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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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Story

Excellent Listen

For someone whose knowledge of the Taliban in Afghanistan mostly came from the evening news and Newsweek, this is a personal account of extraordinary women quietly living within a system and taking care of themselves and their families through a collective effort and the determination of a strong and courageous woman. The story is not heavy with political or governmental details, rather it is from the perspective of a family and its neighbors looking after one another while living under Taliban rule. Zimmerman's reading was tempered and consistent; she let the story speak for itself.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Interesting & Enjoyable

This book gives great insight into how woman lived in Afghanistan during the Taliban years. They are loving, wonderful, & amazing. I think the reader did a great job and I enjoyed this book a lot.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jami
  • VICTOR, NY, United States
  • 12-02-12

Strong Women, Strong Story

I enjoyed learning about the plight of women in Afghanistan under the Taliban. I never knew much about Afghanis before, and this book provided a human side to their struggle. The look into their culture was very enlightening, and given what the females had to endure and the risks they took, the courage of these women were amazing to me. It made me realize how valuable some of the everday things are that I take for granted - like being able to go out in public alone and in whatever I choose to wear, go wherever I want to, talk to whoever I want to, etc. I cannot imagine being plucked out of a university program just because the government decides that women do not deserve to be educated. I was also appalled to read about the women having to be treated at female-only hospitals; in addition to not having proper medication and equipment, the female doctors could not even consult with their male colleagues. I was also very surprised to hear how progressive and educated this country was before the Taliban - I never realized that before. Not only was the story a good one, but it was also educational for me.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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nice story-writing style and performance lacking

The performance was better suited to a mystery or thriller. It got tiring after the first few chapters. The writing style was more like a long magazine article and really bogged down as the book progressed. Occasionally terms would be used that were glaring exceptions to dialog. e.g. women were warned not to goof-off? so out of place....

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Entrepreneurial Enterprise under Taliban Rule

Kamila had just completed her teaching certification when the Taliban came to power in Kabul, and suddenly she was not allowed to work or even be on the street without a male escort. In this wonderful account, you will learn how this enterprising young woman was able to support her family by learning to sew and then becoming a dressmaker, going on to teach other young women in her neighborhood the skill so they could support their own families. The book is well written and exciting, and the narrator has a pleasant voice and does a fine job. You'll gain real insight into what living under Taliban rule is like for females, whose world crashes down around them and how they can transcend the restrictions through intelligence, perseverance, creativity, and necessity.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Women will always find a way..........

If you could sum up The Dressmaker of Khair Khana in three words, what would they be?

courageous, bold and innovative

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana?

The part where they are on a bus without a male attendant. I was impressed with the way Camil talked her way out of her predicament.

What does Sarah Zimmerman bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

With this book and others, the narrator brings mood, emotion and brings the characters to life.

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

I was impressed with the outcome - I fully expected something to go very wrong. I had a hard time trying to put myself in the situations the women were in. I was angry with the Taliban and hoped they would be taken over.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mr.
  • Panama City, FL, United States
  • 05-06-11

Very nice story

This is a very nice story. The ladies were inspiring and it was a good listen.
The narrator did a very good job also.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Inspiring

I'm a big fan of entrepreneurship. Reading about the courage, drive & thoughtfulness of these sisters who start a dressmaking business while under Taliban rule was amazing. This is a remarkable family & I so enjoyed reading about how their lives transformed in so many ways.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Trish
  • Virginia
  • 08-08-13

Truly Enlightening!

I am very glad I listened to this true story. I learned quite a bit about the Afghan culture that I never really understood before. This is not a depressing story, however. It does not contain unbearable violence as other books with a similar subject have. It is uplifting, and a very rewarding listen.

The story is really quite heroic considering the limitations of citizens, especially women, under the Taliban rule. We can not really understand the enormity of everything Kamila accomplished because we cannot imagine living in such horrible times. She is clearly an amazing woman.

The book is well written, and the narrator is excellent. I highly recommend to anyone who is considering the purchase--

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Denise
  • Deatsville, AL, United States
  • 03-18-13

Loved every minute of it!

Where does The Dressmaker of Khair Khana rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best audio books I've listened to. I couldn't wait to get back in the car!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful