Having enjoyed The Kabul Beauty School, a memoir by Deborah Rodriguez, I was anxious to read her first work of fiction, A Cup of Friendship. The premise sounded great. The novel is centered around the Kabul Coffee House in Afghanistan, right in the heart of a war zone. There is Ahmet, the cafe owner. Halajan, a 60 year old mother figure, who works at the coffee house, and is the mother of the shop owner. Halajan can't read, but she can recall life before and after the Taliban.
Sunny, is an expatriate from Jonesboro, Arkansas, who has made some bad choices in life. Her new life helps her to forget her past. She now runs the coffee house where diners are required to check their weapons at the door. Yazmina, is a server at the coffee house whose parents were murdered by the Taliban. Her husband was also killed in a landmine. She had lived with her uncle, but one day she was taken by warlords in a black SUV as payment for a debt owed by her uncle. When the men found out she is pregnant, she was beaten and left for dead. Sunny takes this young woman under her wings and gives her a place to stay. Others who frequent the coffee house include Candace, a wealthy, American woman with a secret that can be a threat to those around her. Jack, another American with marital problems back home, and Isabel, a British reporter who is writing about the way women are treated in Afghanistan. Together, these very different people form a special bond and try to find meaning in their lives.
Although I enjoyed the first half of this book, I was disappointed by the second half. I guess I was expecting a bit more depth, so I was disappointed by much of the writing which seemed in some ways very much like chick-lit (not that there's anything wrong with that); I just was not expecting to have that reaction when I picked up this novel.
I did love this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt (It is so true)
"Women are like tea bags; you never know how strong they are until you put them in hot water"
RATING - 3.5/5 stars