Joe this morning.

GT said...

Thank you very much for your thoughtful review of "The Dressmaker of Khair Khana." I am delighted you found the story inspirational, and I believe readers like you will make the difference for this story of unsung heroines and unlikely entrepreneurs. "The Dressmaker" is a universal story of faith, family and the risks we take for those we love, and I hope it does its part to give credit to the mothers, sisters and aunts who change the world every day armed only with their bravery.
Thank you again and best,

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

This sounds like a wonderful read. I love learning about cultures so different from my own.

I just happened upon your blog and look forward to checking it out more. I'm always on the lookout for new reads!

I also have a reading blog if you're interested in popping by