The Author
Deborah Rodriguez
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Book Clubs Praise

Random House sent out review copies to book clubs around the country – here below there are a few response from these early readers…

“This is a beauty of a book! Just as I cannot think of any person who would not benefit from a salon visit, I cannot imagine a woman not benefiting from reading of Debbie Rodriguez’s beautiful mission. I was on the edge of my salon chair as I read her gut-wrenching story that revealed true beauty outside and within.”
—Kathy L. Patrick, Founder of The Pulpwood Queens Book Club

“I was immediately hooked after the first chapter and was unable to put it down. I was both amazed and intrigued by Debbie Rodriguez’s courage and perseverance in not only opening, running and keeping the school going but also with her marriage to Sam. I know that my book club will enjoy this book and the discussion should be very interesting. It was a wonderful read.”
—Cathleen O’Toole, Neighborhood Book Club, Milford, Ohio

“I thoroughly enjoyed reading this captivating book. I felt a real connection to how everyday life is there and even though there are sad realities, the author described a more uplifting and sometimes humorous lifestyle. I wish I could read another chapter to see how the Beauty School is thriving now. My book club has selected this book to read in April.”
—Cheryl Ramsey from Butler, PA

“I thoroughly enjoyed Deborah Rodriguez’s experiences and the episodic way of presenting them. I’m amazed that Deborah was able to confront men and government without any repercussions. She’s working a miracle with her beauty schools and I wish her and the program much success. I’ll definitely be recommending this one when it is released.”
—Anne Glasgow from Austin TX

“I couldn’t put the book down and I was extremely touched by Deborah Rodriguez’s story. I will be sure to share this book with my book club as well as my family and friends. This book impressed me on so many levels—the story of Deborah Rodriguez, the women she encountered, the bond between women, the culture of Afghanistan, etc. The stories of the Afghan women will continue to haunt me over the next few weeks. Their courage and dedication are so uplifting.”
—Julie Peterson from Mechanicsburg, PA

“I found it hard to put this very readable book down. The author’s personality and determination was evident from the beginning. To learn about the almost unbelievable hardships the Afghan women face each day and the courage the author shows as she tries to help these women have a better life makes for a fantastic book. The only thing it lacks is pictures!”
—Anna Robinson from Oak Ridge, TN

“This book reads like a combination of The Kite Runner and The Number One Ladies Detective Agency. It was honest, haunting, and extremely readable…more like a fiction book than a non-fiction book. I felt a connection with the women of Kabul. They are not so different from us in their hopes and also in their failings. A really great book that should run through book groups quickly and joyfully!!”
—Ronna Lord from Potomak, MD

“This is one of the best books I have read this year. It opened my eyes to women thousands of miles away, who are no different than I am when it comes to enjoying a day of pampering at the beauty salon. I love the determination and passion Deborah Rodriguez has in teaching these women to run their own business and giving them hope for a more prosperous future.”
—Mary Schreiner from Pinson, AL

“I have seen so many stories on TV about how women in the Middle East live repressed lives, but none of them were able to give me insight into their emotions and sense of humor brought out by Deborah Rodriguez in this book. I so admire their courage in trying to better their life with a profession. Deborah Rodriguez’s account was just as spellbinding as any women’s fiction book I’ve read. I couldn’t put it down. I know it will provoke a lively discussion.”
—Dot Lechmanick from Lock Haven, PA

“I have just finished reading Kabul Beauty School and wanted more. I can think of no better ambassador than “Miss Debbie”, who recognized a need and a means to help the women of Afghanistan find economic freedom. Book clubs will enjoy discussion about the cultural differences, history of Afghanistan and it’s social classes—and the plight of women outside the Western world.”
—Barbara Oldroyd from Maryland Heights, MO

“[Kabul Beauty School] is a real eye opener! I never realized how difficult things were for women in Afghanistan. I feel very fortunate to live in the U.S.A. Deborah Rodriguez brought me to another world, and should be commended on her efforts to help the women there.”
—D. Lucier from Westminster, MA

