Kabul Beauty School: Beneath the Veil of Afghan Women
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Kabul Beauty School: Beneath the Veil of Afghan Women

by
3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  13,455 ratings  ·  2,163 reviews

Soon after the fall of the Taliban, in 2001, Deborah Rodriguez went to Afghanistan as part of a group offering humanitarian aid to this war-torn nation. Surrounded by men and women whose skills–as doctors, nurses, and therapists–seemed eminently more practical than her own, Rodriguez, a hairdresser and mother of two from Michigan, despaired of being of any real use. Yet sh

...more
Audio CD, 200 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Blackstone Audio Inc. (first published January 1st 2007)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Kabul Beauty School, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Kabul Beauty School

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Tippi
I saw this book and thought immediately of Reading Lolita in Tehran, which I wanted to buy but didn't see during this trip to the bookstore. It's about a hairdresser who opens a beauty school in Afghanistan, which is hugely important for the local women because it gives them independence from their husbands and fathers, as well as a source of income.

It was a ridiculously easy read. I felt like I was browsing through a woman's blog about her stay in Afghanistan. Which is fine - she had tons of in...more
Nadine
I was kind of sad to see other reviews about this book. It seemed to me like there was a lot of judgment towards the author and negativity about the book. Some of the points had validity, but I guess as an American living in a foreign country I have more sympathy for the author than a lot of people who wrote reviews seem to have. The one thing I will agree with is that it is not extremely eloquent English. I am sure that this book frequently gets compared to "Reading Lolita in Tehran", which is...more
Michele
Sep 27, 2007 Michele rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: book clubs
Has Life for Afghani Women Improved Because of Rodriguez?

I have mixed feelings about this book. It's easy to read and provides an interesting and informative portrayal of life for the women of Afghanistan. I'm not sorry I read it, but it did drag on in the end and I started counting pages wondering when it would be over. There is one heartbreaking and shocking story after the next, and too many "characters" to wrap one's mind around. This mélange of stories boils down to: Terrorizing Men and Ter

...more
suzy
I listened to this book on CD and was loving it up to a point then became worried about her informants. I'd read "PRINCES: A TRUE STORY OF LIFE BEHIND THE VEIL IN SAUDI ARABIA" years back and its author was extremely discret, so I compared this book to Rodriguez' and wondered immediately about her telling so much detail that could be harmful to the women of the book. NPR has a great recap. of Rodriguez essentially selling out her informants and the alleged betrayal.

http://www.npr.org/templates/...more
April
I had a hard time giving this book a rating. I give the women of Afghanistan (whose lives and personal stories are the meat of this book) 5*. Their bravery and determination to survive hardship and abuse in one of the cruelest of cultures is inspiring.

I give the actual writing in this book 2*, as well as the American woman who penned it. The language is very simplistic; it reads like a blog actually. I started to lose interest somewhere around the middle of the book, and especially after the aut...more
Lani
This book was... conceptually interesting, but poorly written.

-- Edited 08.08.08 --

I can't believe this was all I had to say about this book. First, just after I read it, I was only mildly annoyed. The author is an incompetent, brash, selfish, idiotic woman who made no effort to even pretend to respect or assimilate into the culture she encountered. She bashed her way into Kabul, first perhaps with good intentions, and then she just proceeded to ignore every cultural more that she could. Her dec...more
Kristen
Apr 01, 2008 Kristen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERY WOMAN!!!!
Recommended to Kristen by: My Mom
This book was much more than I thought it would be. I learned so much about daily life for women in Afghanistan. I was horrifed to read of the way they are treated and disvalued. I think every woman in the world should read this book. Wow! What a wake up call. Warning: there is some sexual content in the first chapter as the author describes the traditional marriage consummation ceremony, but I felt (and I'm rather picky) that it was absolutely necessary for the book. There is also one f-word, w...more
Melanie
This book was so much better than I thought it would be. When I first picked it up, I thought, "huh? a beauty school in Afghanistan? Don't those poor people need water and electricity more than a mani/pedi?" I was pleasantly surprised to find that the author had a fabulous and unique story to tell in an interesting and well-written way. Like so many people who end up in the "development" world, she simply saw a need and set out to contribute what she could to improve people's lives. Throughout t...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Steph for TeensReadToo.com

Deborah Rodriguez is a beautician from Michigan who went over to Afghanistan after September 11th to help in any way she could. She quickly fell in love with the country and wanted to reestablish the Afghan beauticians who went out of existence when the Taliban took over. Along with help from others, she opened a beauty school where she trained Afghan women to become beauticians who could then open up their own beauty salons.

