Read A Cup of Friendship by Deborah Rodriguez Online

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In a little coffee shop in one of the most dangerous places on earth, five very different women come together. SUNNY, the proud proprietor, who needs an ingenious plan - and fast - to keep her café and customers safe.YAZMINA, a young pregnant woman stolen from her remote village and now abandoned on Kabul's violent streets.CANDACE, a wealthy American who has finally left hIn a little coffee shop in one of the most dangerous places on earth, five very different women come together. SUNNY, the proud proprietor, who needs an ingenious plan - and fast - to keep her café and customers safe.YAZMINA, a young pregnant woman stolen from her remote village and now abandoned on Kabul's violent streets.CANDACE, a wealthy American who has finally left her husband for her Afghan lover, the enigmatic Wakil.ISABEL, a determined journalist with a secret that might keep her from the biggest story of her life.And HALAJAN, the sixty-year-old den mother, whose long-hidden love affair breaks all the rules. As these five women discover there's more to one another than meets the eye, they form a unique bond that will for ever change their lives and the lives of many others.The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul is the heart-warming and life-affirming fiction debut from the author of the bestselling memoir The Kabul Beauty School....

Title : A Cup of Friendship
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780345514752
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Cup of Friendship Reviews

  • Libby
    2019-03-28 10:35

    I HATE chick-lit, to me it is not a genre, its an insult. The rampant vapid female consumerism, "frothy" plots, whiny heroines and stereotypes drive me mad. A Cup of Friendship or The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul is not the worst kind of chick-lit. It does attempt to have an interesting storyline, an exotic but gritty setting and female characters who are not obsessed with shoes and brand names. However, it is full of stereotypes, poorly fleshed out characters and implausible ending. The plot constantly threatens to become interesting, a tragedy is always imminent, something of consequence could actually happen...but it never does. Characters never blossom as the book shuffles to its tedious Hallmark card ending. Halajan is the only character of interest with her no bullshit attitude, long hidden forbidden love story and passion for Rumi, but she alone is not enough to save this book from saccharine tedium. This book could have been so much more, a celebration of the power of the feminine to triumph, to bloom and blossom in the harshest of circumstances, instead it was a ho-hum book of very little brain or heart. Another literary cheeseburger instead of a feast.

  • Sadia
    2019-04-08 10:31

    This has to be one of the worst books I've ever had the displeasure of reading. I started reading it knowing it was written by an American woman who had spent many years in Afghanistan, so hoping the story would sound authentic- not westernised. I was wrong. It is a westernised novel- if you can call it that- centred around an American woman looking to have fun in a foreign country. If you're after a quick read- something that doesn't make you think- this is the one for you. Personally, I think that anyone from Asia or the Middle East will be able to see through the propaganda this book is. In short, the author is an American woman looking to cash in on her foreign holiday experience. I actually can't believe I purchased this book, after seeing it be compared to books by Khaled Hosseini. I have to say, if you want to read a book about Afghani culture- this couldn't be further from the realities of it. It's an American woman's interpretation of the country, as well as being poorly researched. I understand why this book made it to the top of best sellers- the people reading it are the ones that do not know much about Afghani- or any Middle Eastern or Asian culture.

  • Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
    2019-04-10 18:38

    Afghanistan has long been a place where wars are waged, power fought over, while its people are left uneducated, illiterate, and impoverished. This is where Deborah Rodriguez has set her book, The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul, her fictional debut. She has previously published a memoir, The Kabul Beauty School. In her words '...in Kabul people get close quickly, bound together by experience, fear and loneliness. Time is compressed, relationships move fast, and the normal patterns of waiting before you talk intimately are foregone. ' And. ...'Life here is horrible. It's wonderful. It's dangerous.'I was expecting something with a little more depth than what I read. Rodriguez does address many of the issues facing the people of Afghanistan - the political instability, the appalling treatment of women, terrorism, the need for practical foreign aid that doesn't involve weapons. But it is all rather like a fairy tale where, in the end, everyone gets their 'happily ever after'. It was a case of the ending being anticlimactic after the main body of the book being reasonably good reading - it could easily have earned another star had it had an ending with more impact. I felt disappointed. I felt let down. I am aware that there is a sequel, Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul, it is sitting on my desk waiting to be read. I hope for greater things from this.

