Susan Poling's Reviews > The Bookseller of Kabul

The Bookseller of Kabul by Åsne Seierstad
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's review
May 18, 2009

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bookshelves: nonfiction
Recommended to Susan Poling by: Friend Kelly
Read in July, 2009 , read count: Barely once!

This is definately NONFICTION. It is very well written. It tells of the living conditions in Afghanistan during their three wars. It tells of poverty and filth. It tells of the oppression of females who are treated like animals, arranged marriages that sell young teenagers to old men making them live among strangers who treat them like slaves. It tells of a familial hierarchy that allows husbands and oldest sons to rule their family. It talls of the lack of one fathers/husbands making his sons work so that all his shops will be in the family and disallowing his children from going to school - even when his parents sold a daughter so that he could become an engineer - no there are no trains in Kabul!

Personnally, there was not enough cohesiveness in the story for me to really enjoy it. As I read, I went from one person's continuing story to another's without any of them showing consideration for the other. The women were the only ones that must pay attention and take care of the family members that were older than they were, or had more children, leaving the young as chattle that even when given an opportunity to break away, could not.

This gets a 3 for all I said in the last paragraph and a 4.5 for therealismand skill of the writing. I know that I should enjoy learning about other cultures, but this one is so far from ours and told pretty much from the perspective of a male-dominated that it held little enjoyment for me.

P.S. A confession: I got so disinterested in the book by the end - it was the same thing over and over again - that I actually skipped the next to the last chapter! Tsk! Tsk!

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