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Book Review: Kabul Beauty School

Just finished reading this book and have already passed it along to my mother. Now I'm passing it along to you.

Title: Kabul Beauty School. An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil
Author: Deborah Rodriguez and Kristin Ohlson
Publisher: Random House, April, 10, 2007
Available in: Hardcover, 288 pages, approximately $24.95 Also available as an
ebook for $17.95. Coming out in paperback in late December.

Deborah Rodriguez, a free-spirited Midwestern hair dresser travels to Afghanistan to "do good" and discovers her talent lies in teaching Afghan women to open their own beauty salons. The book is an easy, fast read. Be prepared experience two emotions: depression and inspiration.

You are likely to feel upset by the tales of life behind the veil. Deborah's stories aren't "theoretical" -- they are about students and friends she cares for deeply. And you will care about them too, as Deborah draws you into their stories of abuse and poverty, successes and joys. It's as though you are right there, plopped into a chair at the Oasis Salon in Kabul. Deborah is also not shy in sharing her own home-grown tales of abuse and divorce, reminding you that no woman can set herself above any other and stand in judgment.

You will also feel incredibly inspired by the importance of Deborah's work. Hers is an unfolding story: the spark of inspiration, the dream, the dare, the first stumbled step which is followed by the second, the unplanned-for setback, the giving up and then giving in . . . . It is the story of how great things are accomplished by average people through small, non-linear steps. Its the story of what you can do.

Finally, as someone interested in the beauty industry, the book reminds us of the importance of "beauty" to our well-being as a community. In Deborah's own words:

"I believe that beauty salons and beauty schools are sanctuaries for women everywhere in the world–in that sense, the Kabul Beauty School is no different. In every salon and school, the beauticians are there to take care of women. The customers let their hair down, quite literally! Lifelong friendships develop."

Are you starting a business, running a business, wondering if what you are doing is "important" . . . do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this book.

Kaila Westerman
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