Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil

Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil


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Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil by Deborah Rodriguez, Bernadette Dunne

Soon after the fall of the Taliban, in 2001, Deborah Rodriguez went to Afghanistan as part of a group offering humanitarian aid to this war-torn nation. Surrounded by men and women whose skills–as doctors, nurses, and therapists–seemed eminently more practical than her own, Rodriguez, a hairdresser and mother of two from Michigan, despaired of being of any real use. Yet she soon found she had a gift for befriending Afghans, and once her profession became known she was eagerly sought out by Westerners desperate for a good haircut and by Afghan women, who have a long and proud tradition of running their own beauty salons. Thus an idea was born.

With the help of corporate and international sponsors, the Kabul Beauty School welcomed its first class in 2003. Well meaning but sometimes brazen, Rodriguez stumbled through language barriers, overstepped cultural customs, and constantly juggled the challenges of a postwar nation even as she learned how to empower her students to become their families’ breadwinners by learning the fundamentals of coloring techniques, haircutting, and makeup.

Yet within the small haven of the beauty school, the line between teacher and student quickly blurred as these vibrant women shared with Rodriguez their stories and their hearts: the newlywed who faked her virginity on her wedding night, the twelve-year-old bride sold into marriage to pay her family’s debts, the Taliban member’s wife who pursued her training despite her husband’s constant beatings. Through these and other stories, Rodriguez found the strength to leave her own unhealthy marriage and allow herself to love again, Afghan style.

