Thursday, February 16, 2012

read:: the dressmaker of khair khana

Its been quite a while since I did a book review here, so when I read this book over the past few days, I knew I had to tell you about it!

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, tells the true story of  Kamila Sidiqi. Kamila was a young women in her late teens living in a suburb of Kabul, Afghanistan, when the Taliban overtook the city over a decade ago, and follows her life over the 8-10 years that followed.  This book was truly eye-opening to me as I found myself ignorant of all the history of Afghanistan prior to 9/11 when it was suddenly pushed into the world spotlight.  I am ashamed to say how very little I actually knew about this country and its wonderful history, of modernization and westernization through the 1950s-1970s, of the years fighting and eventually defeating the Soviets, and then of the Taliban and their insistant return of the Afghani culture to something that attempted to mimic the 1600's!

Kamila Sidiqi's story is of how she and her sisters learned to survive and even thrive during the time of tremendous oppression of women by the Taliban.  Kamila developed a tailoring business that eventually employed many of the neighborhood women, allowing for her family and the families of her employees to support themselves when many of the men had been forced to flee to northern Afghanistan or to Pakistan, Iran, and other countries to avoid falling under the Taliban's rules. 

This book drew me in, led me through the days and nights of the Sidiqi family during Taliban rule, made me love these tenacious women, and opened my eyes to life I was previously unaware of.  I love when I read a book that changes me and how I think about the world. This is one of those books.  Read it!

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