  • aPriL does feral sometimes
    2019-03-28 11:25

    One thing I liked about this novel: an ordinary American woman who has extraordinary gumption wrote it. The author's life as an American hairdresser was changed by 9/11. Deborah Rodriguez is an amazing person. She finagled her way onto a medical mission to Afghanistan although she was a hairdresser and not a doctor. Despite incredible risk to herself, she started the Kabul Beauty School for women. Because of her life in Kabul and her marriage to a Muslim Afghan, she is able to expose, to some degree, the intimate lives of simple ordinary Afghan women in her writing. I have read other books about Afghanistan, written by literary men, but this one is not an intellectual, meta-fictional product. As an author, she writes novels reflecting her experience from being on the inside as a plain Western worker in a foreign country. The details in this book are vivid, realistic and reveal the workaday Afghanistan people. I cannot reconcile my personal reactions to the dreadful horrors of being a female in Afghanistan and the author's 'Pollyanna' view of ordinary Afghan life (despite an on-going war, episodic as it appears to be). The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul is a shallow, chicken-soup-for-the-soul, Harlequin-style novel. The tone is laughable even when the subject matter is not. The author describes, as far as I can tell from reading the news, quite accurately the dangers of attack by Islamic terrorists, the various and not always noble NGO volunteers, and, initially, a startling view of ordinary Afghans. I think Rodriguez was going for a plucky, resilient atmosphere, where loving friendships quickly develop among those Westerners who want to give something worthwhile to humanity and Afghans who choose friendly tolerance over intolerance. As a sampling of the odd emotional tones, on a shopping trip that involves Sunny, the main character, hair and body all covered up and passing armed male guards everywhere, and passing through dangerous checkpoints, I quote, "Some had even bigger guns, bigger knives. She laughed to herself. These chikidor are competing with another, she thought, like the schoolgirls back home with their cellphones, handbags and jewelry." Or, after describing how women in burqas meekly follow their men, eyes down and silent in a market, "The disparity between men's and women's lives here was something she'd never get used to." and "The smells of dung and sweat and spices and diesel exhaust fumes merged into a heady mix that reminded Sunny why she loved Kabul and why she'd chosen to stay." and, "She was one of the few foreigners not afraid to shop there since business had been beaten down by recent suicide bombings. Everyone in Kabul was affected by the blasts, including Sunny. But shopping made her feel that her life had some normalcy." "On Flower Street itself, her breath caught in her throat. Amid the rubble and pale beige stone, and sitting next to an open sewer, there were the roses. In pink and peach, in red and white and yellow, roses everywhere....glorious and life affirming. Hope grew in Sunny..." I'm afraid these descriptions did not win me over to Kabul's charms. When the novel introduces Sunny in the second section of the first chapter, after introducing us to Yazmina first (who is sold to a drug lord intending to rape her in his car and then put her into a brothel), Sunny is worrying about her annual Christmas party that she needs to prepare her restaurant for soon. She has hired Afghan men and women as workers, but despite the conditions of Kabul, they are tolerant of the Westerners, to a point. They like Sunny, and don't mind her boyfriends, although her Western customers bother the Afghans culturally. As the plot evolves, Rodriguez has some of her female Western characters, Sunny's friends, visit Afghan women who are in prison with their babies incarcerated alongside them. These Muslim females were convicted by Afghan judges of the crimes of being widows, or from running away from husbands who beat them or from family members who threw acid in their faces. So, the jailers sell them to men for the night, pocketing the money. Meanwhile, Sunny can't decide which of two men, one a journalist and the other a black-ops guy, she wants to date.Really! Really, Deborah? I guess if you are a Romance reader that enjoys a book about Western women finding true love with war camp followers of the military or learning a life lesson about advancing their own careers and usefulness without a boyfriend's love, depending on the character (view spoiler)[ (except the one Western woman who is strong and principled from the start, no boyfriends, who gets killed off)(hide spoiler)] while experiencing exotic sights and sounds that lightly touch their conscious minds so that sometimes they want to organize a meeting, this will be a five star read for you.

  • Laura
    2019-03-27 16:22

    This book grabbed my interest when I read a review of it in my paper...They offer discounted prices on the book they review, I went the Kindle route instead and it was still cheaper.How can I give my review....I...Hmm..I wanted to love this book but couldn't....It has an okay background but the characters seem a bit "fluffy" and they don't have much behind them though they "pretend" too. If this was just a romantic romp then I could say 'Fine' and be happy with the flat characters but in this book they screamed for more building.Personally, you know when there is a book that has too many characters? I think this is the book for me. Too many people who seem to have important roles besides the main character (Sunny in this case) who just seem to mill about and do 'surface' things without really scratching much.If you wanna go blunt...This book basically focuses on Sunny and her coffee shop...It's like watching someone's life that isn't all that exciting either. She is torn between two guys (okay, it's bloody obvious who she goes with) and then there are her friends who are all submains without much about them. I mean there are smatterings but not enough to make me feel happy...Again they feel fluffy.I sorta feel like this book had different motives...Like the author wanted a way of spouting and did it through characters but just in an unfinished way.