With warmth and humor, Rodriguez details the lushness of a seemingly desolate region and reveals the magnificence behind the burqa. Kabul Beauty School is a remarkable tale of an extraordinary community of women who come together and learn the arts of perms, friendship, and freedom.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781606407509
Publisher: Findaway World
Publication date: 11/28/2008
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Deborah Rodriguez has been as a hairdresser since 1979, except for one brief stint when she worked as a corrections officer in her hometown of Holland, Michigan. She currently directs the Kabul Beauty School, the first modern beauty academy and training salon in Afghanistan. Rodriguez also owns the Oasis Salon and the Cabul Coffee House. She lives in Kabul with her Afghan husband.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Kabul Beauty School 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 91 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read reviews from people giving 1 star and degrading Ms. RODRIGUEZ. Shame on you to assume the author is a spy instead of a young Hispanic American who has compassion for others outside of America. It takes courage for her to step out of her element and learn from Afghan people. She is obviously better then me because with reviews from negative Middle Easterns, I would have no compassion and give it to those who appreciate outsiders wanting to help naturally.
bholas More than 1 year ago
Kabul Beauty School Review of the book "Kabul Beauty Scho". The book, "Kabul Beauty School", was written by American writer, Deborah Rodriguez. It is the story of an American woman who went to Afghanistan, the Afghan women, and Afghan custom and culture. The book described the culture and the way of life in Afghanistan. It also described the differences between Afghan men and women as well as the culture in Afghanistan. The story details the sad life stories of Afghan women and the old traditional cultural life of the people of Afghanistan. Rodriguez first went to Afghanistan in 2002, she worked for the Care for All Foundation. and opened a small salon in Kabul. When the Afghan people discovered that she was a good hair dresser and had a degree in cosmetology they strongly requested that she teach them. Lots of Afghanistan women were trained by Rodriguez and helped them develop their own careers. During the Taliban period, hair salons were banned in Afghanistan. Ms.Rodriquez got a donation from different organizations and companies and started the Kabul Beauty School in Afghanistan. Debby Rodriquez helped poor Afghan women. Rodriguez married an Afghan man named Sam from whom she received a lot of help running the school in Afghanistan but later at the end due to the financial problem she has to closed all the schools and she moved to another place with sam. People still love Rodriquez because she is energetic, friendly, kind, and helpful. She clearly loves Afghanistan and its people.
Arturo60 More than 1 year ago
Kabul Beauty School Review Kabul beauty school tells the story of Deborah Rodriguez, an American woman who tired of the mistreatment of her husband, tries to start a new life as a humanitarian. Joining the Care All Foundation, she goes to Kabul, Afghanistan as a paramedic. Once in Kabul though she decides she can better serve people using her forte hairdressing than work as a paramedic. Rather Ms. Rodriguez's fame as a hairdresser, and she decides to live with and help the women of Afghanistan get ahead financially. She soon spreads reopens a salon-beauty school in Kabul which had been banned under the Taliban. It is here that Rodriguez gets to know the city and culture of the Afghan people, which is far different from her past life in Michigan. I do not believe that Rodriguez had any intention to divulge Afghan secrets or defame the culture of the Afghan people and especially for the women from Afghanistan. However, she found interesting and made public the stories some Afghan people told to Rodriguez during the time she lived with them. It is these stories that make the book intriguing. Nonetheless, some Afghans feel offended and defamed by Rodriguez's book. Arturo from Ecuador
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is terrific - both poignant and comedic, she does a great job of shedding light on this topic without demeaning it. I joined a woman's rights advocacy group after reading this because I was so stirred. I don't know what took me so long. For anyone that's lived through a domestic violence, this book is a must.
Jomorgan More than 1 year ago
Insightful account of how one woman changed the lives of many. The stories within the book show an inside view of Afghan culture for women during and following the Taliban regime. Sad at times and very real. It shows how women lead lives in other parts of the world and how slow cultural attitudes are to change. The stories pull you in from the beginning and keep you captivated till the end. Can't wait to discuss at bookgroup.
Angela Meadows More than 1 year ago
I just came across this book and liked the free sample so well that I downloaded it onto my Nook and read it in one day. I absolutely loved it and highly recommend it.
4192PI More than 1 year ago
Tested 4real Interesting Deborah Rodriguez's book tells the story of an America woman who came to Afghanistan, and she help in the development of the Kabul hairdressing in Afghan. Most women graduated from her beauty school in other to pursuit their career, while some went back to their old life. Deborah left the beauty school after falling in love with an afghan man and become a second wife, the first wife, with her seven children lived in Saudi Arabia. When I was reading the book, "Kabul Beauty School". I discovered that Deborah demonstrated many things in the book such as, anger, love and appreciation. Deborah makes every woman in Afghan to understand that whatever situation they found their self in life, they should not give it up, she encourage them to be strong and courageous. Finally her experience in Afghanistan transformed her life and the women around her.
mmt2010 More than 1 year ago
Review by: M.M.T From Afghanistan Kabul Beauty School The Book Kabul Beauty School is about Miss Deborah Rodriguez's life and basically about a part of her life in which she lived all her life. These five years of Miss Rodriguez life which she spent in Afghanistan was unforgettable for her as she said at the end of her book. At some points Miss Rodriguez's writing was about her own experience or I should say her own understanding which was different from the culture and the lifestyle of Afghans, She was not part of that culture and she didn't know Dari. So whatever she wrote was always derived from the translation of someone else. Miss Rodriguez's dream was to do something in her own field in which she had worked for a long time. Everyone has a dream to do something in their life. Just as she mentioned in the dedication of her book. Miss Rodriguez first visited Afghanistan in 2002 as a member of an emergency relief team that was working under a nonprofit organization called Care for All Foundation (CFAF). Her background was unlike the other team members as she was not in the medical field. She did have emergency relief training before 911and because of that she was able to be part of the team in Afghanistan. During her first visit, in a meeting held by CFAF she was introduced as a hairdresser. When people heard she was a hairdresser, she made a lot of Afghan customer as well as friend. From that point on she found her way to her dream. When she came back to the U.S. she worked hard to make her dream to come true. Later she came back to Afghanistan as a helper for her own idea, which was already structured by some one else (Mary) that had an NGO by the name of PARSA .so she connected all what ever she did for her dream and they started Kabul Beauty School in Kabul Afghanistan. In her five years of stay in Kabul she worked in the Kabul Beauty School and they had four graduations. Besides having dream come true Miss Rodriguez made a lot of friends like (Roshana, Suraia , Turpaki etc.) and found an Afghan husband as well, with whom she married thought as supporter in her five years of her life in Afghanistan. Miss Rodriguez had family back in the U.S. two sons and a husband,whom she left him when she came to Afghanistan. Not because of going to Afghanistan, it was because they did not like each other. At the end of the book Kabul Beauty School, Miss Rodriguez wrote that she came back to the U.S because of the problems that she had in Kabul. Miss Rodriguez wrote that those five years of her life were the most interesting part of her life. Her dream had come true, she found a new family, and her book made her famous around the world.
MCC_Wang More than 1 year ago
"Kabul Beauty School" is a good book which enables those who don't live in Afghanistan to understand how Afghan women feel about their lives. I think it is a good book too because it enables Afghan men to know what their women really think. I learned from the book that most Afghan men think their wives and daughters are happier than Western women. "Look at them. They have no stress, no tension like women in the West," they insist. Their wives however told the writer how miserable they really were. Young women also told her how forced to marry men they had never met before and of how badly they wanted to continue their educations. Deborah Rodriquez, an American hairdresser, found a good way to help Afghan women improve their beauty skills so that they could enter the beauty business. Since most Afghan women do not work outside, a beauty salon is a good business for them because it is by and for women only. Women can easily hide some money from their husbands since men can't go in the salon. The women's earning from the salons is usually higher than the average earnings of normal Afghan men enabling the women to be more independent in their family and society. Many women want to become students of the beauty school and they can open their own business after graduate from the beauty school. I think this type of business is a good first step to help Afghan women become independent. Later we may see more Afghan women working in different areas in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, women are on the lowest level of society. They not only face the bombings, kidnappings and beheadings every day, but they must also endure arranged marriages that are usually decided by the amount of dowry their father arranges when they are young, women must endure abusive treatment from their husbands or other family members after they get married. The only place that they can get a little peace and enjoyment is in the beauty salon. This is why the writer had a chance to meet so many different women and hear their miserable stories. I think women's liberation will occur later in the Muslin world because women have so many complaints about their lives. Men will help their women too since they too will be liberated. For example, Roshanna's ex-husband also did not accept his arranged marriage with her. Even though the manner in which he left Roshanna was base, he too was a victim of the arranged marriage system. I think we should make more efforts to liberate because everyone in society will benefit.
