I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Also by this author: Ashley's War
Narrator: Sarah Zimmerman
Length: 6 Hours 16 Minutes
Published by HarperCollins on 2011-03-15
Genres: Biography & Autobiography
Buy on Amazon
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.
When I think of Afghanistan, I think of a giant mess and bombs and war and kites and the Taliban and unhappy people. I don’t often think of extraordinary acts of courage. I don’t think of women being brave. However, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon (the title IS a mouth full) definitely has changed my perceptions of Afghan women.
The whole book revolves around the Sidiqi, and most especially the Sidiqi girls. You see, Kamila Sidiqi and her sisters face almost certain poverty after the Taliban come to power, as women are not allowed to leave the house without a male relative escort. Women can’t work outside the home, go to school or attend university. It is a scary time, full of terrifying prospects. I mean, because of the Taliban nutjobs there has pretty much been an economy FAIL. However, instead of giving up, Kamila exhibits great courage and learns to provide for herself and her family.
Spoiler: She becomes a seamstress. I know, you are in shock since clearly you didn’t read the title of the book. Anyhoo, I thought this was a brief but excellent reminder of what the human spirit is capable of. It is not always with the welding of a weapon or violence that we show our strength, but with a refusal to be cowed into despair or to lose hope.
I think The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe is a great read for those of us interested in stories of women who are strong in real life. I audio-ed this entirely in my car. The audiobook is only 6 hours and 16 minutes long. I thought it was perfect for the rainy weather I’ve been experiencing lately. I got lost in Kamila’s story. The narrator, Sarah Zimmerman was fabulous. Her voice was gentle and soothing and very feminine. I thought it was well suited to The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe.
Disclosure: Audiobook received for review.
Purchase The Dressmaker of Khair Khana here.