  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    2019-04-14 12:28

    Ask yourself the following questions. If you answer yes to a question, proceed to the next question. If you answer no at any time, drop this book immediately and find a clerk to direct you to nonfiction or action/adventure books.1. Do you need a book for your next business trip/vacation/weekend retreat? 2. Do you prefer fiction over nonfiction?3. Do you like exotic locations for your stories?4. Do you now or have you ever in the past watched daytime soaps?5. Are you a woman?Are you with me so far? Okay, here is the deal breaker:6. Do you like your main characters to be women who break down their own doors when necessary, women-who-don't-put-up-with-bad-stuff, women who don't wait for Prince Charming to come visit their castle but who may actually ride out and knock on castle doors themselves?If you have made it all the way through question six and you are still nodding your head, then A Cup of Friendship is the book for you. It will be out January 25, 2011, so be patient.And thank you to Ballantine for my advance reader copy of this book.

  • Alice
    2019-04-21 12:35

    Having read a number of fiction books about Afghanistan (A Thousand Splendid Suns being my favourite) I was keen to read this book following five women in Kabul. However I came away disappointed and frustrated with the book and the author.The first mistake the author made was taking on the challenge of trying to write five believable, well-rounded characters each with interesting and individual stories in a book of less than 400 pages. The author has seriously over-estimated their skills as a writer in my opinion. I found two of the characters, Candace and Isabelle, astonishingly pointless as they added nothing to the plot. Their own storylines seemed under-developed and crude. Isabelle in particular seemed like a character 'taped-on' to the book and the mention of her rape and visit to the "Only Jew in Kabul" was obviously the author separately trying to give the character some legotimacy. Candace came across as deeply unlikeable and jaw-droppingly naive. It was obvious from the first page of her introduction that Wakil was only using her for money yet the author stretched out this thinner than crepe paper story till the end of the book.I found myself only caring about the Afghan characters of the book, I would flick through the pages until the plot returned to their stories. It felt like the author had no faith in her Afghan characters so introduced the pointless European and American characters to appeal to a Western audience. If she had concentrated on only the afghan characters (including the Hazari coffee house worker who I felt could have been a much more central character wit more of a story line) the book would have been richer, deeper and more interesting.The authors writing style was irritating, as she's an American I can almost forgive her for the inaccurate use of 'bloody hell' by the British character, but found the use of the term 'thick British accent' annoying. What the hell is a thick British accent? Geordie, Cockney, Scouse? Turns out it was Middle-Class Southern accent, the accent all British characters have in American film and TV. Also I lost count of the times the women touched each other's arms. Isabelle touched Candace's arm, Sunny touched Isabelle's arm etc etc. Bizarrely one of the women but the back of their hand on the others shoulder at one point (why?).Overall I found this book in need of at least half a dozen rewrites and a removal of two characters at least to be classed as a good read.

  • Nichola
    2019-03-21 14:45

    This book didn't really work for me. At first I was irritated by the 'let me work in lots of foreign words and explain these different cultural viewpoints to you' tone. Then I couldn't get into the characters, since they didn't seem to bond with each other, and then were shown working together as very close friends quite suddenly. Actually, several plotlines seemed to drag on and then suddenly resolve themselves, often outside the story. Issues with the young woman's sister, and adult son's internal dialogue about what is right, and the safety of a fatherless infant. The thread about frustration with corruption lost its power when she herself used bribes and connections and broke laws herself- working the corrupt system. I did not feel satisfied at the ending, as things had been challenging in Kabul at the open of the story, and seemed to improve as the story went off, and then she decided to leave.One part of the voice I felt was imprtant was that the author expressed the frustrations of the Afghan people being 'helped' and treated like children by other countries and foreign based NGOs.

