Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon: Book Review

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-0-06-173237-9
Release Date: March 15, 2011
Buy from Indigo


Description: The life Kamila Sidiqi had known changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of the city of Kabul. After receiving a teaching degree during the civil war—a rare achievement for any Afghan woman—Kamila was subsequently banned from school and confined to her home. When her father and brother were forced to flee the city, Kamila became the sole breadwinner for her five siblings. Armed only with grit and determination, she picked up a needle and thread and created a thriving business of her own.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana tells the incredible true story of this unlikely entrepreneur who mobilized her community under the Taliban. Former ABC News reporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon spent years on the ground reporting Kamila's story, and the result is an unusually intimate and unsanitized look at the daily lives of women in Afghanistan. These women are not victims; they are the glue that holds families together; they are the backbone and the heart of their nation.

Afghanistan's future remains uncertain as debates over withdrawal timelines dominate the news. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana moves beyond the headlines to transport you to an Afghanistan you have never seen before. This is a story of war, but it is also a story of sisterhood and resilience in the face of despair. Kamila Sidiqi'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.

The Good Stuff

  • You can really feel the authors love and admiration for the subjects of her book
  • A hopeful and passionate real life story about resilience, perseverance, communities working together, faith and family
  • Excellent bibliography for further background information
  • Many stories of Afghanistan have so many negative male characters and it is nice to actually see stories of Afghan men who support and want more for their women. 
  • Positively Inspiring and hopeful
  • Rich historical information that really helps you understand how much Afghanistan has gone through
  • The mention of what I believe to be very true that learning is the key to the future. Handouts don't work, you need to teach skills for those to help themselves
  • About incredibly strong real women surviving and thriving through extremely difficult times
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Jumps around in a few spots and you feel temporarily lost
  • Would have liked the How you can help section in the ARC - but hey I think that might be me getting a little picky - they probably wanted to put up to date info for finished product
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"We're far more accustomed to-and comfortable with-seeing women portrayed as victims of war who deserve our sympathy, rather than as resilient survivors who demand our respect."


"As he often told the eleven of them, "I look on all of you with one eye." To him it was his highest obligation and a duty of his faith to educate his children so that they could share their knowledge and serve their communities. Now he watched with a sinking heart as the Taliban closed girls' schools and forced women inside."


"The more time I spent in Kabul the more I saw what they saw and the more I understood their frustration. I also wondered if this latest international foray into Afghan nation-building would end well for anyone."

"Brave young women complete heroic acts everyday, with no one bearing witness. This was a chance to even the ledger, to share one small story that made the difference between starvation and survival for the families whose lives it changed."

What I Learned
  • Incredible amounts of historical information about the history of Afghanistan 
  • That I know very little about the lives of the Afghan people
  • That I had some prejudices about Afghanistan and this book helped me to realize how wrong I was in thinking some of the things I did. I have a new-found respect for their resilience and their struggles
Who should/shouldn't read
  • I would recommend that everyone read this. Pretty much everyone could benefit from reading this
  • Thinking many of the strict Taliban wouldn't be into this
  • This is a must have for every library
4.5 Dewey's

I received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. Once again Harper you have introduced me to something that I probably never would have picked out myself

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for your mention of "The Dressmaker of Khair Khana." I really believe it is devoted readers like you who will make the difference for this universal story about the risks we take for those we love and the unsung heroines who pull families through impossible times every day, all around the word, and never get credit for it. Thank you for spreading the word.
    Warm regards and my best,
    Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

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