Tuesday, April 10, 2012
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Synopsis From Back Cover:
Kamila Sadiqi's life changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan. After her father and brother were forced to flee, she became the sole breadwinner for her five siblings. Banned from school, confined to her home, and armed only with determination, she picked up a needle and thread to create a thriving business that saved their lives.
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana tells the incredible true story of this unlikely entrepreneur who mobilized her community under the Taliban. A story of war, it is also a story of family, faith, and resilience in the face of despair. These women are not victims - they are the glue that hold families together; they are the backbone and the heart of their nation. Kamila Sadiqi's journey will inspire you, but it will also change the way you think about one of the most important political and humanitarian issues of our time.
For those of you who have been reading the blog for a while, it will come as no surprise that I'm a huge fan of NPR. I listen to it in my car and at work, when I can get away with it. One of my favorite programs is The Diane Rehm show as she is one of those interviewers who can talk with her guests about any issue. Politics, war, literature, music, health care, and I would say the kitchen sink, but that may be a bit redundant. There is nothing she does not discuss on her show. So needless to say I'm always intrigued when she is interviewing an author about a new book. I'm constantly writing titles down that I plan on rushing to the bookstore and purchasing as soon as possible. Well needless to say, I have a rather long list of books that are still not bought. Thanks to blogging though, I have had the opportunity to not only read, but review, a few of those books on that list. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana is one of those books. I heard the interview on March 17th, 2011, and about a year later I was given the opportunity to read it for myself. I would encourage everyone to click on the link above in order to listen to the interview as well.
I can only imagine what it would be like to have your entire life and country turned upon it's head. To have your life, which was on one track, be completely altered by things totally out of your control. Kamila Sadiqi is one of those individuals who not only managed to adapt to a country and it's rulers that wanted her behind closed doors, but she thrived. When she is told that her education is over, that her career path is no longer valid for a woman in Afghanistan, she is left floundering for a bit. It doesn't take long before she decides that she needs to do something for her family and eventually her community.
She faces the risks, which included beating, imprisonment, and even death, and starts her own dressmaking business. From what starts as a her and her sisters sewing dresses to sell to some trusted local merchants, turns into a business that employees and teaches hundreds of women. She felt a true calling to teach other women to fend for themselves in order to take care of their families. Kamila is one of those people who manage to inspire me just by being who they are. She weighed the odds, and in the end decided the risk was worth the danger.
As I was reading the book, I felt as if Kamila was telling the story. The author does such a wonderful job of pulling her reader into the life of Kamila and her sisters, that despite the first person narrative that she opens the book with, the author was able to convey a sense of such intimacy. It was a pure pleasure to read, and at only about 243 pages, it was a quick read as well. I read it every chance I could, and would put other things aside just to pick the book up again.
I would like to thank Trish of TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this book. Please visit the tour page to read other reviews of the book.