Jan's Reviews > The Dressmaker Of Khair Khana

The Dressmaker Of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
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's review
Dec 03, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in November, 2011

This is one of those books that makes me feel lazy, whiny, and inadequate. That's not to say it's a bad book. Quite the contrary; it's very good. It just makes me wish I'd do more with my life.

Trapped in Kabul when the Taliban took over, Kamila Sadiqi had to find a way to take care of her family. The rules of the repressive Taliban regime prevented her from working outside of the home or continuing her education - prevented her, in fact, from even leaving the home without the company of a male relative - while at the same time forcing the men of her family to flee persecution or conscription. What was she to do? How was she to keep from starving?

It was a dilemma faced by thousands of Afghani women. Desperate to provide for her family, Kamila rose to the challenge, deciding to become a dressmaker, despite no previous experience in tailoring or making clothes (she had, in fact, been on her way to becoming a professor at the time the Taliban took hold of the country). With the help of her sisters, she managed not only to feed her own family, but to provide training, jobs, and income for many other women in her neighborhood.

It's a truly humbling tale. I have a hard time imagining that I could have this kind of fortitude if faced with a similar situation. It's impressive and inspiring. It makes me want to do more with my life. This is a short book, and a very easy read. I highly recommend it!

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