Teri's Reviews > The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
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's review
Jan 12, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: nonfiction

3.5 stars--great subject matter--the author knew just what she was looking for before she started writing. I would really have liked the book better if it felt more like "the story had found the author" instead of feeling so forced. A bookgroup I attended read this really interesting review from the Christian Science Monitor and I'm pasting the last paragraphs so I remember that this book could "verge on required reading," even if the writing style is lacking.

"The glimpse into this hidden world of women under the Taliban is so valuable that readers will likely forgive the book’s shortcomings. As a nonfiction novel, it is wanting. Most of the story is told, not shown. The dramatic arc has been leveled to a near-flat line. The dialogue is stilted and the language often tired. However, Lemmon’s reporting is suburb: she learned Dari, talked to customers and shopkeepers, seems to have become part of the Sediqi family, and did the hard work of getting the story out.

And it is because the story is so seldom told that “The Dressmaker of Khair Khana” verges on required reading. At the very least, it is an important reminder of the power of the public eye. Regardless of how heroic they are, women behind closed doors seldom appear in the news or recorded history. It can be easy to forget that they even exist."

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