Lipstick in Afghanistan
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Lipstick in Afghanistan

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3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  666 ratings  ·  145 reviews
Roberta Gately’s lyrical and authentic debut novel—inspired by her own experiences as a nurse in third world war zones—is one woman’s moving story of offering help and finding hope in the last place she expected.

Gripped by haunting magazine images of starving refugees, Elsa has dreamed of becoming a nurse since she was a teenager. O...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published November 9th 2010 by Gallery Books (first published 2010)
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Ashley
Originally posted on my blog, Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing.

This is the story of a Elsa, an ER nurse in her early 20s who wants to make a difference in the world. She is accepted as a relief nurse with an international organization and sent to Afghanistan in 2002 to help run the local hospital. Drama ensues.

I had a few problems with this book. And the bulk of my review will dwell on what I didn't think worked very well. But I do want to say that this book isn't bad. There is a market for...more
Jen
This book is extra special to me because I used to work with the Author. I was anxious and a bit nervous to read Roberta's first book because I didn't know if I would like it and if I didn't like it, I would of felt sick about it. Well no worries my friends...I am about 75 percent through Elsa's story and I LOVE IT!! I know that Roberta's humanitarian experiences and efforts have shaped and given life to the character of Elsa and others in her story and it makes them more tangible and loveable....more
Tara Chevrestt
This is a very well written and entertaining contemporary tale about a Boston ER nurse, Elsa. Elsa had a hard knock life and as a result, wants to help others in dire situations. She joins an aid organization and travels to Bamiyan, Afghanistan, home of the famous Buddha statues to work in a clinic. She has no electricty and no running water, but she is determined to spend one year there. She learns that running water and electricity do not a happy environment make. Instead, she discovers love w...more
Kjrstin


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again I love books that show me something from a point of view different than my own. This one is just such a book. Roberta Gately delivers this novel from her own experiences as a nurse in third world war zones. Her writing style is lyrical and authentic debut novel. A great read for book clubs.

Summary:
Gripped by haunting magazine images of starving refugees, Elsa has dreamed of becoming a nurse since she was a teenager. Of leaving her humble working-class Bo...more
Carol
“Lipstick in Afghanistan” by Roberta Gately is fictional picture of rural Afghanistan through the eyes of nurse, Elsa and young woman named Parween. They develop a friendship that breaks through cultural boundaries and gives hope to the one and growth to the other.

It was difficult for me to understand the part about the lipstick. There is an emphasis on a tube of lipstick giving women a sense of importance and beauty. Although makeup is very important in Afghani weddings, it is not that importan...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Lipstick in Afghanistan doesn’t make any pretense of being factual and it’s a darn good thing. The back cover promises it is “inspired by experiences as a nurse in third world war zones.” I can’t remember when I read a more heavy-handed book. It’s almost as if (wait for it…) the author colored all the Key Symbols in with bright red lipstick. Like, for example, well, lipstick. Lipstick is Female Connection and Beauty and Freedom in an Oppressive-to-Women World. Lipstick, all that?

Really?

Oh my.

T...more
Misha
It has been forever since I have posted on Goodreads, let alone actually read a book! Life gets so busy sometimes...but my life doesn't seem to be complete unless I am reading a worthwhile book! This one, I'm afraid, is questionable whether it was a worthwhile book. It would have been if it were were non-fiction or a type of fiction mixed with a bit of fiction, but it wasn't (at least not enough), I didn't find that out until half way through, I was very disappointed! It was my own fault for not...more
LaQuita (Just Us Girls)
When I read the back of this book I knew I would love it. This was such a great story that was well written, especially for being a first novel. Roberta Gately has gained a new fan and I look forward to reading more from her.