  • Tara Chevrestt
    2019-04-04 15:33

    This has been a wonderful read. I found myself completey immersed in another world and felt as though I came to know the characters of this story intimately. Sunny is an American from Missouri trying to make a new life in Afghanistan. She's runs a coffee house that welcomes Afghans, Americans, UN workers, and employs a fascinating mixture of people. She loves Afghanistan, but the rise in violence and possible re emergence of the Taliban is making the country unsafe for her and her coffee shop. She is also torn between the love of two men.Yazmina was taken from her home in order to pay off her uncle's debt to some seedy men. She must leave behind her twelve year old sister and is thrown on the streets of Kabul. She begins to work in the coffee shop, all the while worrying over her sister Layla because the men that took her, want to take Layla too. As soon as the snow surrounding her mountain village melts, Layla may be facing a life of prostitution. Yazmina is also pregnant. It doesn't matter that the baby is her dead husband's. By Afghan law, she is no better than a whore and her baby shall be taken from her upon its birth. Her growing belly can be hid for only so long.Halajan is a widow who is in love with a childhood sweetheart, also widowed, but her son, Ahmed is very stuck on tradition and if he finds out about this secret love affair going on behind his back...yikes. Ahmed is fighting a battle deep inside himself. He believes strongly in the teachings of the Koran, but traditions of Afghanistan, and peer pressure from the country's ways have him confused. Where does the Koran's teachings end and the simple fears of men begin?Isabel is a journalist from England. Her penchant for uncovering stories may be her undoing. She aims to rescue the women of Afghanistan that are being thrown in prison for crimes such as denying men sex or looking at the wrong man in the wrong way. Candance is in love with an Afghanistan man. She came all the way from America to raise money for an orphanage that could very well be a front for something sinister. Her love blinds her and it may take her friends to show her the truth. So Candace, Isabel, Sunny, Halajan, and Yazmina all share one goal. Whether it is to save Layla from prostitution, put a stop to poppy growing and distribution, or save the women behind bars of Afghanistan prisons, they are all out to save someone. But will they remember to save themselves?I was sucked into each woman's story and rooted and cheered for each one. Throughout the story, they are trying to raise money to add four feet onto a wall surrounding the coffeehouse in order to comply with UN regulations and obtain more business. I was touched by the significance of this. While they build this wall, their own personal walls come down.The ending was both sad and happy because there is no way that these characters, strong though they may be, can save all the women of Afghanistan and themselves. A beautiful book and I apologize for making too long of a review but I had much to say about it.

  • Louise
    2019-04-10 14:32

    Knowing how much I adored The Kite Runner my lovely husband chose The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul for me as a Christmas present as it is compared with Hosseini's masterpiece on the cover. Unfortunately, he didn't realise that what the caption actually says is "As if Maeve Binchy had written the Kite Runner". So I approached this cautiously, it screams "Chick-Lit" but it is set in contemporary Afghanistan. Interesting mixture!The central character of the novel is Sunny, a native of the American South who has found herself in Afghanistan running the eponymous coffee shop and having to deal with all the issues that throws up, particularly security with a spate of recent bomb attacks. She takes in Yazmina, who is pregnant with her dead husband's child and had been sold to traffickers to pay her uncle's debt but they threw her onto the streets when her condition was discovered. As it is shameful in this society to be an unmarried mother she has to keep her baby secret. The other main characters are; Halajan, a widowed older woman who owns the building and privately rails against the conservative regime and hankers after the liberal years of her youth, pre-Taliban, so she can publicly have a relationship with the man she has always loved; Ahmet, Halajan's conservative son who, in spite of himself, falls in love with Yazmina; Candace, a brash American who has left her husband for a mysterious wealthy Afghan who runs a school for orphans and wants her money for his cause; Isabel, a British journalist; and Jack, an American security expert who, quite obviously, has feelings for Sunny. Not an awful lot happens apart from revealing these characters stories and following Sunny as she tries to drum up more custom for her cafe in order to have the money to build a better security wall and struggles with her feelings for her on-off boyfriend Tommy compared to the sensible, older Jack. There is some insight into life for women in Afghanistan and the struggle between liberal and conservative Islam, but as you might expect for what is essentially chick-lit, it is dealt with rather superficially.It is a very easy read and the author, Deborah Rodriguez, has lived and run a cafe in Kabul herself so you can have some confidence that she probably knows what she is writing about. However, you do feel constantly that it is written from a Western perspective and that all the characters, Western and Afghan, men and women, are incredibly stereotypical.In short, it won't challenge you but if you like your chick-lit with a social conscious then this isn't a bad effort!2.5 stars

  • BOOKBOX by Kat
    2019-04-17 16:26

    My thoughts: The story is located in the heart of Kabul, during war time and narrates the story of five different women. They have almost nothing in common, nothing but the fact that they all hang out at the same coffee shop in Kabul. Some of the events that take place during the novel will bring them all together and as the story unfolds we witness secrets being revealed, fear and anger take over, issues of heart being solved or not, all in the heart of war. What I enjoyed the most about this book was how the author introduced us to a new (to me) culture. She explains along the book the customs of Afghanistan, traditions and their unwritten rules, in order to explain why our characters act the way they do. It was so interesting learning about so many different traditions that they have, so different than mine. It also made me angry, to read how unfair and cruel the men acted towards women. It is a well-known factor, but being unfamiliar with the subject, it made me uncomfortable and sad at times, yet intruiged to learn more.On the other hand, what I didn't like much about it was that the characters were too many and for that, I guess, the author didn't pay the ammount of attention needed for me to bond with any of them. There wasn't any depth in their stories, though I thought there would be. Such a superficial approach to the character made it so dissapointing. Overall, it was a fun read, I learned a thing or two about Afghanistan but it wasn't the intriguing story that I was so anxious about reading in the first place and for that, I was dissatisfied. Hope there was more about the fictional people that would spice up the book and make it memorable. If you want to pass some free time of yours though, i reccomend it. It just didn't cut it to be awesome, as I thought it would be...more available on: bookboxbykat.wordpress.com