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Deborah Rodriguez tells a fascinating story about the human side of a war-torn nation. Her straight-forward narrative style managed to portray a detailed portrait of everyday life in Kabul without injecting heavy politics or contrived drama. The truth is dramatic enough. Although she seemed to have plenty of personal problems of her own, they did not consume nor get in the way of the larger story. It is well-paced, instructive, funny, tragic and historic. I will definitely recommend this to my book group.”
—Marianne Eraldi from Tucson, AZ

“This is a very interesting book. I am always amazed at the differences and the similarities of our different cultures. Even though we may be oceans apart there are so many things that we all have in common. It was very interesting how Debbie was able to overcome the language barriers, make lifetime friends, and create a work environment. This is definitely a “food for thought” book.”
—Juanita Adamson from West Salem, OH

“I loved this book. I admire the writer for going to Afghanistan and more for giving her heart to the women there. The book explained beautifully the wonder of a beauty salon offering an Afghani woman the one job where whe was in control of both the business and the money that it generated. I think this book would be an excellent choice for a high school seniors’ reading list, not just for the girls, but for the boys as well.Thanks you for this wonderful book and the kind oportunity to review it.”
—Marya Zanders from Centerville, IA

“I could not put this book down. Between the vivid descriptions of life in Afghanistan, Debbie Rodriguez makes you feel as though you were actually living through the adventures with her, and with the poignant stories of the women/students, I found myself staying up late to finish the book. I found it to be a most enlightening piece of non-fiction and I will encourage my members of my book club to read it.”
—Shirley Hakula from East Dennis, MA

“Kabul Beauty School captures the reader’s interest from start to finish. Deborah Rodriquez is a role model for women who desire to make a difference in our world. She is courageous, strong-willed and a true humanitarian. This book will make an excellent book club discussion choice. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to all readers. What a remarkable book!
—Ginny House from Caledonia, NY

“I received Kabul Beauty School on Friday and started reading it Saturday. I could not stop reading. The book was fascinating—so well-written and easy to read. The descriptions are so vivid that, at times, it seems you are right there in the middle of the action. This book was very thought-provoking and I intend to recommend it to many of my friends and will choose it as my book pick for my book club when my turn to choose comes around again. I really feel that this is a must-read book.”
—Monica Jordan from Pflugerville, TX

“What a fantastic read! Deborah is truly an amazing woman, not only for her work in Afghanistan but also for bringing to us, in such vivid detail, the lives of these women she has met along the way “Miss Debbie” is definitely an inspiring woman for her hard work and the way she stands up for the rights of those she cares for. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will recommend it to all of my friends and to the women in my bookclubs! I’ll be waiting for a sequel, I can’t wait to see what happens next!”
—Nicole M. Buell from Indianapolis, IN

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was interesting to see how much women around the world have in common despite their cultural differences, such as the bonds formed in beauty salons. I also thought that it presented insights into the Afghan culture that were previously unknown. I highly recommend this book.”
—Brenda Smith from Parma, RI

“Deborah Rodriguez’s storytelling ability overcame my preference for fiction! Her book is as engaging as any novel. This book is as suspenseful a page turner as any work of fiction. Bravo, Debbie!”
—CC Field from Rumford, RI

“Rodriguez weaves heartbreaking stories of her beauty school students’ courage and determination in the face of physical and emotional abuse, poverty, forced marriages, and cultural and political restrictions with her own personal and sometimes humorous challenges of recovering from two failed marriages, controlling her naturally rebellious nature, and working within a restrictive society to establish a beauty school to help the women who compelled her to make Afghanistan her home. Deborah Rodriguez has written a fascinating book that engages the reader and also offers a challenge to reflect on how complacent Americans have become toward their personal freedom.”
—Joyce Robertson from Albuquerrque, NM

“A fascinating read, and very informative. Fact that reads like fiction. A book I could not put down. I have recommended Kabul Beauty School to my friends.”
—Rita Cameron from Rushville IN

