I picked The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul up in my local bookshop after reading the back of this book as I thought it would be an interesting read. I definitely was right! I don’t usually read books based in war zones but this book is different and Deborah Rodriguez captures what is happening in the world of women in Kabul and the struggles with tradition meeting the modern world.
We are introduced to 5 women whose paths all cross at a coffee shop in Kabul. Sunny is the American owner who makes the coffee shop a place for people to meet and drink good coffee. She also has a complicated love life. Yasmina follows the strict tradition women follow in Kabul and her story illustrates how violent and harsh life can be for women there. Isabel is a British journalist and tries to help women and highlight the harshness of their lives. Candace is an American kept woman who eventually discovers that she can make a difference too and aims to help women who are victims of society. Finally Halajan is an intriguing character who has grown up with traditional but wants to embrace the modern world and love a man of her choosing. We can’t help but like all of the characters and some are easier to get to know than others but each of their lives makes this story captivating. Friendship is at the core of this story and it is heart-warming to read about even with everything happening outside the little coffee shop.
Men also feature in this tale and are connected to each character. Jack loves Sunny and helps her a lot in keeping the coffee shop a success. So we want them to have a happy ending together. Halajan risks her life and reputation for the love of a man. Halajan’s son is torn between tradition, modern thinking, family and love and we are secretly encouraging him along to do the right thing. Finally Candace is used for her rich connections and we feel sorry for her. But like all the women in this story, she is strong and with the help of her friends she starts to grow in confidence in herself and be more independent.
I don’t want to spoil the story so I actually can’t say much about what happens in the story but with twist and turns and understanding of culture, tradition and society in Kabul it is an amazing read. Five strong women with different backgrounds, choices and views all come together to create a lovely story and we so want that happy ending for all of them.
I would say this book is a must read and is really inspiring. It is essentially a tale of strong women in a difficult, ever-changing and dangerous place who become amazing friends and support each other through good and difficult times.
Have you read this book? I would love to hear what you thought too.