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The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe | [Gayle Tzemach Lemmon]

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe

The life Kamila Sidiqi had known changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of the city of Kabul. After receiving a teaching degree during the civil war - a rare achievement for any Afghan woman - Kamila was subsequently banned from school and confined to her home. When her father and brother were forced to flee the city, Kamila became the sole breadwinner for her five siblings. Armed only with grit and determination, she picked up a needle and thread and created a thriving business of her own.
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Publisher's Summary

The life Kamila Sidiqi had known changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of the city of Kabul. After receiving a teaching degree during the civil war - a rare achievement for any Afghan woman - Kamila was subsequently banned from school and confined to her home. When her father and brother were forced to flee the city, Kamila became the sole breadwinner for her five siblings. Armed only with grit and determination, she picked up a needle and thread and created a thriving business of her own.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana tells the incredible true story of this unlikely entrepreneur who mobilized her community under the Taliban. Former ABC Newsreporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon spent years on the ground reporting Kamila's story, and the result is an unusually intimate and unsanitized look at the daily lives of women in Afghanistan. These women are not victims; they are the glue that holds families together; they are the backbone and the heart of their nation.

Afghanistan's future remains uncertain as debates over withdrawal timelines dominate the news. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana moves beyond the headlines to transport you to an Afghanistan you have never seen before. This is a story of war, but it is also a story of sisterhood and resilience in the face of despair. Kamila Sidiqi's journey will inspire you, but it will also change the way you think about one of the most important political and humanitarian issues of our time.

©2011 Gayle Tzemach Lemmon (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers

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  •  
    Joyce Lee Higgins Colo. Spgs 10-31-12
    Joyce Lee Higgins Colo. Spgs 10-31-12

    J. Higgins

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nice to learn more"
    Would you listen to The Dressmaker of Khair Khana again? Why?

    This was a wonderful book that helped me learn about another part of the world that helped me to understand the culture better. What a brave young woman!!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joyce 10-29-12
    Joyce 10-29-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Heroic!"
    What did you love best about The Dressmaker of Khair Khana?

    I loved how the story moved along, kinda kept me on the edge of my seat.


    What did you like best about this story?

    How it showed the strength and cunning of these women.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It was a story I wanted to stretch out longer.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vera Sao Paulo, Brazil 10-29-12
    Vera Sao Paulo, Brazil 10-29-12
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    "Excelent!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I recommend to all my friends. It's a beatiful story everyone must know.


    What does Sarah Zimmerman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The interpretation was great.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    valerie newport news, VA, United States 07-26-12
    valerie newport news, VA, United States 07-26-12 Member Since 2011

    I am an avid reader! Now I guess an avid Listener. I am addicted to Audible, and love how it keeps me focused when I am trying to get my work done. I am also a really fun kids entertainer... some Adults too!

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    "The injustice of the Taliban"

    Very good story about this family and how they adjust to the reign of the Taliban in their once very civilized society. It just makes me sick to learn about the idiotic thought process of the Taliban

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie 09-01-12
    Bonnie 09-01-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Highly recommend - good story and educational"

    Read this book if you want to understand Afghanistan, its history, the people and the Taliban. I had no idea about any of this except that the Taliban are extremist. I had no idea how the Taliban came to be so fundamental until this book. This was explained in the first few chapters and sets the stage for this true story of Kamela Sediqi who became the dressmaker of Khair Khana.

    When the Taliban first came to Kabul, Kamela had just finished at the University and had hoped to get a job teaching. Her hopes were quickly dashed when the Taliban decreed that women were to stay at home, obtain no jobs, not leave the house without being fully covered and having a male chaperone, and other rules which seemed to change daily. They also roamed the streets like common thugs looking for the slightest reason to beat women, even the elderly. Women went from a world of hope to one of despair.

    This is the very powerful biography of a young woman who changed what she could by starting her own secret business in her home and in so doing provided an income and hope for her family and the families of many others.

    The only thing that I would have changed were the voices of the various characters. The reader gave them no individuality. All voices, both men and women, sounded alike. It was sometimes difficult to tell the women apart because of this.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alana Mardi, Australia 03-28-12
    Alana Mardi, Australia 03-28-12
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    "I was hooked from the first 5mins"
    What made the experience of listening to The Dressmaker of Khair Khana the most enjoyable?

