Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

book cover
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

ISBN-13: 9780061732478
Trade Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Released: March 20, 2012

Source: Bought at library used book sale.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Kamila Sidiqi's life changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan. After her father and oldest brother were forced to flee, she became responsible for providing for her five younger 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. Kamila Sidiqi's journey will inspire you.

My Review:
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana is a biography about a woman--and her family and community--in Kabul, Afghanistan. The book covered September 1996 to November 2001, roughly the period that the Taliban controlled Kabul.

While we do get some information about life before and after this period (with the last event reported happening in 2009), it was mainly a description of life for women before and during Taliban control. Women had to find ways to support their families even though they weren't allowed to work outside their homes. Kamila and her sisters started a tailoring business to support their family and to help provide jobs for other women in the neighborhood.

It was an interesting and suspenseful tale since running the business held many dangers, yet not doing so would mean starvation for many families. I found the story very readable and interesting.

I would have been interested in more about how life changed for women in Afghanistan after the Taliban left as I'm sure that held new and different challenges. But I understand the focus was intended to be on women entrepreneurs under the extreme challenges created by Taliban control.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

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