Much like her earlier work, Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil, Rodriguez does a great job of getting into the details of expat life in A Cup of Friendship. She also does a good job of really showing the reader what everyday Afghanis live like, in opposition to what most of the world – especially Americans – are shown in the media.
This is one of those books where I had such high hopes and expectations, and they simply weren’t met.
Before you read this book, you need to get past the title. (Or, rather, the subtitle.)
“An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil” implies that this will be yet another book where some Western woman (or man) goes into the Middle East – or another Islamic country – and tries to tell the stories of Muslim woman, or to reveal their plight, implying that the women themselves are unable to do so. And my problem with this title was what kept me from actually reading this book for so long.
This book? I cannot even express to you how beautiful and haunting it is.
For most of the time that I was listening to The Kite Runner, I was absolutely speechless. The writing was beautiful and the characters were complex. And the plot! Oh, the plot … it was heart-wrenching. And soulful. And uplifting. And all of that is probably the understatement of the century.