Not only could I picture everything that was happening, but I felt connected with the main character, Elsa. The fact that she went to another country to help others and not only helped them, but helped herself as well. Her character is very sweet and in some ways innocent i...more
Suzanne
Okay, I couldn't finish this, or even get very far. I'm just saving the review to remember the book. The "lipstick" reference made for a great title and a terrible motif running through the book. Here is this "selfless" saintly character out to save the world and she is enpowered by Lipstick? She saves a magazine article of suffering people for years-- because magazines are so rare? The important people in her life die off quickly and easily so she is free to go on her adventure. None of it ring...more
Heidi
The story was alright.... exhilarating and stuff.... but the overall premise as well as the tone that the characters spoke in was unrealistic. That, and the author is soooooooooo American, I actually gagged a couple of times.... /rolleyes

Although I admire her real life work with aid organizations, it felt like Roberta Gately took her story from the pages of other authors. She might be better off keeping her day job.
Jennifer
From my book review blog Rundpinne...."Lipstick in Afghanistan is an extraordinary look at humanity at its worst, all the while showing the beauty and love found in adversity and the strength of women and friendship."...The full review may be read here.
Amanda
This book just sucked, there's simply no nice way for me to say it. I couldn't even force myself to finish it (and I can count on one hand the number of times I haven't finished a book). The writing wwas very poor, immature almost, and I found it a bit stunted and forced. It did not flow or read naturally at all for me. And the protagonist was rather unrealistic as well.
Karen Smith
Well, I skimmed this book after the first 2 chapters. Another altruistic nurse trying to write a book about her experiences in a war zone but instead of a memoir it was a novel. Trite and void of any deep emotion.
Sharon
While this book had an interesting premise, the writing was immature. I couldn't connect with the protagonist at all, and from the first line I felt as though she was set up to be a unbelievable character.
Michele
I couldn't finish this book - the plot could have been interesting, but the writing was so poor and the characters and situations so romanticized that it was painful.
Adrienne
Nothing lyrical or subtle about this book. It is obvious and unimaginative. I am so disappointed to still have not found good fiction about nurses.
Becky
An American nurse goes to volunteer at a clinic in Afghanistan. There, she finds love and a deep understanding of the people and their culture.
Eileen
I liked the premise for the novel, but the writing kept pulling me out of the story.
Jennifer Defoy
I absolutely loved this book. I loved it so much that I can't think of the right words to describe it, at least not any that would do it justice. The story was so heartwarming, sad, happy, and touching. It was so sad and yet was filled with so much joy.

When I started reading it I didn't really expect the story that unfolded. At first I didn't understand the whole thing with the lipstick, but as the story progressed it was such a great way of tying the characters to each other.

The story jumps a...more
Jeannie Mancini
When looking at a magazine photograph of a starving family in Rwanda, young Elsa, living in Boston with her mother and disabled sister, vows to someday become someone who can help the needy people of this world. When she turns seventeen, her life suddenly turns around to follow that track when an ER nurse in a Boston Hospital helps her to understand the circle of life when Elsa’s baby sister dies. The continuing friendship between Elsa and the nurse blossoms into a mentor relationship, and soon...more
Stefanie
Elsa's life has never been easy, but when she meets a nurse when she is sixteen, she finds a direction in her life. Eventually, she joins an aid group and ends up in Afghanistan. It is here that her life completely changes. She becomes the head nurse and administrator at a small hospital in an even smaller village. The conditions there are like nothing she has ever seen, as in no running water or electricity. It made me seriously think about everything I have and don't have. This book made a lot...more
Carla Ford
This was a wonderful book about the bonds women of all ages and backgrounds are able to form, and the ways in which they can support each other in their dreams. Elsa has a tough life, the daughter of a single mom struggling to make ends meet while also raising her granddaughter, Elsa's niece. Through loss and heartbreak, Elsa meets a woman who will become her mentor, and help her find the courage to follow her dream of being a nurse. When Elsa finds herself packing for Afghanistan, where she wil...more
Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen)
When I first heard about "Lipstick in Afghanistan", I thought it was going to be a memoir. Then when I received the book for review from the publisher, I very quickly realized that it was fiction. I actually prefer fiction over non-fiction (even though I have a soft spot for memoirs), so it was a win situation for me.