AA86 More than 1 year ago
I liked this book, as it was interesting and easy to read. It really kept me engaged and made me want to read it to the end. I would like to say too that what Debbie did for Afghan women was wonderful. She made a big change in their lives, which was that she had hoped to accomplish when she opened the beauty school. Her students gained their independence, their own source of money, and a new skill. I wonder why Debbie did not consider that her actions could put her friends and students in danger. When she gave so many details about their lives. Almansuri, Iraq
dil420gurung More than 1 year ago
DIL GURUNG DATE- 11/23/2010 THE REVIEW OF KABUL BEAUTY SCHOOL "Kabul Beauty School "was written by American author Deborah Rodriquez. The story is not only interesting but also details the extreme determination and challenge of American women in Afghanistan. Deborah's life was surrounded by love, happiness, anger, and challenge. She worked in non - governmental organization and motivated herself to develop friendships with un Afghan society. The story began with the interesting scene of marriage ceremony of Rosanna the afghan woman and thereafter it changed into the strong challenge and determination. Despite her loneliness, Deborah proved her bravery by helping Afghan woman who spoke some English. She broke down the barrier of races and religion by taking Sam, an Afghan man as her husband. In addition, there are many other interesting parts of the story encompassing, revenge, kidnapping, and political situations which capture the attention of the readers. Therefore, despite some of the negative feedback, "Kabul Beauty School" was very entertaining because it is based on reality. Obviously, she was a brave woman who singularly contributed much to another society. Lastly, we can say that Deborah was also an optimist who overcame great risks and circumstances.
MissIndependent More than 1 year ago
When I was reading the, "Kabul Beauty School", I really enjoyed everything about the book. The book was really powerful. I learned about different ways of talking to people when they are feeling down and also how to direct them to the right way. The author of this book had a positive impact on me. When I was reading the book, I realized that we all have the chance to be free from whatever bad situation or find ourselves in such as an abusive relationship. Deborah Rodriguez went to Afghanistan at great personal expense to become the director of a beauty school with the hope of making life better for the women there and she was successful in doing that. I really loved it when she used her own personal time to help women that she didn't know, have a better future.
Nadine13 More than 1 year ago
The Summary of Kabul Beauty School I have really liked this book because Deborah Rodriguez, reviewed a lot about how Afghanistan women are being treated by there culture. So I have lent a lot through this book. I have noticed that women don't work in public places or their husband don't want them to work around men whom there not related to. "In the book she said I have conscience, intelligence and talent but am fated to continue existence in captivity behind the bars of prison of life," all this shows that most women have no say in public, no power to fight against women freedom of speech, freedom of press and also to choose the man they want to be married to. If I can guess there are about 10% of women who are illiterates and 90% who are not educated. These women they need to go to school to prepare them selves for the better life in future rather than being prepared as house wife. In which same will just get married to the man they don't even love but there doing so because of fear of being taking to prison. All the women who are just being hidden in their homes waiting to get married at least they should take them to school even if they got married they will have some knowledge to teach they children for development of their country those women in Afghanistan they need education but because of fear in there minds they are falling to stand up and speak loud so that all the world can heard about it. But we are thankfully to Deborah because shed had reviewed some of the problems happening to some of the women there through the book she wrote. I have lent a lot about women if it wasn't for the book some of us we wouldn't have knew about Afghanistan women.
SarahMsenior More than 1 year ago
This book is a great mix of insight into what daily life is for a woman in Afghanistan, and also an enlightening and moving story of a woman from my own country. Deborah Rodriguez flees to Afghanistan from her abusive husband on a one in a lifetime opportunity. She was given the opportunity to open a beauty school where the Taliban had formerly forbid it. She shares her talent with women who may not have ever gotten the chance. She finds a new life in Afghanistan, and helps women cope with their heartbreaking pasts. This book helps to sort through the stereotypes and suspicions of the Afghan culture. This book gave great understanding of the freedoms we take for granted every day. Also how the lack of these freedoms affect women and men living in Afghanistan. I liked the different angles the author took in writing this book. She wrote from a newcomer in a strange country, to a woman who understands the heartbreak these women feel daily. I was impressed with the selflessness and deep care and love the author showed these women. I was disappointed in the author, Deborah, when she impulsively married an Afghan man. She gave the women in the school so much advice on being strong and independent; it felt sort of hypocritical of her to make this decision. Overall this book is incredible. It has to power to make you laugh and cry at the same time. I would recommend this book to everyone. It is an informative book without being boring and dry. This book has taught me so many lessons. I never thought a book about someone so far away would have such an impact on my life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Deborah Rodriguez did a great job showing the reader snippets of what life is like for women in Afghanistan. I learned a lot about Afghan customs and traditions and how they impact women and men in Afghanistan. I also got a broader understanding of issues facing Afghan women today.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This autobiographical story is about how one woman leaves the U.S. to establish a beauty school in Kabul, Afghanistan. When escaping her abusive husband, Deborah Rodriguez decides to go to Afghanistan to help with the American relief effort there. She discovers that many of the women there needed a way to support their families. Deborah decided to open a beauty school amidst a post-war male dominated society. Although her attempts at helping these women appears to still be a debated discussion today on right winged radio, Deborah's effort to teach these women these skills were undeniable an unselfish and caring gesture which did provide a means for these Afghan women to succeed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author of this book Miranda Rodriguez went to Afghanistan to start a beauty school. During that time she gained the confidence of women who told her heartbreaking stories. Many of these stories if revealed could threaten the safety of these brave women. Ms. Rodriguez against the request of these women published these stories. Ms. Rodriguez promised to send for these women when she got back to the US as well as promised to give them money from the book. Ms. Rodriguez left Afghanistan saving only herself, never helped these women or gave them any money. Now their stories published these women's lives are threatened. One woman had to flee with her family into Pakistan, and others have had their lives threatened. Ms. Rodriguez sold these women for money to seek comfort for herself. Buying this book only supports Ms. Rodriguez's atrocity. For confirmation visit http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10634299
Mavis7484 More than 1 year ago
During a time when Middle Eastern women are misunderstood in America, this book offers first-hand insight into a mysterious existance. Kabul Beauty School tells of an American woman's journy into the Afghan women's world. Well written with parallels of domestic violence in both cultures. An easy read that will widen your understanding of this culture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The true writer of this book did a good job. I just don't believe "Crazy Deb." I find it hard to believe that if she actually did any of the stupid antics written in this book that she wasn''t killed. I also became very tired of all the crying she did. I also don't like smokers. I think she had a nice little "thing" going in Kabul and I think she got caught. And "crazy Deb" is just plain "stupid Deb" for marrying an Afghani man after knowing him for two weeks.
NancyMA More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this story of daily life in Afghanistan. The unexpected care with which women appreciate and use cosmetics under their burkhas was a surprise. The mix of Western culture, concepts and thinking meeting the culture of Afghanistan was also exciting to read.
Desert_Rat More than 1 year ago
I read this book for a summer reading project and, surprisingliy, it wasn't boring like required reading usually is. I thing Deborah Rodriguez did a very dood job.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Deborah Rodriguez is a beautician from Michigan who went over to Afghanistan after September 11th to help in any way she could. She quickly fell in love with the country and wanted to reestablish the Afghan beauticians who went out of existence when the Taliban took over. Along with help from others, she opened a beauty school where she trained Afghan women to become beauticians who could then open up their own beauty salons.

