(Debbie herself acknowledges settling a tax demand through a large pay-off.) Unfortunately, these questions must wait: Debbie, a frequent fixture at the Kabul Coffee House, which she owns, has left the country. 4 stars Perhaps the last thing post-Taliban Afghanistan needs is a beauty school.Though tomes have been written analyzing post-conflict Afghanistan, Debbie's narrative brings alive the tapestry of lives, especially of women in post-conflict Kabul, almost without a self-awareness of the documentation.
Certainly, the importance of factual narrative in an autobiography is essential.
However, the book would have been equally fascinating as a work of fiction.
Debbie speaks frankly of language difficulties and cultural barriers.
Her husband has another wife and seven daughters in Saudi Arabia and even though she was angry and unhappy when she found out, she accepted them.
As she began collecting money and supplies for the school, she says, she realized another group of women had the same idea at the same time and she decided to join them. But, this is where Debbie's account begins to deviate from what other women involved in Kabul 's first beauty school have to say.
Most have expressed their displeasure at Debbie not giving them their due.Once in Afghanistan, Debbie's friends decided that she needed 'a husband', discussing a prospective partnership as if "offering me another egg roll".Despite her initial surprise, she did accept the egg roll, a mere 20 days after meeting with Samer Mohammed Abdul Khan or Sher, a henchman of Dostum.No one else seems to exist in this story of courage, struggle and hope - except for Debbie and the women she is helping.Most reviewers, when they have not been gasping in awe at her work in Afghanistan, have chosen to document the claims and counter-claims of the contending sides.Loud, brazen and colorful, Rodriguez (Debbie, to everyone in Kabul), a hairdresser from Michigan, USA, came to post-Taliban Afghanistan as part of a group offering humanitarian aid to the war-torn nation.Running away from a bad marriage, she was looking for something more fulfilling to do in life. She does her eyebrows," said my Afghan friend Safia. If, by chance, an unmarried woman has plucked eyebrows, it is a suggestion that either she or her family is not very strict about 'morality'.Despite having grown up in the US, Safia is aware of the entire regimen of codes that govern the social behavior of Afghan women. So, when Deborah Rodriguez stepped into this intricate world governed by thousands of minutiae, it was a little like a bull in a China shop.At another level, Debbie provides a parallel to the lives of her girls at the beauty parlor.Trapped in an abusive marriage, Debbie tried to cope by "getting religion".