  • Louise
    2019-04-05 11:34

    This is a warm romantic novel set in a harsh county. Like the main character, the author had a successful enterprise in Kabul and knew what a job it was to get a generator and keep it running.The main character’s name is “Sunny” and despite the recurring and wide spread abuse of women depicted in many parts of this novel, it has a sunny feel. It not a page turner, but it is a fast read. The content makes it something like chick lit with in “exotic” locale. The story is simple, and sweet. By the middle, you will know how it will end.The characters have a stock quality. The dialog is not personalized in any way, so that Bashir Hadi and Candace, while they say different things, have the same speech patterns and vocabulary usage. Some characterizations are sacrificed for the plot, for instance, Halajan who grew up in the freer Afghanistan could not read while Yazamina, who was of school age under the Taliban could. Regardless, you like these characters and care what happens to them.One interesting element is the story of Halajan and Rashif, both who lived as adults before the fundamentalists took over the country. In summary, this is simple, sweet and enjoyable, light reading about a heavy situation. It has the authority of being written by someone who lived and ran a successful business in Kabul for 5 years.

  • Phrynne
    2019-04-02 15:39

    I gave this book two stars rather than one because I did at least finish it. On the cover it is described as Maeve Binchy meets the Kite Runner. I do not think this is a compliment. The story itself is lightweight romantic fiction with happy endings for most of the main characters and one death as an acknowledgement of the setting which is war torn Afghanistan. The author has lived there herself and her poliitical views are voiced through some of the characters in a very unrealistic way. Overall I did not think the setting was appropriate for the idealised story line.

  • theravengirl (salmaagroudy)
    2019-04-14 16:30

    “You will find that thing that makes you unafraid to die. That important thing that makes your life of value.”Damn, it feels really good to finish a book (blame uni). Do you ever read a book and feel neutral about it even though you really enjoyed it? For starter, it was nice to read about something different for change; different traditions, country, etc, but i think my lack of knowledge about Afghanistan prevented me from enjoying the book more than i did. There are things, though, that i loved about this story. One of them was how diversity was so prominent in the book. Another is how it showed blossoming relationships between people who are so different from one another: different backgrounds, nationalities, religions even. Lastly, what i loved the most was the history buried between the pages of The Little Coffeeshop of Kabul. So many things that i never knew about, so much history. And honestly, i do believe that the world needs more Middle Eastern based books like these to show and teach people-regardless of how little-about Middle Eastern cultures and history.

  • Spirited Stardust
    2019-04-19 12:27

    Even though it was set in the middle east and tried to incorporate the very real dangers women (and men) face the book felt like a 'soap opera' to me. The dialogue was outright corny at times and it did feel very 'westernised'and watered down so as not to be too graphic or controversial.My favourite character was probably Halajan, although I did also like Yasmina. But I really didn't believe the 'metamorphosis' of some of the characters, particalarly one who had been set in the traditional ways for so long...The character I couldn't stand was the blonde who was dating 'the prince/terrorist' (I've forgotten her name). She was just too sterotypical-privileged-bimbo and felt like an igloo in the middle of the Sahara. I also felt the death of one of the characters was made to feel almost inconsequential...The ending was also unrealistic and too 'happy happy' with everything being wrapped up neatly.I thought it would be a more realistic account of what life is like for women in the middle east but it was all too 'lifetime movie of the week' for me...