    I enjoy hearing about the life these girls had to lead and how they found a way to live withing the endless rules that had been placed on them...it was good to hear triumph over the odds.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Kamila, the way she approaches things and deals with what comes to her is wonderful.


    What does Sarah Zimmerman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I find the readers voice entrancing and she keeps you focused on the story and you want to hear more.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed and cried through the book, the girls had their moments but the descriptions of what happed to some was heartbreaking for me and unlike who told the story I wasn't there so imagine how they felt.


    Any additional comments?

    It is well worth a listen I found the whole thing uplifting so now if I think I am having a tough time I just remember what they lived through and I can see I am not really doing it tough.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lois 08-25-13
    Lois 08-25-13 Member Since 2011
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    "A Remarkable Woman"

    An amazing account of triumph over adversity. Kamila Sidiqi realises that in a household of women - the men having left for their own safety - she had to do something to support her sisters. Living in Khair Khana where the Taliban were in control, and life for women was severely restricted, she learnt to sew, and established a thriving dressmaking business. Her youngest brother was the only male in the establishment, and she relied on him to escort her whenever she ventured outdoors to market her wares, or purchase fresh material.Her enterprise and great courage are amazing, as she eventually supplied work for many of her neighbours, enabling them to earn sufficient to live on There is a lot more to be written about this brave lady - I do hope a sequel is considered.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melinda Princess Anne, MD, USA 12-02-12
    Melinda Princess Anne, MD, USA 12-02-12 Member Since 2002
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    "A Gentle Book About a Harsh Subject"

    This is a good book, with a surprising gentleness for the topic, as the author presents it with the perspective of the real life subjects. As an American, I was initially frustrated not to read descriptions of terror, anger, and strong responses on the part of the subjects, but I am thinking that the tone of this book, more than many others, may truly present the perspective of these deeply religious women who live in a culture with responses to the terror around them that are very different than our own. The family's innermost emotions are not conveyed here; we don't witness that, (the author very carefully avoids any personal analysis; it could have been written by the women themselves, who carefully preserve their privacy as an aspect of their culture) but we do get to see how they respond outwardly, which is with strength, determination, and a constant deep respect for each other with in the world that they live. These women LIVE by their faith in everything that they do in a way that many of us would have difficulty comprehending in our secular societies. I learned more about this very different culture than about the Taliban, which was fine with me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Macomb, MI, United States 05-23-12
    Julie Macomb, MI, United States 05-23-12

    Mommy of Pookies

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    "The Women of Afghanistan are Amazing!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This was a wonderful real life tale. The women portrayed in this were amazing and the author and narrator keep you engaged through out. I felt the fear and the betrayal of a country turned against it's own citizens, but also an appreciation of why events unfolded the way they did. It helped me understand what it felt like to have the taliban take over your neighborhood and the women shut into their homes, only to find a way to keep themselves occupied as well as make a living in such an environment! This really is a must listen to for anyone interested in women in Afghanistan and their survival and strength. I was in awe.


    What other book might you compare The Dressmaker of Khair Khana to and why?

    The Kite Runner


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When the Taliban regime had just taken over and how it affected the women.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I had many "drive way" moments where I couldn't get out of my car because I wanted to listen to the end of a chapter.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alejandra Viaduc 01-20-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Quick read, well written."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    If they were interested in all of the poverty/struggles of women in Afghanistan, I would. This book is based around a very specific topic.
    But, it's well written and concise. The author doesn't waste our time with useless details.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I was proud of Kamila and her sisters.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Kind of. The narration had some emotion, but not enough. And the voices didn't really change. That's tough, since there are SO many characters in this book. I figured out who was speaking by context, usually.


    Do you think The Dressmaker of Khair Khana needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Nope. As I said before, it was concise and to the point. She covered everything she needed to to attach us to the characters, help us feel their struggles, and avoid kicking the dead horse- which is often the problem with stories of struggle.


    Any additional comments?

    No, thanks.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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