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Archive for the tag “Memoir”

Review: Kabul Beauty School

Kabul Beauty School I had been looking forward to reading Kabul Beauty School . Deborah Rodriguez, the author, heads to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, in part to offer humanitarian aid, and in part to escape the difficulties her life and marriage hold. More than any of the skills she learns before being sent to Kabul, she uses her knowledge of haircuts and color to serve the NGO community in Kabul, and eventually the Afghanis as well.She opens Kabul Beauty to school to train and empower the women of war torn Afghanistan, so many crushed under the weight of Taliban rule.
While I applaud her involvement, and her genunine desire to help Afghani women, even at a danger to herself, I struggle to embrace the author herself. I didn’t trust the voice of the author, the brash American who would so blantly disregard the culture of Afghanistan, favoring her own. She loves the people, but doesn’t seem to want to bend to meet them. Her recollections, instead of being heroic and charming leaned slightly more towards selfish, insincere, and at times judgemental. The beauty of the story is lost among the seeming insincerity of the narrator.

I give Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez one star.


Review: The Fourth Fisherman

Initially, I picked up The Fourth Fisherman by Joe Kissack because the story intrigued me. Three fisherman are stranded at sea for nine months, eating what they can catch, and reading Scripture to sustain them. The story sounded phenomenal.

Intertwined with that story was Kissack’s own story of coming to faith. He had everything, but still found himself lacking something. And eventually, he discovered all he needed in the Scripture.

I admit, both loved this book and found myself confused by it. It made me both irritated and anxious for more at the same time. I am not sure that I completely agree with the assessment of someone from the audience, who heard the stories, and told that Joe that he was, “…telling the story wrong.” (p.188). While both Joe’s story and the story of the fishermen were incredibly powerful, it seemed that combining them into one book weakened both. Both stories in the volume seem so undeveloped.

Without intending to in anyway undermine Kissack’s story, I found his writing to be reflective of the time he spent with therapists, counselors, and pastors. There was such an amazing transformation in his life, but in telling the story, it was bogged down with phrases that come out of guided self reflection. I wasn’t convinced that it was his voice speaking, but rather, it felt like the voice of others.

I would have loved to hear more from the fishermen themselves, even if it was only interviews tucked into an addendum at the end. Do they still think about that time? What was the most difficult part of their time on the open ocean? How did they communicate with their Taiwanese rescuers? So many questions that remain unanswered.

Overall, I found the Fourth Fisherman to be a story of hope, inspiration and faith. I give it three stars.

*Please note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for a fair and honest review.

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