A Cup of Friendship: Book summary and reviews of A Cup of Friendship by Deborah Rodriguez

A Cup of Friendship

A Novel

by Deborah Rodriguez

A Cup of Friendship
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2011
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

From the author of the "big-hearted ... inspiring" (Vogue) New York Times bestseller Kabul Beauty School comes a fiction debut as compelling as real life: the story of a remarkable coffee shop in the heart of Kabul and the women who meet there - each with a story and a secret that will lead them all to an extraordinary friendship.

Sunny is an energetic American living in Kabul, whose pride and joy is the coffee shop she runs for expats - and their stories that filter through her daily life. Yazmina is a young woman from a remote village; when she's kidnapped and left on a city street, pregnant and alone, Sunny gives her a home - but all Yazmina wants is to find a way to rescue her sister from the same fate. Into the coffee shop - and Yazmina's and Sunny's lives - come Candace, a wealthy American looking for a way to help, but who ends up needing help herself; Isabel, a determined journalist whose past secret might keep her from the biggest story of her life; and Halajan, the den mother whose long-hidden love affair breaks all the rules - and threatens to turn her own son against her. As these women gather together and discover there's more to one another than meets the eye, they'll form a bond that will change not only their lives, but the lives of an entire country.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Readers will appreciate in-depth, sensory descriptions of this oft-mentioned and faraway place that most have never seen." - Booklist

"A craftsman and a storyteller, Rodriguez captures place and people wholeheartedly..." - Publishers Weekly

"But this first novel is engrossing ... especially those with an interest in current events in the Middle East..." - Library Journal

"But ultimately her cozy sentimentality undercuts the elements of harsh realism, as if Maeve Binchy had written The Kite Runner." - Kirkus

The information about A Cup of Friendship shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Patricia S. (Yankton, SD)

A special cup of "tea"
The sights, sounds, smells, and tensions of Kabul make the city become another character In A Cup of Friendship by Deborah Rodriguez. Not history but modern day Kabul with all the beauty that remains under the devastation of war. Behind tall walls, built to protect from the danger of the bombs being set off almost daily, five women meet in Sunny’s Kabul Coffee house to discuss and take action on the rights of women in Afganistan under the impending threat of the return of the Taliban. There they find friendship and love. There the men in their lives struggle with the conflict between tradition and love. This is an outstanding first novel and makes the reader want to share in a cup of Sunny’s special “tea.”

MEB (Encampment, WY)

A Cup of Friendship
I enjoy exploring different cultures in my pleasure reading. This novel is filled with the rich and fascinating culture of Afghanistan. I found the imagery vivid and breathtaking. The author did an excellent job of bringing forth the ongoing problem of the oppression of women in Afghanistan. I enjoyed every page and look forward to reading more by Deborah Rodriguez. This would make an excellent choice for a book club.

Tricia L. (Auburn, WA)

I trust Rodriguez's writing.
Because of her excellent non-fiction, I was already predisposed to like this novel. It was so interesting and the fact that it was fiction made me aware of how powerful a story can be, whether true or not.
A great read!

Adelia S. (Livingston, MT)

A Cup of Friendship
Loved the book! It felt like the author had lived what she had written. Her colorful descriptions of the area and the beautiful fabrics for their clothing came to life for me. The cruelty in the name of religion evoked anger and sympathy for what the women have to endure. I would compare this book favorably with Hosseini's "A Thousand Splendid Suns" and Mortenson's "Three Cups of Tea."

Julie R. (Jefferson, ME)

A Cup of Friendship
This book centers around more than wine aka "tea" and friendship. To be sure, Sunny, the main character, has created a place where both Afghans and visitors can relax and share cultures and friendship, and the "tea" house becomes a central part of the setting. However, the author's interwoven plot adds to the reader's insight into the harsh reality of the Afghans' daily living in light of the threat of Taliban aggression. In addition, as Sunny and her friends persevere in protecting the lives of those in danger, the mystery and suspense centered on the lives of the characters sustain the readers' interest to the end. This is a story of the affirmation of love between the clash of religious traditions and the characters' inner values. In my opinion, the title does not reflect the deeper themes of the book.

Ariel F. (Madison, WI)

A Cup of Friendship
I was happy to read the first book of fiction, “A Cup of Friendship”, by Deborah Rodriguez. Rodriguez, is also the author of the non-fiction book “Kabul Beauty School”. Several years ago, I read her nonfiction work. I did feel that despite one being a work of fiction and one being nonfiction, they were similar.

I found this book to be an easy, fast moving read. I enjoyed reading this book about contemporary Afghanistan. For me, this novel was thought provoking. How I value the freedom that I as a woman have. At times, I felt as if I was actually in the coffee shop witnessing some of the events as they were happening. The novel deals with Afghani issues and culture regarding the roles women, friendship, family, country decisions and of course, some romance. While reading the novel, I felt love and sympathy for three of the main characters, Sunny, Yazmina and Halajan.

Having spent some time in Azerbaijan, I am aware of some of the elements of being a Muslim and the role of women in Muslim culture. I gained more information about Muslims in this novel.

I highly recommend this book.

...14 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Deborah Rodriguez Author Biography

Photo © Chad Hunt

Deborah Rodriguez has worked as a hairdresser since 1979, except for a brief time when she was a corrections officer in her hometown of Holland, Michigan. She used to direct the Kabul Beauty School, the first modern beauty academy and training salon in Afghanistan where she lived with her Afghan husband.

According to the New York Times (April 2007), six women also involved in the beauty school in Afghanistan dispute parts of her memoir, particularly concerning the Beauty School's founding, how she won control of the school and why, and her stories about several Afghani women. The author and publisher say that in the future, they will make it clear Rodriguez didn't found the school and that the Afghani women's identities needed to be protected.

Rodriguez left Afghanistan in April 2007 after...

... Full Biography
Link to Deborah Rodriguez's Website

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