Lipstick in Afghanistan

by Roberta Gately | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1439191387 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingAceofHeartswing of Mississauga, Ontario Canada on 11/19/2010
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Friday, November 19, 2010
Amazon Editorial Review

Roberta Gately’s lyrical and authentic debut novel—inspired by her own experiences as a nurse in third world war zones—is one woman’s moving story of offering help and finding hope in the last place she expected.

Gripped by haunting magazine images of starving refugees, Elsa has dreamed of becoming a nurse since she was a teenager. Of leaving her humble working-class Boston neighborhood to help people whose lives are far more difficult than her own. No one in her family has ever escaped poverty, but Elsa has a secret weapon: a tube of lipstick she found in her older sister’s bureau. Wearing it never fails to raise her spirits and cement her determination. With lipstick on, she can do anything—even travel alone to war-torn Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11.

But violent nights as an ER nurse in South Boston could not prepare Elsa for the devastation she witnesses at the small medical clinic she runs in Bamiyan. As she struggles to prove herself to the Afghan doctors and local villagers, she begins a forbidden romance with her only confidant, a charming Special Forces soldier. Then, a tube of lipstick she finds in the aftermath of a tragic bus bombing leads her to another life-changing friendship. In her neighbor Parween, Elsa finds a kindred spirit, fiery and generous. Together, the two women risk their lives to save friends and family from the worst excesses of the Taliban. But when the war waging around them threatens their own survival, Elsa discovers her only hope is to unveil the warrior within. Roberta Gately’s raw, intimate novel is an unforgettable tribute to the power of friendship and a poignant reminder of the tragic cost of war.

Journal Entry 2 by wingAceofHeartswing at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Sunday, November 21, 2010
Elsa grew up poor in a suburb of Boston. She decides to become an ER nurse with the intention of helping others. When her mother dies she decides to become a foreign aid nurse and ends up being assigned to Afghanistan just after 9/11.

Elsa is assigned to a clinic in Bamiyan where there is no running water or electricity and where the Taliban has just left the village. Not even the ER of Boston with its gunshots, stabbings and illegal drug overdoses can prepare Elsa for the clinic in Afghanistan. She is also not at all prepared for the restrictions that go with being female in a Muslim country.

Parween is a Afghan woman. She has grown up quite liberally, being allowed a degree of freedom while living with her uncle. She has an arranged marriage which turns out to be a love match.

Parween and Elsa meet over a deadly accident when a bus hits a land mine and Parween's best friend is killed. They become very good friends and have adventures trying to save friends or to better Parween's circumstances. These adventures are not well thought out and indeed very dangerous.

Elsa also has a love interest, a Special Forces soldier whom she is not supposed to fraternize with.

I loved this story. Elsa is as naive as they come with respect to the hardships of the Afghanis. Elsa's heart is in the right place but she is thoughtless with her comments and actions. Parween is a rebel but being female has also made her very naive about the situation even though she has lived through terrible times and seen cruelty and tragedy. These women bond over their love of lipstick which makes them feel better.

This a great story about the hardships and turmoil of everyday life among the gentle and generous Afghan people.

Journal Entry 3 by HoserLauren at Toronto, Ontario Canada on Sunday, March 20, 2011
Reading now.

Journal Entry 4 by HoserLauren at Toronto, Ontario Canada on Friday, March 25, 2011
Growing up in a poor neighbourhood of Boston with her single mother and a disabled niece, Elsa leafs through a magazine but stops at a picture of starving refugees from Rwanda. She knows that she wants to help these people out when she is old enough. Fate guides her down the path of becoming a nurse and she eventually applies to an organization that does aid work around the world. When Elsa is called to Afghanistan post-9/11, she doesn't hesitate.

What Elsa finds in Afghanistan are gentle and kind people having their way of life taken away from the Taliban. Elsa starts work in a small clinic and befriends many locals. She becomes enamored with an American soldier and falls in love but must always be aware that the Taliban are closer than she thinks.

This book is an incredibly easy read, in part because it's an interesting story, in part because it's not the best written book in the world. I felt connected to Elsa and the friendships she made. The romance part was a little too soap opera for me and happened a bit too quickly, however the book redeemed itself by the end.

Journal Entry 5 by wingAceofHeartswing at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Tuesday, March 29, 2011
This book is back with me!

Journal Entry 6 by wingAceofHeartswing at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Sunday, January 15, 2012
mailed to MsJo who won this in a YBS swap on BookObsessed

Journal Entry 7 by msjoanna at Columbia, Missouri USA on Saturday, January 21, 2012
Looks interesting -- thanks for sharing.

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