“Thank you for sending me a copy of Kabul Beauty School. I loved the book and couldn’t put it down. I was fascinated by the cultural difference between the US and Afghanistan and enjoyed the first hand account of someone’s experiences living there as a westerner. The descriptions of the women’s life stories as well as the writer’s own story were at times very funny and of course incredibly heartbreaking. A wonderful read!
—Tara Salerno from Millington, NJ

“I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! Two pages in and I was hooked. I could not turn the pages fast enough – Debbie’s writing is so fascinating. The description of every day life and the social and the political ways in Afghanistan opened my eyes. The references to drag queen makeup had me howling with laughter. The physical and mental abuse these women endure saddened me. This is a book that I am recommending to all and will be my next book club selection!”
—Linda Melikian from Encinitas, CA

“Kudos to Deborah Rodriguez for her good work in Afghanistan AND for her charming book! I firmly believe that it is women, with their insight, intuition, and compassion, that will change the world…and that we can begin by learning what women the world over experience in their everyday lives. Ms. Rodriguez’s book was enlightening, entertaining, and inspirational. As a librarian and leader of a senior citizens book club, I look forward to sharing this book with my group. I know they will love it!”
—Gail Henry from Whitmore Lake, MI

“Once I started to read this book, I couldn’t put it down. It was funny, sad, and devastating what these women in Afghanistan went through and are still enduring. I would highly recommend this book.”
—Carol Riley from Lincoln, NH

“From her descriptions of the traditions involved in an Afghan wedding to the obstacles faced in the every day life of an Afghan woman, Debbie Rodriguez weaves a compelling tale that leaves the reader with a better understanding of how complex the lives of these women are. At the start of the novel I wondered how a beauty school could have such an impact on women’s lives. As the stories of the the different women unfolded I realized that becoming a beautician gave these women confidence, dreams and a belief in themselves that American women take for granted. Kabul Beauty School is a great read. I would highly recommend it. Book Clubs should read this book.”
—Mary Jo Whitehead from Whitney Point, NY

“I will definitely recommend this at my next book club meeting. It would inspire a discussion about things that are important to women worldwide…a degree of financial independence, a happy marriage, a safe home for children, a sense of being beautiful….and even a bit of pampering now and then! And the life stories of the different women who participated in the beauty school were fascinating to read. Rodriguez is certainly a soul who is open to new experiences and different viewpoints, which was inspiring to me. It was amazing to read how an average hairdresser from Michigan made such an impact on lives thousands of miles from home.”
—Mary Bergamo from Glastonnbury, CT

“Deborah Rodriguez has written a fascinating account of the lives of average Afghani women, trying to better themselves and their families. But even more, she’s gotten to the souls of these women and we come to care deeply about their welfare and their successes. She’s a woman of chutzpah, resourcefulness, compassion and a take-charge attitude. The book is well-written and one grows to know and appreciate each of the women profiled. Some of their stories tug at the heart, some are amusing, and some are horrible, but each is unique. This is a book that needed to be written and will enlighten Westerners to Afghani life.”
—Bonnie Gluhanich from Estero, FL

“When you pick up this book, be prepared for an interesting and informative read from the very first page. Debbie R’s affection for the Afghan people, which is obviously reciprocated, clearly comes through in her writing. Rodriguez has created a well-written, engaging tale that opens up to readers a world typically hidden from view. She is to be commended for her extraordinary efforts to improve the lives of women living in Afghanistan. More important, she is to be lauded for writing a fascinating and enlightening tale about those adventures.”
—Phyllis Hanlon from Charloton, MA

“Not all of the stories in Kabul Beauty School have happy endings. There are still women who are treated as nothing more than property, arranged marriages to much older men, and fear of a return of the Taliban. But among this, there are pockets of hope for women who once had none. Deborah’s story of how she gave hope to so many women will capture your heart.”
—Candice Michalik from Lynchburg, VA

“I very much enjoyed Kabul Beauty School. It is a fascinating look at contemporary Afghani society through the eyes of an American woman who adopts the country and its people after going there with a humanitarian relief group. In opening a school to train beauticians, Ms. Rodriguez offers opportunity to women who were formerly prisoners in their homes under the Taliban regime. I came to feel deep admiration for Deborah Rodriguez. She is adventurous, impulsive, and above all, courageous—someone you would love to have as a personal friend. I hope that she remains safe in that politically unstable, unsafe country. This is a memoir which I would definitely recommend to anyone.”
—Marta Johnson from Austin, TX

