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The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  6,011 ratings  ·  1,003 reviews
After hard luck and heartbreak, Sunny finally finds a place to call home—in the middle of an Afghanistan war zone. There, the thirty-eight-year-old serves up her American hospitality to the expats who patronize her coffee shop, including a British journalist, a “danger pay” consultant, and a wealthy and well-connected woman. True to her name, Sunny also bonds with people w...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by Random House (first published January 1st 2011)
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I HATE chick-lit, to me it is not a genre, its an insult. The rampant vapid female consumerism, "frothy" plots, whiny heroines and stereotypes drive me mad. A Cup of Friendship or The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul is not the worst kind of chick-lit. It does attempt to have an interesting storyline, an exotic but gritty setting and female characters who are not obsessed with shoes and brand names. However, it is full of stereotypes, poorly fleshed out characters and implausible ending. The plot con...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Ask yourself the following questions. If you answer yes to a question, proceed to the next question. If you answer no at any time, drop this book immediately and find a clerk to direct you to nonfiction or action/adventure books.

1. Do you need a book for your next business trip/vacation/weekend retreat?

2. Do you prefer fiction over nonfiction?

3. Do you like exotic locations for your stories?

4. Do you now or have you ever in the past watched daytime soaps?

5. Are you a woman?

Are you with me so fa...more
This has to be one of the worst books I've ever had the displeasure of reading.

I started reading it knowing it was written by an American woman who had spent many years in Afghanistan, so hoping the story would sound authentic- not westernised. I was wrong. It is a westernised novel- if you can call it that- centred around an American woman looking to have fun in a foreign country.

If you're after a quick read- something that doesn't make you think- this is the one for you.

Personally, I think...more
This book didn't really work for me. At first I was irritated by the 'let me work in lots of foreign words and explain these different cultural viewpoints to you' tone. Then I couldn't get into the characters, since they didn't seem to bond with each other, and then were shown working together as very close friends quite suddenly. Actually, several plotlines seemed to drag on and then suddenly resolve themselves, often outside the story. Issues with the young woman's sister, and adult son's inte...more
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aPriL loves HalLowEen
One thing I liked about this novel: an ordinary American woman who has extraordinary gumption wrote it. The author's life as an American hairdresser was changed by 9/11. Deborah Rodriguez is an amazing person. She finagled her way onto a medical mission to Afghanistan although she was a hairdresser and not a doctor. Despite incredible risk to herself, she started the Kabul Beauty School for women. Because of her life in Kabul and her marriage to a Muslim Afghan, she is able to expose, to some de...more
Knowing how much I adored The Kite Runner my lovely husband chose The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul for me as a Christmas present as it is compared with Hosseini's masterpiece on the cover. Unfortunately, he didn't realise that what the caption actually says is "As if Maeve Binchy had written the Kite Runner". So I approached this cautiously, it screams "Chick-Lit" but it is set in contemporary Afghanistan. Interesting mixture!
The central character of the novel is Sunny, a native of the American S...more
Even though it was set in the middle east and tried to incorporate the very real dangers women (and men) face the book felt like a 'soap opera' to me. The dialogue was outright corny at times and it did feel very 'westernised'and watered down so as not to be too graphic or controversial.

My favourite character was probably Halajan, although I did also like Yasmina. But I really didn't believe the 'metamorphosis' of some of the characters, particalarly one who had been set in the traditional ways...more
I probably wouldn't have bought this myself as the cover has chick lit written all over it, but I was given the book as a present and I love reading about Afghanistan so I thought I'd give it a try. I must admit that at first the writing style grated on me almost enough to call it quits at a couple of stages but I persevered and I'm really glad I did. Although the story may be a little idealistic and facile at times, there is a sincere undercurrent of friendship, love and overcoming adversity th...more
I will confess that this surprised me a bit. Based on the blurb, I thought I would be reading a rather cheery book...until I read the opening scene, which begins with a young Afghani girl being torn from her family as a human payment for a debt to a drug lord. As Yazmina shivered in the back of the black Land Rover, facing her hideous destiny as prostitute (unless she dies the minute they find out that she is pregnant), I seriously considered dumping the book - I really can't deal with sexual ab...more
Alex Nye
I am currently reading The little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriquez and thoroughly enjoying it. The author has managed to take one of the most dangerous places on the planet - Afghanistan - and present it in a positive light despite the horrors regularly unfolding.