This amazing true story is heartwarming yet incredibly sad at the same time. The reader learns the personal and tragic story of the many Afghan women that Rodriguez befriends. We learn of their arranged marriages to men twice their age, abusive husbands who will divorce them if the women can't bear a son, and monetary struggles and desperate attempts to find that money. It is also wonderful to read about these same women becoming independent and happy due to their education from the beauty school and their friendship with Ms. Rodriguez.

This book is truly inspiring and educational. The reader learns about many customs and misconceptions about Afghanistan and its people through the real life experiences of Rodriguez. Her desire to help the kind Afghan people can inspire anyone to do the same.

KABUL BEAUTY SCHOOL is sure to please all readers who are open to learning about a foreign people, their customs, and an American woman who felt the need to dedicate her life to those less fortunate.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book because it was captivating and had a good ending. It broke my heart to hear some of the women's stories in Kabul but I was amazed at what one person could do to change the lives of so many women.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am so glad finally some one writes what really Afghanistan is like. I was born and raised in Afghanistan. We migrated here in 1982. I haven't been back home since. Reading this book brought a lot of great memories. Bravo to you Deborah. I can not put this book down. You thought me more about my culture then my parents did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After working in Afghanistan for two years, I found this book to be very eye opening. Things aren't always the way they seem. This book is up there with 'Kite Runner' and '1,000 Splendid Suns' on must read books on Afghanistan.