“As I read this riveting account of an American woman starting a beauty school in Afghanistan, I had to keep reminding myself that it was not a novel. The author has shown great courage in her attempt to bring hopes of a better life to some of the women of Kabul. Reading their individual stories really makes one appreciate the freedoms we enjoy in America.”
—Ruth Schroeder from Oshkosh, WI

“I was interested in this book because the lives of women in a society so different from the freedom we have in the USA has great appeal. Deborah Rodriguez has written a very easy to read book. I cared about the characters and was appalled about how their husbands treated them. I will recommend this book and will discuss it at my next book club meeting. It definitely is as interesting as Reading Lolita in Tehran.”
—Jeanine Pappas from Carlsbad, CA

“Deborah Rodriguez must be some gal to accomplish all she has; it just goes to show what one person can do when they have enough dedication and zeal to change the lives of subdued, frightened women into thriving, independent, bread winners in a world when this is rarely done. I think a lot of us wish we could do things like this to make life better for those in need; just shows what can be done from the standpoint of one gutsy individual. So much of American interest lies in Afghanistan and Iraq today and we hear mostly bad news from the war. This book is an uplifting, choatic, stomach churning book which I will definitely recommend to my bookclub. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I applaud Deborah Rodriguez for all the trials and tribulations she had to go through, not to mention fearing for her life (I think I feared more for her life than she did) to give new hope and a ray of sunshine to otherwise hopeless and dismal lives.”
—Laura Hall from Destin, FL

“I loved this book! When I think about the women of Afganistan, I picture women wearing the burqa with their hair covered, as well as their hopes and dreams. This book was a real eye opener. In a country that is ravaged by war, it is astonishing to see that women can be just as funny, just as concerned with beauty as their counterparts in America. The stories of these women of Kabul will make you laugh and cry. Their stories are the heart of this book. I was sad when I finished the book. I wanted to read more. Then, I realized I cando more. I will encourage everyone to read this powerful book and make a contribution to the Afganistan relief fund.”
—Helen Mooney of Tewksbury, MA

“This book made me think about women all over the world— no matter what background, loved to be pampered and made pretty. In spite of getting in trouble, these women were willing to take a risk just for the sake of beauty.
When Kabul Beauty School comes out next month, I’m going to recommend it to my book club. It’s an excellent book for discussion.”
—Kimberly Keiss of Wellington, CO

“What a remarkable book! It is impossible to comprehend the hardships the women in Afghanistan deal with on a daily basis. Debbie Rodriguez has written a wonderful book, one that will be discussed by many book clubs. I know mine will be one of them, as this is a book I can recommend without reservation.”
—Nancy Buenemann from Cincinnati, OH

“ I read this book on the way to Ghana, to teach in a remote village school.
The book was a perfect fit – highlighting for me the wonderful opportunities we have in our country for both education and occupation – both are so scarce in many other countries. Her stories were intriguing, leaving me wanting to know what happened to each of her students.”
—Marian Forman from Philadelphia, PA

“Kabul Beauty School is an amazing story about very strong women. I was in awe of the author’s determination to open and maintain the beauty school as well as the students’ determination to graduate and become successful business women. The author related to these women on many levels from abusive husbands, to separation from family to success against all odds. She gave them power to be themselves. I really enjoyed this book and am anxious to present it to each of my book clubs.”
—Jennifer Christy from Marietta, OH

“WOW! Where to begin. This book is so AMAZING and very emotional to read—a book I could not put down. This is a must read for any woman who thinks they cannot make a difference in someone’s life. Everyone can make an impression on someone’s life. This was the best book I have read this year so far.”
—Stephanie Birchenough of Chelmsford, MA