This amazing true story is heart...more
April
As a recommendation from a good friend, I wanted to whole heartedly like this book, but I just couldn't. The writing—as noted by nearly all reviewers—is atrocious. The author is at best obnoxious.

When my mother-in-law noticed this book at my house and asked me about it, I had a hard time putting my finger on exactly what was wrong with it. But, the introduction to Julia Child's My Life in France cleared things up for me. As she professes her love of France and Paris, she says "I devoted myself...more
Hannah
Again, I'd be a kitten-murdering sadist if I gave this one star, so I'm going with two. I would have loved to read a short article about the Kabul Beauty School and I'm abstractly interested in the project, but the writing made me want to rip out my own fingernails with hedge clippers. Really, it's my own fault--this book is supposed to be accessible because the writing style is conversational and feels like you're just chatting with your hairdresser, and I should have remembered before taking t...more
Mandy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mish
May 26, 2012 Mish rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mish by: Krystal
A friend asked me if I wanted to read this book. We have a book swap going among a few friends, and I haven’t borrowed any books from this particular friend before. I thought I’d be polite and say ‘Yes’ but not really knowing what it’s about. I initially thought it might be about Kabul beauty tips/techniques, and yes part of it was at very start, but it is so much more than that.

Debbie tells her story of when she left her family at Michigan to move permanently to Afghanistan, to give hope and in...more
Catherine
Deborah Rodriguez travels from her home in Holland, Michigan as part of a group offering humanitarian aid in Afghanistan. Not being a medical professional, she was at first a little lost on how she could be of assistance to the people of Afghanistan. Once she realized that her skills as a beautician could be utilized in Afghanistan her idea for Kabul Beauty School was born. I have to give a lot of credit to the author for her courage and tenacity to actually bring the dream of the beauty school...more
Lora
I LOVED this book. It was an easy read with short pieces of her story as a hairdresser trying to empower women in Kabul by training them in her beauty salon with grants from various charitable sources. It was a fascinating read from the American perspective. There were no altruistic answers. It was nice to have a book like this written by a bright blue-collar person instead of the educated graduate degree person. She is down-to-earth and real. It seemed to be delightfully honest. I admire her br...more
Rachael
I read this book in my continuing "read more nonfiction" quest. I have to say that it didn't really feel like nonfiction, and I still can't decide whether I liked it or not. I definitely have some different perspectives and values from the author, and at times I would think "Wow, she seems like quite a character!" but I was so impressed by how hard she was working to ensure a future for the Afghan women.

In case you're not familiar with this, it's the story of an American hairdresser who went to...more
Tyra
I enjoyed parts of this book very much. It was interesting to see and understand the lives of women in Afganistan. It was also interesting to see what a difference a beauty school made in their lives as they developed a skill to support themselves.

What I did not like was the author. I do admire what she did and the strength it must have taken. However, she was whiny and annoying and spent way to much time talking about herself and her over dramatized life.

Overall it was not that well written an...more
Heather
Well, this probably should go on the Life Is Too Short shelf, because I didn't really finish it... but then, the book didn't really end, either. It just kind of trailed off. And so did my interest. So, we're even.
It was a very "lite" read (I agree with reviewers who said it was more like a blog on paper than a book) and there were things about it that I liked. I liked how the author brought out certain resonances between her own past experience as the emotionally and physically abused wife of a...more
George
The stories of the women in this book are heartbreaking. My problem is that the author even tells them. What happens if you talk about helping a woman fake her virginity on her wedding night, and the woman's husband finds out? Apparently, word of the book has leaked out in Afghanistan, a place where women can be imprisoned for leaving their husbands. See this link, here - http://www.npr.org/templates/story/st....

I am not going to question the author's motives because I think she is a sincere per...more
Callie
Feb 06, 2008 Callie rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in Afghanistan
Shelves: read-in-2008
I'm in the middle of this book, too far in to drop it, but praying it'll be over soon. This woman, the writer.....there are no words. I've just finished reading the description of her marriage ceremony to an Afghan/Uzbek guy who doesn't speak English. Ok, well, that's just stupid and asking for trouble. Who does that? And she herself, well, she has good intentions I guess. But she seems so shallow and frivilous. She probably spent most of her time in Kabul reinforcing all the negative stereotype...more
N.L. Riviezzo
I would have never picked up this book if it hadn't been for a woman in my book club who insisted that it be our September read. The author of this quick to read but a complete waste of time book is arrogant, naive and full of herself. Yes, every culture has its assholes and yes, at that time, Afghanistan seemed to have more than its fair share but by no means, does that make annoying Americans - with their own issues - more superior. For all the bitching that the author does about Afghani men a...more
Joan
It is what it is.