  • Zoe (Attic Salt Reviews)
    2019-04-06 12:36

    “People, even those closest to you, are surprising...Nobody is everything they seem.”The tale of five awesome women who go out and kick life right in the ass, The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul was everything I had hoped it would be and more! Heartbreaking, beautiful, challenging and inspiring, this story questions good and bad, tradition and progress, right and wrong.Whimsical and energetic, this book practically pulses with a rich and vibrant life, and draws you into the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan. The writing is amazing, flowing through the connected yet vastly different lives of the five main ladies with ease. I felt fully immersed in the story, hanging on to the end.Sunny is the spunky and relaxed owner of the most popular coffee house in all of Kabul. She is content with what she has and is not searching or aiming for anything more from her life. She loves fully, with all her heart, and is such a kind, understanding person that I couldn’t help but love her and root for her in everything. The boss and the rebel, Halajan is just about the coolest old lady around! I love that she can see the world so clearly, as only one who has lived in it for a long time can. Her willingness to protect her loved ones goes beyond reason and she is a truly beautiful, and badass, woman.Isabel is the kind of person I would feel honoured to have crossed paths with. I adore her for her commitment to her work and her aims of making a difference in the world, despite her less than fortunate circumstances. She is intelligent and creative, and I absolutely love her work.As for Candace, she isn’t exactly my piece of cake. Brash and arrogant, she’s unable to see the way her words and actions affect those around her. In such a place as Afghanistan it isn’t difficult to insult someone, but she doesn’t seem to care about that. And yet, I found myself liking her by the end; she is a force to be reckoned with, powerful, influential, and able to inspire a longing for change in anyone.And, at last, there is Yazmina. My absolute favourite of the five, Yazmina is the sweetest person around. She never asks for more than what can be spared and never truly believes herself worthy of protection or care. She has the purest, most sincere soul and honestly deserves the world. Yazmina is a gentle, loving and intelligent young woman stuck in a terrible situation who just gets on with things, never letting anything stop her and never thinking of her own needs before anyone else’s. She doesn’t let a bad situation ruin her. Yazmina truly deserves the world.I would highly recommend this book to any and all readers, it is absolutely amazing, and I couldn’t be happier to have read this novel (big shout out to the amazing friends who chose it for me). With a setting that will make you long to travel and characters worth admiring, The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul is a fantastic read!You can see my full review, as usual here

  • Nancy
    2019-03-26 17:23

    I will confess that this surprised me a bit. Based on the blurb, I thought I would be reading a rather cheery book...until I read the opening scene, which begins with a young Afghani girl being torn from her family as a human payment for a debt to a drug lord. As Yazmina shivered in the back of the black Land Rover, facing her hideous destiny as prostitute (unless she dies the minute they find out that she is pregnant), I seriously considered dumping the book - I really can't deal with sexual abuse of children. I am glad I persevered, though. Little Coffee House of Kabul is not as light as I anticipated, but it isn't brutal or dark either.In fact it is a gentle, tender novel about love and the ways that love surprises us. Reviews that I read indicated that American ex-pat Sunny, the proprietress of the titular cafe, was the central focus of the novel, but I actually found her story less interesting than the story arcs of the Afghani characters: Halajan, the feisty widow who owns the building, Rashid, her childhood sweetheart who writes Halajan incomprehensible love letters, Ahmet, Halajan's rigid fundamentalist son, and Yazmina, who must find a way for her and her baby to live in an Afghanistan that routinely destroys young and beautiful women. The bonds between these characters seemed strong and genuine, and I was all the more willing to buy into them because I knew that Deborah Rodriguez had actually lived in post-Taliban Kabul and worked with Afghan men and women very like these. When the book ended, I still wanted to know more about the characters - always a good sign! Perhaps Rodriguez downplays the harshness of life in modern Kabul, but I'm not complaining. I'm on the side of hope...and on the side of love, too.Thanks to LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program for my copy of this book.

  • Louise at The Reading Experiment
    2019-03-28 14:44

    Chick lit meets the Taliban in The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul (also published under the title A Cup of Friendship).This unlikely pairing creates a warm-hearted read with a serious message about the treatment of women in modern day Afghanistan.It tells the story of five women – two Americans, one British and two Afghans – and the friendship they forge in a little coffee shop in the centre of Kabul.It’s evident that American author Deborah Rodriguez loves Kabul, the city she called home for five years during the 2000s, and that she has a lot of respect and compassion for its people.I like what she has done with The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul.She gives us an insight into the lure of a country like Afghanistan for foreigners, the harsh realities of life for Afghan women and the struggles of the older generation who can remember life before the Taliban.She also gave me a greater appreciation for the people of Afghanistan and their country, culture and traditions.She does so using a writing style that is very easy to read.I didn’t love this book, but I liked it a lot.It’s not as haunting as Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns, but there are similarities between the two. Both authors draw attention to violence against women in Afghanistan, albeit using different genres.If you’re looking for a an easy and warm-hearted read that gives an insight into the struggles of women living in a country with a culture that is far different to ours, then The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul is worth a read.You can read more of my book recommendations at www.thereadingexperiment.com

  • Maz
    2019-03-27 12:20

    I probably wouldn't have bought this myself as the cover has chick lit written all over it, but I was given the book as a present and I love reading about Afghanistan so I thought I'd give it a try. I must admit that at first the writing style grated on me almost enough to call it quits at a couple of stages but I persevered and I'm really glad I did. Although the story may be a little idealistic and facile at times, there is a sincere undercurrent of friendship, love and overcoming adversity through the strength of human bonds and compassion, and it is written by a woman who has spent a long time living in Kabul and knows what she's talking about. Of course it's fictionalised and you could say it's contrived but I think you have to allow a little bit of leeway to the author for making a compelling story. A couple of the characters are particularly annoying (you'll know who I mean if you read it!) but they are offset by the more likeable ones. If I could give 3 and a half stars I probably would - it made me cry more than once for god's sake!!

