The Little Coffee Shop in Kabul Review
by Deborah Rodriguez
The story of a remarkable coffee shop in the heart of Afghanistan, and the men and women who meet there — thrown together by circumstance, bonded by secrets, and united in an extraordinary friendship.
After hard luck and some bad choices, Sunny has finally found a place to call home — it just happens to be in the middle of a war zone.
The thirty-eight-year-old American’s pride and joy is the Kabul Coffee House, where she brings hospitality to the expatriates, misfits, missionaries, and mercenaries who stroll through its doors. She’s especially grateful that the busy days allow her to forget Tommy, the love of her life, who left her in pursuit of money and adventure.
Working alongside Sunny is the maternal Halajan, who vividly recalls the days before the Taliban and now must hide a modern romance from her ultratraditional son — who, unbeknownst to her, is facing his own religious doubts. Into the café come Isabel, a British journalist on the trail of a risky story; Jack, who left his family back home in Michigan to earn “danger pay” as a consultant; and Candace, a wealthy and well-connected American whose desire to help threatens to cloud her judgment.
When Yazmina, a young Afghan from a remote village, is kidnapped and left on a city street pregnant and alone, Sunny welcomes her into the café and gives her a home — but Yazmina hides a secret that could put all their lives in jeopardy.
As this group of men and women discover that there’s more to one another than meets the eye, they’ll form an unlikely friendship that will change not only their own lives but the lives of an entire country.
Brimming with Deborah Rodriguez’s remarkable gift for depicting the nuances of life in Kabul, and filled with vibrant characters that readers will truly care about, A Cup of Friendship is the best kind of fiction—full of heart yet smart and thought-provoking.
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…