* Glimpse into the lives of women in Kabul post-2001, so for that, worth the read. The book states that being a hairdresser is the only profession for women in Kabul acceptable to nearly all husbands, because men aren't allowed in salons, so it's one place where women can be "free" to earn a decent living, despite being frequently accused of being prostitutes at a brothel.
* So sad! All of the women affiliated with the school were abused at home and in public in some way because...more
Jenny
The author writes about her travels to Afghanistan and how she eventually opens a beauty school to reach the Afghan women. Not the most pedantic writing, but it's probably one of the most revealing accounts of the life of women under the burka. Rodruigeuz is kooky and she writes like a hairdresser talks, but it's still an interesting book.

NPR did a few stories on her and the women in her school who are now actually in danger of losing their lives from the detail the Rodruiguez writes about them...more
Petra X
This is the third book I've read in three days and all three were on different views of humanity and improving lives and none were even slightly alike but all were 5-star books. Proper review coming up... sometime.
bookczuk
An American woman goes behind the veil, is the subtitle, and indeed she does. What she finds back there is a vibrant and rich culture of women in a world that is constantly shifting around them. Rodriguez, who seems to have a zest for life, and who herself survived an abusive marriage, also has the knack for drawing people out to tell their stories. The book is more memoir than travel log, but still provides a glimpse into a world that many of us here in the US will never visit.

My mother used to...more
miaaa
Jun 24, 2009 miaaa rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Palsay, Echa
Recommended to miaaa by: Graeme
If you think that a beautician is a mere profession, then think again. This one certain beautician has done a priceless effort for the girls of Afghanistan. She gives them a pride and self esteem of earning money on their own, and -the most important- to have fun. It's something that they're barely knew during the restricted Taleban regime.

***

Jika menurutmu juru rias itu hanya profesi biasa, maka kamu salah. Kemahiran Deb mengajarkan cara melakukan highlights rambut mungkin setara dengan penelit...more
karen reyes
I really enjoyed this book. Similar to Reading Lolita in Theran, it gives you insight into the complexity of a small country within the Middle East, particularyly in the town of Kabul, Afghanastan. What the women there go through is amazing! Afghan women are subjected to so much oppression and submission it is mind boggling there isn't some kind of uprising against the culture. I am only speaking as an American woman, where my rights and freedoms are truly protected - yet somewhat undervalued. I...more
Marie
(why can't we give half points in this grading system?? i'd rate this book more of a 3.5.)

anyway, it's an easy/quick read.

i was torn... in my opinions of how she wrote the book and what she wanted readers to get out of her experience. e.g. in terms of her writing style, her transitions between scenes/memories were sometimes jarring; several times, i had to try to figure out what was the main point of the chapter or how the different sequences were related. in terms of the content, i was torn wi...more
sinta nisfuanna
Jika disebutkan tentang relawan daerah konflik, bidang apa yang terpikir dalam kepala Anda? Pasti sebagian besar akan menelurkan kata medis, pendidikan, psikologi, atau teknik. Tapi pernahkah terbayang di kepala Anda, seorang penata rambut dikirim ke daerah konflik? Jarang! Bisa jadi malah tidak pernah terlintas sama sekali di kepala. Sebagian dari kita juga akan bertanya-tanya, benarkah negara yang dilanda konflik membutuhkan seorang penata rambut? Mungkin hanya tawa kecil yang tersungging di b...more
Ivana
OK, one of my "new year's decisions" is to start writing reviews here on goodreads. So, this is the first book I read this year and it was really nice beginning of year.
While reading the book I had a feeling like I'm chatting with author, like she is my best friend. Story was interesting and something new for me. It gave me a chance to meet another culture and it really shocked me. I knew that in Afghanistan woman don't have a lot of rights, but some part were really humiliating and hard for re...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Favorite quotes? 1 12 Oct 12, 2013 05:07PM  
  • Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam
  • The Storyteller's Daughter: One Woman's Return to Her Lost Homeland
  • A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice
  • Persian Girls: A Memoir
  • Zoya's Story: An Afghan Woman's Struggle for Freedom
  • In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi Kingdom
  • Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran
  • In the Name of Honour: A Memoir
  • Coppola: A Pediatric Surgeon in Iraq
  • Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali
  • Wanting Mor
  • Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran
  • Prisoner of Tehran: A Memoir
  • The Sewing Circles of Herat: A Personal Voyage Through Afghanistan
  • The Bookseller of Kabul
  • Inside The Kingdom: My Life In Saudi Arabia
  • A Bed of Red Flowers: In Search of My Afghanistan
  • My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban: A Young Woman's Story
182089
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...
The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul Margarita Wednesdays: Making a New Life by the Mexican Sea The House on Carnaval Street

Share This Book