Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe

Genre: Non-Fiction

Summary (from Goodreads):  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 Newsreporter 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.

Review: I wanted to love this book.  Kamila's story is certainly inspiring and deserves to be told; she sounds like a phenomenally brave and resourceful young woman.  The author had clearly done her research about life in Kabul during the Taliban era, and she did a good job bringing that terrifying time to life.  I certainly learned a lot about how the Taliban came to power and how they treated women during that time.  However, the writing style was overly simplistic (perhaps because the author had been a journalist previously?) and I would like to have seen much more depth to the main characters. 

Rating: 3 stars


  1. This has been on my list to read for a while. I may still pick it up.

  2. I've noticed that a bunch of books I'm reading are on your to-read list. Did you go to Target and write down the books that looked good? That's how I got my list!