What I like about this book so far is its unequivocal and honest spotlight onto the issues of women's rights, but in such a down-to-earth manner that all she does is tell the facts, portray it as it is. I haven't read far into...more
Louise at The Reading Experiment
Chick lit meets the Taliban in The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul (also published under the title A Cup of Friendship).

This unlikely pairing creates a warm-hearted read with a serious message about the treatment of women in modern day Afghanistan.

It tells the story of five women – two Americans, one British and two Afghans – and the friendship they forge in a little coffee shop in the centre of Kabul.

It’s evident that American author Deborah Rodriguez loves Kabul, the city she called home for five...more
A Cup of Friendship

The beginning of this book held my interest and met my expectations of learning more about the culture, traditions, and struggles of the Afghans. The author wrote about customs forced on women in this area and the way they are treated, which provided much food for thought and heightened my gratefulness for living in a country of freedom and opportunities. However, as I read further, it became a lighter read, leaning more toward chick-lit. I have no objections to these types of...more
Tara Chevrestt
This has been a wonderful read. I found myself completey immersed in another world and felt as though I came to know the characters of this story intimately.

Sunny is an American from Missouri trying to make a new life in Afghanistan. She's runs a coffee house that welcomes Afghans, Americans, UN workers, and employs a fascinating mixture of people. She loves Afghanistan, but the rise in violence and possible re emergence of the Taliban is making the country unsafe for her and her coffee shop. S...more
Cheyenne Blue
This was lent to me by HRH Princess Chloemuffin's* mum, Jane. Jane loved it, but from the start I found it meh. 5 women meet and become friends in a coffee shop in Kabul. 5 disparate women, 5 disparate lives. Did I say Meh? I wanted to like this, but, although I finished it, I was very ho-hum about the whole thing. It was too pat, too cliched, too cosy. Too glossed over. Not every book about Afghanistan has to be full of angst and drama like "A Thousand Splendid Suns", but this was the other ext...more
Lisa Kirwan
This is the first review that I've written on here. Having just read 'The Kite Runner', I was eager to learn more about the gorgeous culture that I'd had a glimpse of in Khaled Hosseini's beautiful novel. I am a sucker for a bit of 'chick lit' as I find it so easy to read and escape to. I just didn't get this book and what it was trying to do. Its message seemed to be one of importance but the bias was too much for me, it didn't feel authentic, not to mention I found the characters thoroughly ha...more
I gave this book two stars rather than one because I did at least finish it. On the cover it is described as Maeve Binchy meets the Kite Runner. I do not think this is a compliment. The story itself is lightweight romantic fiction with happy endings for most of the main characters and one death as an acknowledgement of the setting which is war torn Afghanistan. The author has lived there herself and her poliitical views are voiced through some of the characters in a very unrealistic way. Overall...more
Really enjoyed reading this. Quite a light-hearted read but still tackles some serious issues. I didn't realise it was based on a true story. I had heard of The
Beauty Shop of Kabul but never thought I would be interested in reading it but now after reading the interview with the author and understanding that she went there with the UN relief team, I am intrigued. Thoroughly enjoyed the bit about the custom of tea or "chai" at the end. This would make a lovely movie
A. Lieberson
Author of the non-fiction KABUL BEAUTY SCHOOL, Deoborah Rodrigues now gives us a fictional story of an American woman named Sunny who owns The Coffee Shop in war-torn Afghanistan. Rodrigues introduces to a wide range of characters who either work at the coffee shop or they are customers. We meet the pregnant widow Yazmina who is sold to an old man to pay off her uncle's debts only to be thrown from the car when they realize she's pregnant, the widow Halajan who owns the building where the coffee...more
Aunty Janet
I loved this small insight into Afghanistan, particularly the often harrowing lives of the women living there. Although only a small snapshot, I found the exploration of the lives of the characters described, fascinating.
''In a little coffee shop in one of the most dangerous places on earth, five very different women come together.
SUNNY, the proud proprietor, who needs an ingenious plan - and fast - to keep her café and customers safe.
YAZMINA, a young pregnant woman stolen from her remote villa...more
I enjoyed this book. Right away the title is great! I love books about women and friendships. The author definetly has a story to tell.