  • Paromjit
    2019-04-10 14:43

    This book turned out to be a much lighter affair than I was expecting. It is more like a romantic chick lit story albeit set in the troubled city of Kabul. Sunny, a heartbroken American, runs the eponymous coffee shop which is visited by a range of characters from an American consultant, British journalist etc.. There are Afghan characters like Halajan who helps to run the cafe and a pregnant Yazmina, who makes the cafe her home.The most interesting characters are the Afghans but their character development feels thin at best. I started enjoying the book more once I began to see it as an entertaining read. However, I can't help feeling it could have been so much more with focus, and details of the Afghan side of things and more depth to the characters. Overall, an enjoyable and light read. Thanks to Little, Brown, the publishers for a copy of the book.

  • Avril Dalton
    2019-03-29 18:26

    Just didn't like it. Probably expected too much. Khaled hosseini set the benchmark and this comes nowhere near.

  • Lisa Kirwan
    2019-03-28 10:44

    This is the first review that I've written on here. Having just read 'The Kite Runner', I was eager to learn more about the gorgeous culture that I'd had a glimpse of in Khaled Hosseini's beautiful novel. I am a sucker for a bit of 'chick lit' as I find it so easy to read and escape to. I just didn't get this book and what it was trying to do. Its message seemed to be one of importance but the bias was too much for me, it didn't feel authentic, not to mention I found the characters thoroughly hard to believe. It wasn't 'chick lit' but it wasn't a serious book that leaves a mark on you like 'The Kite Runner' did for me. It was a nice story and I found myself smiling at the end, but I wouldn't recommend it. To be completely honest, I was considering not reading until the end as I wasn't at all gripped and didn't really care what happened to any of the characters. I found that problems were solved in a paragraph or two, which meant that I had no emotional investment in story. I didn't feel like Sunny really grew as a character, nor did anybody else. I enjoyed the story of Ahmet although I couldn't really believe in the way that he changed. So that's the reason for the 2 stars. To be honest, I feel really mean saying it, but I was quite bored reading this.

  • Alex Nye
    2019-04-11 10:34

    I am currently reading The little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriquez and thoroughly enjoying it. The author has managed to take one of the most dangerous places on the planet - Afghanistan - and present it in a positive light despite the horrors regularly unfolding.What I like about this book so far is its unequivocal and honest spotlight onto the issues of women's rights, but in such a down-to-earth manner that all she does is tell the facts, portray it as it is. I haven't read far into it yet, but I'm not reading it out of any earnest high-minded impulse, but because it's a sheer pleasure to read.It does something very rare - it remains positive in the light of such horror - and it portrays Afghan society with affection and warmth.Feminism has become a bit of a dirty word nowadays - 'what are women complaining about, surely we sorted that one out back in the Seventies or Eighties?'But human rights are not something that you tick the box for, and then move on. It requires an ongoing effort. It will always be current, because human-beings will always be unfair to one another. So - definitely a book to recommend!

  • Cheyenne Blue
    2019-04-02 17:36

    This was lent to me by HRH Princess Chloemuffin's* mum, Jane. Jane loved it, but from the start I found it meh. 5 women meet and become friends in a coffee shop in Kabul. 5 disparate women, 5 disparate lives. Did I say Meh? I wanted to like this, but, although I finished it, I was very ho-hum about the whole thing. It was too pat, too cliched, too cosy. Too glossed over. Not every book about Afghanistan has to be full of angst and drama like "A Thousand Splendid Suns", but this was the other extreme for me. There was no depth to it. I couldn't give a rat's arse about any of the characters, possibly because they were so superficial and their stories only given the barest of backstory. What was Sunny (an American) doing running a coffee shop? We're told it's because of her loser boyfriend who's off being a mercenary, but I got no sense of their relationship. I got no sense of anything really. I don't know why Jack and Sunny fell in love, I have no clue why Ahmet and Jazmina got together, and Isabel's backstory was cliche all the way.I wanted to like it, and I sort of did, but only on the barest, most superficial skim-before-bedtime level. *HRH Princess Chloemuffin is a cat.

