Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lipstick in Afghanistan

published by:  Gallery Books

Gripped by haunting magazine images of starving refugees, Elsa has dreamed of becoming a nurse since she was a teenager, of leaving her humble working-class Boston neighborhood to help people whose lives are far more difficult than her own. No one in her family has ever escaped poverty, but Elsa has a secret weapon: a tube of lipstick she found in her older sister’s bureau. Wearing it never fails to raise her spirits and bolster her confidence. With lipstick on, she can do anything—even travel alone to war-torn Afghanistan in the wake of September 11.

Violent nights as an emergency room nurse in Boston did not prepare Elsa for the devastation she witnesses at the small medical clinic she runs in Bamiyan. As she struggles to prove herself in the male-dominated culture, a tube of lipstick she finds in the aftermath of a tragic bus bombing leads her to a life-changing friendship with Parween, a young woman who has lost her adored young husband to the Taliban’s treachery. In Parween, Elsa finds a kindred spirit, fiery, generous, and determined to fight back against the restrictions that plague the women of her small country.

Together, they risk their lives to rebel against the Taliban and bring opportunity to the people of their village. But when they must stand up and fight for their own survival, Elsa discovers her only hope is to unveil the warrior within.

I was really interested in reading this book.  I loved The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.  I didn't love this book as much.  It had a great premise and I liked the idea of the story.  However, for me, the writing just wasn't the best. 

I felt like a lot of the scenes were very abrupt.  I found myself reading with an eyebrow raised a lot of the time.  I didn't believe what was going on.  Not that it was outrageous, but that I didn't feel like was going on was "real".   I couldn't get any emotion connection going on with the main character and I didn't particularly like her.  It's hard to get into a book when you don't like the MC.

I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading this book, because like I said the story has a great premise.  It's a quick easy read.   Go check it out and see if you feel the same way about it.  It might be a great book for a book club.  I'm sure there would be quite a lot to debate about it. 

1 comment:

Ashley said...

Great review! I agree with you on a lot of points! I didn't care for Elsa, I never believed their actions were 'real' and the writing kind of bothered me. (Like when the author tells us that Mees is really miss, but they can't pronounce it...) Sigh. And it could have been so great.