Lipstick in Afghanistan by @RobertaGately (Book Review)

Title: Lipstick in Afghanistan
By: Roberta Gately
Publisher: Pocket
Publication Date: November 9, 2010 
ISBN: 9781439191385
Pages: 288

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.

When I read the back of this book I knew I would love it. This was such a great story that was well written, especially for being a first novel. Roberta Gately has gained a new fan and I look forward to reading more from her. 
Not only could I picture everything that was happening, but I felt connected with the main character, Elsa. The fact that she went to another country to help others and not only helped them, but helped herself as well. Her character is very sweet and in some ways innocent in the beginning, but by the end of the book her character grows so much and is strong, independent and has so much courage. 

Another part of the book I loved was the friendship between both Elsa and Parween. They are two different women from two different worlds who connect and become best friends. That made this book even harder to put down. I read this book from beginning to cover while I was on my plane trip to California last month and I still talk about it to a few friends of mine. If I didn't have a family to take care of I would love to travel to another country to help those in need. I do hope to do that with my children and husband one day once they're a bit older. A great book that deserves to be read by all!

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received Lipstick in Afghanistan at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.  


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