  • Amina Miah
    2019-04-15 12:47

    I'm only writing this review to clear one thing up, though there are so many stereotypical inaccuracies in this book its ridiculous. Muhammad (upon him be peace) is not to Islam or Muslims what Jesus (upon him be peace) is to Christianity or Christians. Muhammad (upon him be peace) is not a deity nor is he treated as such by Muslims. He is the last and final messenger of God. Just as Islam treats Jesus as a prophet and Abraham and Noah and Adam.Going back to the book itself, it had good intentions but they just didn't emerge. The ideas were absolutely imperialistic, at some points I wanted to cry with rage and misery. Why can't we accept the norms and societal cultures of others? Why do we have this viewpoint of 'our way or no way'? It's infuriating to find complex issues treated with the simplistic framework of tradition verses modernity. I just didn't believe the writing of this author, she lost me when she didn't take the time to understand the Afghans she was trying to portray. Very disappointing read. I'd recommend the works of Khaled Hosseini if you want to visit Afghanistan and her people in your literary travels.

  • Melissa
    2019-04-19 14:41

    This book has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time, and I'm glad I've finally read it.The story is set in Kabul and revolves around a coffee shop run by Sunny, an American, and centres on the lives of five women and the men in their lives.It was fascinating looking at their relationships against the backdrop of Kabul shortly after 911, and the differences between cultures.I would have liked to know a bit more about a couple of the women, especially Candace and Isabel, but that didn't stop me enjoying the story.This is my "A book from a culture you're unfamiliar with" for the Popsugar reading challenge.

  • Kathryn
    2019-04-02 17:30

    There were some interesting and deep concepts in this book (treatment of women in Afghanistan, terrorism, the tension between old faith and modern times, to name a few), but it isn’t written in a way that is deep and profound. The overall tone of the book is light and it feels like there is no earth-shattering events happening - although there is, at times literally earth-shattering! It was a pleasant read, although I’m not sure whether I’d continue on with the sequel.

  • Maryaninya
    2019-04-18 17:20

    Before I read this, I checked some readers' reviews. I can say that majority of them weren't happy with it, but here I am giving it a 4 stars. The story was about 5 different women and their own personal struggle: Sunny, the one who owns the coffeehouse, Yazmina, an unfortunate young woman who served as a payment for her uncle's debts, I think she represent some Afghan woman who were not privileged to for somethings because they are still trap in their old tradition (everything about her moved me). Isabel, a British journalist in Afghanistan, determined to know everything about the ugly truth about Kabul. Candace, wealthy woman who left her husband for an Afghan guy. And Halajan, an Afghan 60 yr old woman, who has desire to love again, but was forced to keep it a secret because of the tradition.The author even used some real people, like Malalai Joya and Zablon Simintov. You see, every time there are new words or events, or Afghan tradition was mentioned, I google it and I always find it to be a fact. I dont have any clue about Afganistan, but this book generally is about its ugly side. Not gonna be a spoiler, and as much as I am a happy ending lover, still, its not realistic. Perhaps, it is the author's fantasy to give the country the peace it needs. Who woudnt anyway?

  • Louise
    2019-04-06 13:45

    wasn't expecting much after reading the reviews for this book. I am pretty clueless when it comes to Afghan culture so couldn't really say how true to life it is, although some of the narrative did come across as patronising. However the stories regarding developing your identity and forming friendships were nice and relevant in all contexts.

  • Jessica
    2019-04-06 11:24

    This novel tells the story of several different people who are linked through an American woman's coffee shop in Kabul. Sunny, the owner of the coffee shop, has traveled to Kabul with her boyfriend, trying to escape from Nowheresville, Arkansas (straight from the book). There is Halajan, the owner of the building, a modernist Afghan woman and her traditional son, Ahmet. There is Yazmina, the young and pregnant widow taken from her home and rescued by Sunny. Isabel and Candace, also Westerners, are Sunny's friends and partners, and Jack is an American man, whom Sunny cannot stop thinking about.Despite this intriguing cast of characters, there is not a whole lot of depth to this book. I read the whole thing because the culture of Afghanistan is interesting to me, but I could not follow how Isabel, Candace, and Sunny went from simple acquaintances to close friends. At one point in the book, Rodriquez mentions that friendships are formed fast in Kabul among foreigners because of a we're-in-it-together feeling, but they become the best of friends within less than five pages. Jack's and Sunny's relationship went the same way. On one page they are friends, the next they are lovers, and the author does nothing to enlighten the readers about their connection. Shallow and one-dimensional is the best way to describe every character in the book. We never really learn any of the characters' back stories. For example, there's two American women, an American man, and a British woman all together in Kabul, and we never really learn why. To me, at least, Afghanistan seems like the last place I would ever decide to travel and start a life. I would have liked to know what went into their decisions and how their lives led to this place.I guess this is worthy of 2.5/5 stars. As in, I wouldn't pay for this book, but if you are between reads, and it's laying around, it's something you could find some distraction in skimming.This book was given to me through Goodreads First Reads. Thanks :)