“Kabul Beauty School captivated me. It amazed me and opened my eyes to the Middle Eastern Culture. Deborah Rodriguez’s experiences truly lifted my spirits. Her style read easily, like a novel. I had to keep reminding myself that this tale was nonfiction. The women whose lives she has captured in this book will not be forgotten. I will also hold Rodriguez up as a model to the things we all can do to help the others around us. I can’t wait to recommend this book again and again and again. Thank you for the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful book!”
—Jeanne Stevens from Cortland, NY

“This book demonstrates how two different cultures can come together to help each other. Deborah Rodriquez book gives you an understanding of the women of Afghan and how she has been able to help. She is an amazing women and her book really make you realize what one person can do. I have, and will recommend others to read it. I have thoroughly enjoyed it and it has made me realize how little of an understanding I have for other cultures.”
—Polly Thompson from Muskegon, MI

“I thoroughly enjoyed reading Kabul Beauty School. I’m fascinated by the post war rebuilding of Afghanistan and tales of life under the Taliban, particularly for women. As an American woman, it’s almost impossible to comprehend this way of life. I will continue to learn more about Afghanistan and hope for continued “progress” for the people of this country.
—Carol Maturo from Hamden, CT

“Kabul Beauty School was a riveting read. The author tells the story in such a mesmerizing fashion that I had to stop several times to remind myself, “This is a true story!” I came to feel like I “knew” all of the characters in this story, and found myself rooting for these women who were trying to better their lives. Deborah Rodrigues has done a great thing, both in opening her school and in sharing her story with her readers. This is one of the better books I have read in a long time.”
—Tracey Branson from Jacksonville FL

“I liked Kabul Beauty School very much. I learned a great deal about Afghani customs and culture in a most delightful delivery. The individual stories of the women were very powerful as were many of the women themselves in spite of the oppressive male dominated culture of Afghanistan. I found the writing style straightforward and yet very compelling. Reading a book from the point of view of a hairdresser was a unique experience for me. It is such a different point of view from most books of this genre that I have read. I found it both eye-opening and refreshing.”
—Suzanne B. Little from Palo Alto, CA

“This was an interesting read about one woman’s struggle to enable an oppressed group of women to become self-sufficient. I particularly enjoyed reading about how important beauty treatments and fashion were so important to women who live without so many of the basic comforts we in the United States take for granted.”
—Linda Smith from Nevis, MN

“From the very first page of Kabul Beauty School, we are gifted with a gripping story about a place and a people that most of us will never see. Rodriguez begins her book with the story of her friend Roshanna’s engagement party, managing to fill the page with as much edge-of-your-seat suspense as a well-written thriller. The reader’s sense of incredulity increases in the knowledge that they are reading a true story. Rodriguez writes with both humor and horror, and both are effective in painting the picture she wishes us to see.”
—Carol Malcolm from Dahlonega, GA

“Kabul Beauty School is a book you won’t be able to put down. At times funny, at times sad, this is a book that will tug at your heartstrings and help you realize how much we have to be grateful for in the U.S. Rodriguez shows us just one way to help these women who have so little and who suffer so much. It is an inspiring story of courage and love between women of two different cultures.
—Carol Pirtle from Sparta, IL

“First off, thank you so much for the chance to read this amazing memoir as an advanced reading copy. I had already read advance reviews and had put it on my “to read” list. Rodriguez’s voice was refreshing, one devoid of pretense and intellectualism. The book was all about doing the best with what you love to do, no matter how menial it may seem to someone else. Thank you so much for sharing!”
—Robin Lupisella of Clinton, TN

“Kabul Beauty School is a book choked full of funny yet heartbreaking stories. It will make you laugh and cry and smile all at the same time. Rodriguez has a tremendous talent for realizing and capturing the full human potential. Hilariously funny and unbelievably sad, Kabul Beauty School is a wonderful enlivening read that will inspire for years to come.”
—Sarah Verghese from Washington DC

“What a fabulous book! It was captivating from the first page. The work that she has done in Afghanistan is truly humanitarian. She gives these women a new career, hope, self-confidence and a look towards a positive future. I can’t think of a negative comment.”
—Sherry Catlett, Reading and Eating Book Club, Santa Rosa, CA