The story starts out by introducing us to Elsa, a determined young woman who rises above poverty and becomes an ER nurse. She has always wanted to make a difference that will affect...more
Mia Parviainen
I read this book since one of my students selected it for an independent reading assignment last year, and it looked interesting.

The book cover said that this was Gately's first novel. It shows. While the novel does have some fantastic moments, there are some things about the book that bothered me. In particular, the whole beginning section feels rushed. Elsa, the protagonist, has a whirlwind difficult childhood, into training as a nurse, into a desire to work abroad after 9/11. It's difficult...more
Laura
Lipstick in Afghanistan is the first novel of Roberta Gately and she has written it as fiction, but loosely based it on her own experiences as a nurse in third world war zones. It is the story of Elsa, a nurse from Boston that didn't seem to have an easy life growing up but tried to change her way by becoming educated and striving to help others. Elsa first read a story about Rwandan refugees in a magazine when she was a young teenager and felt from that moment on that she would pledge her life...more
Dana
Elsa grew up poor in a suburb of Boston. She decides to become an ER nurse with the intention of helping others. When her mother dies she decides to become a foreign aid nurse and ends up being assigned to Afghanistan just after 9/11.

Elsa is assigned to a clinic in Bamiyan where there is no running water or electricity and where the Taliban has just left the village. Not even the ER of Boston with its gunshots, stabbings and illegal drug overdoses can prepare Elsa for the clinic in Afghanistan....more
Roberta
Voglio iniziare dicendo che questo è un libro speciale, è stato il primo che ha fatto scivolare calde lacrime sulle mie guancie.
Le protagoniste dominanti del racconto sono due ragazze, Elsa e Parween, che appartengono a due culture completamente diverse eppure i loro destini si incroceranno e capiranno di avere entrambe gli stessi obiettivi.
Elsa, Americana, ha ventidue anni quando decide di diventare volontaria e viene mandata a Bamiyan, il suo passato difficile fatto di povertà, una nipotina co...more
Julie Smith (Knitting and Sundries)
This review first appeared on my blog: http://jewelknits.blogspot.com/2010/1...

This book tells the story of two women living in two continents with lives that at times parallel each other and later intersect. The first, Elsa, grows up in the rough neighborhood of Dorchester with a mother who works two jobs just to give them sustenance. She works at the library after school to help with family expenses and then runs home to take care of Diana, her 4-year-old disabled niece, just in time for her m...more
Daniella
This book was an eye-opening glimpse into post 9/11 Afghanistan as told from an underprivileged Boston nurse. I found Elsa a very sweet character at the beginning, and gradually was introduced to her strength and courage, which I deeply admired. The Afghani characters presented in the novel were wonderful, and it was easy to see how Elsa and Parween became such great friends although their backgrounds were worlds apart. It was a real, honest portrait of Afghanistan, and my heart deeply hurt for...more
Maharet
Non è un libro brutto, ma non è neanche bello, non è una di quelle letture che ti restano dentro, che ricordi anche a distanza di anni per la loro bellezza, la loro storia appassionante, i personaggi indimenticabili... no, questo una volta chiuso lo dimentichi subito e a dirla tutta anche durante la lettura non è che prenda chissà quanto.
Non mi ha lasciato nulla, lo leggevo e a volte mi ritrovavo a pensare a tutt'altro, non provavo nessuna sensazione durante la lettura, né irritazione né piacere...more
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A nurse, humanitarian aid worker, and writer, Roberta Gately has served in third-world war zones ranging from Africa to Afghanistan. She has written extensively on the subject of refugees for the Journal of Emergency Nursing, as well as a series of articles for the BBC World News Online. She speaks regularly on the plight of the world’s refugees and displaced.
More about Roberta Gately...
The Bracelet Le ragazze di Kabul (eNewton Narrativa) (Italian Edition) La pakistana (eNewton Narrativa) (Italian Edition) Lipstick in Afganastan The Bracelet

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