Tuesday, October 11, 2016

It is International Day of the Girl Child so reviewing The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is rather appropriate today.



The author, a former ABC News reporter, spent years researching this story, traveling between Kabul, London and Washington. That is how she met Kamila Sidiqi, a young, educated Afghani woman whose life, and the lives of her sisters, was put on hold the day the Taliban siezed control of Kabul. Their father and elder brother were forced to flee to avoid arrest or conscription.

The Taliban did not allow women to work, go to school, or even leave their homes unattended. Under these conditions the family quickly went through their available resources and had to find a way to make a living that would not bring the Taliban or morality squads to their door. Kamila learned how to sew beaded dresses. With her young brother as her protection, she found customers in the markets willing to take her products. The whole family joined in the business and soon they were taking in employees and students. In this way they were able to survive.

Although I felt the writing was geared more towards a younger reader, I did enjoy reading it. I recommend The Dressmaker of Khair Khana as a good book and a chance to learn more about the Afghani women and their culture and resilience.