“This was a most wonderful book, a gift of warmth and kindness amid the madness of war and misunderstanding. Deborah Rodriguez’s writing is personal and personable, drawing us in as gently and engagingly as a converstion to an old friend. I must say, I loved meeting her and the wonderful, extraordinary women of Afghanistan whom she counts among her friends. This is an eye-opening lesson as well as a real page-turner. I must smile at the realization that no matter what the circumstances, no matter where on this earth the place, a woman is still a woman, and we love to look our best! Thank you for sending me this book, a treasure to be read many times over. I am certainly recommending it to my book club, and to anyone who loves to read, especially the “armchair travelers” among us. A 10 out of 10, hooray for Deborah Rodriguez!
—Gayle Encomenderos from Coral Springs, FL

“Kabul Beauty School is an excellent read! When I first read the synopsis for this book, I was unsure about how a beauty school could provide much support for the women of Afghanistan. The stories of these women, as told by Rodriguez, are inspirational stories of strength and courage that left me with no doubt that this beauty school has truly empowered many women in desperate need. After reading this book, I feel that my eyes have been opened to a culture in which most people in the United States are unfamiliar. It has also left me feeling compelled to help the women of Afghanistan in any way that I can.”
—Andrea Thompson from Kansas City, MO

“Thanks so much for allowing me to review this book. I loved it! The narrator could have been anyone–she was sincere and honest, very real–and her situation was absurd but not unbelievable. What a clash of cultures! This is the sort of book that can do more to promote international understanding than can a host of symposia. I could not put it down, and I’m sorry it is over.”
—Marianne Taylor from Mount Vernon, IA

“ I love this book and have told all of my reading friends about it. We are going to read it in my book club this summer. Ms. Rodriguez paints wonderful pictures of everyone in her world. She takes the most ordinary situations and makes them interesting. She makes you care about her friends and she builds tension when she faces difficult situations. She is very open about herself and I feel as if I know her just from reading this book. I predict this book will be a best seller.”
—Bobbi Bird from Napa, CA

“I found the Kabul Beauty School to be an interesting book that gives insight into the very complicated lives of Afghan women. You understand Ms. Rodriguez strong affection for these women as they struggle to reconstruct their lives after years of conflict and Taliban rule. I would recommend this book to others and would be interested in reading more about Ms. Rodriquez’s life in Afghanistan.”
—Deborah DeMan from Tomball, TX

“Deborah’s description of her arrival in Kabul paints a very clear picture of the setting for the book. Her love for the Afghan people, especially the women, is very evident thoughout the book.
I found her descriptions of the various women and their life stories particularly compelling. I want to know more about them and what is happening in their lives now. Debbie’s cultural mistakes educate us as well as entertain us. I found this book to be very informative as well as an interesting and intriguing read. I will recommend it to my book club. I hope that Deborah will consider writing a sequel to inform us of the fate of the beauty school, her marriage and all the wonderful Afghan women that we met in this book.”
—Kay Hinds from Greensboro, GA

“With a narrator as vivacious and relatable as Debbie, there’s no way you can go wrong. Moving at a lightening fast speed, Kabul Beauty School is equal parts horrifying and inspiring. A fresh, heroic look at Afghanistan, it offers up touching stories and an excellent read. Definitely recommended!”
—Angie Lindell from Spokane Valley, WA

“Once I picked up this book it was hard to put down. Her story is told with humor and her compassion for the women of Afganistan is evident in every sentence. Debbie’s story illustrates that we can all make a difference no matter what you may have to offer. This is a book that will be discussed long after the last page has been read.”
—Amy Berson from Palo Alto, CA

This book definitely is “a page turner.” I made time to read the book quickly and in between grad school studies. Each of Rodriguez’s experiences in Kabul made me wonder when she was going to give up and return to Michigan. The descriptions of the arranged marriages, the makeup, and the segregated celebrations with women and men in different areas were a fascinating read. I have recommended the book to my book club and I’m definitely passing the book on to my hair stylist who reads more than I do.”
—Tina Arranaga Kubasek from Whittier, CA