My one complaint is, she has so much to tell she tried to fit it all in one book! This book has way too many details. Could have been refined a bit more. At times, there were sentences or whole pages that could have been left out.

Sometimes too many details left my mind wandering and not with the story. I also felt as if the friendships were superficial and not ve...more
This novel tells the story of several different people who are linked through an American woman's coffee shop in Kabul. Sunny, the owner of the coffee shop, has traveled to Kabul with her boyfriend, trying to escape from Nowheresville, Arkansas (straight from the book). There is Halajan, the owner of the building, a modernist Afghan woman and her traditional son, Ahmet. There is Yazmina, the young and pregnant widow taken from her home and rescued by Sunny. Isabel and Candace, also Westerners, a...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. As its title indicates, the action takes place in present-day Kabul, Afghanistan, a dangerous, but fascinating place.

Local colour is great, and there's a wide variety of well-portrayed characters. All through the book, there's a strong sense of humanity, which, in some strange way, is highlighted by the obvious danger of Kabul.

All the characters have their individual hopes, dreams and stories, which intertwine very satisfactorily. The desparate need for reform i...more
Alyce (At Home With Books)
I’ll come right out and say it – A Cup of Friendship was a huge disappointment.

Here are some of the problems I had with it:

There were too many characters and not enough depth to them.
The story was told from so many perspectives and sadly they almost all fell flat.
Too many complicated plots that just skim the surface of potentially deep stories.
It wasn’t clear to me what the time frame was within the war.
Simple plot solutions to complicated plots.
I didn’t care about any of the characters.
Donna Barnes
I really enjoyed this book, its characters, the plot and the conflicts. It had so much to say about how our government hasn't really done right by Afghanistan, how dangerous it is there, but how people can still survive because of their belief in doing the right thing, while oftentimes dealing with grief. The characters were easily identifiable so I never got lost as far as who was who. The author, while using a slower paced point of view by trying to cover many people's thoughts, overlaps the a...more
I loved this book. It tells the story of a coffee shop in Kabul, Afghanistan; the American woman who runs it; and the other foreigners and Afghans who work there and visit there. It tells the story of a changing country, and the treatment of women there, and friendship and love. This book added color to my very gray imagination of what Afghanistan must be. I highly recommend it!
Fran Horwich
What a dreadful piece of fiction. The book centres around a coffee shop owned by an American in Kabul. Part of the story concerns raising cash to build a wall around the shop for security. This novel has a wall around it, separating what is genuinely Afghani, from the trite western writing. This slush of a love story is the stuff of teen novels I am afraid.
The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul is the first novel by hairdresser, a motivational speaker and author, Deborah Rodriguez. Sunny Tedder owns a coffee shop in Kabul, staffed by her Hazzara barista and manager, Bashir Hadi, her land-lady Halajan and her security guard, Ahmet, Halajan’s strictly Muslim son. Soft-hearted Sunny finds herself taking on a waitress, an escapee from a Nuristani war-lord, the pregnant Yazmina. As Sunny waits for the reappearance of her boyfriend Tommy, working on undisclose...more
Allison Tynan
I thought I was going to enjoy this but turned out to be total and utter chick lit. Not my bag at all. The moment Candace someone or other made an appearance I was out of there.
I completely stumbled upon this book. I was ready to start a new audiobook, browsed the 11 audiobooks I have downloaded and ready to go, then decided to not listen to any of them. I wanted something else. I browsed the e-library and ran across this one. It was the cover that mainly attracted me.
The story is mainly centered around Sunny, an American expat living in Kabul and running a small cafe. Everything kind of revolves around her and the cafe but the story is bigger than that. The readers g...more
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Deborah Rodriguez is a hairdresser, a motivational speaker, and the author of the bestselling memoir Kabul Beauty School.
She spent five years teaching at and later directing the Kabul Beauty School, the first modern beauty academy and training salon in Afghanistan. Rodriguez also owned the Oasis Salon and the Cabul Coffee House.
She currently lives in Mexico.
More about Deborah Rodriguez...
Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil Margarita Wednesdays: Making a New Life by the Mexican Sea

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“People, even those closest to you, are surprising...Nobody is everything they seem.” 7 likes
“Women are like tea bags; you never know how strong they are until they’re put in hot water. — ELEANOR ROOSEVELT” 6 likes
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