2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
enjoyed it - laughed out loud many times!,
This review is from: Born Under a Million Shadows: A Novel (Paperback)
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This book, despite its subject of wartorn Afghanistan, is upbeat, uplifting and even laugh-out-loud funny. The main character, a young boy named Fawad, has a unique perspective on life. Through his interactions with the Europeans who inhabit the home he lives in, we see our lifestyle through his eyes and it's often surprising and funny.
It starts out, as the description on Amazon says, a bit sad. Fawad and his widowed mother must live with an unwelcoming sister and her family. But soon, things start to look up - his mom is hired as a cook and housekeeper to some journalists and NGO workers in the wealthy section of Kabul. Fawad takes to his new life with gusto, "spying" on the westerners to learn more about them - and becoming friends with them. There is James, the drunken journalist, and May, the lesbian. Fawad can't understand lesbianism at all - how will she ever get married? Then there is Georgie, the NGO worker who is in love with an Afghan warlord. He also keeps in touch with his friends from Chicken Street, Jamilla and Spandi. The book is told on a small-scale - few grand events, lots of everyday life - but it remains interesting nonetheless. A strong love story between Georgie and Haji Khan, as told by Fawad, is one underlying theme; as is the theme of friendship and family.
Andrea Busfield, the author, lived in Afghanistan and has the experiences that make this story seem very real. She is more like the Georgie character, and yet she inhabits the mind of an 11 year old boy so well.
It's an excellent book that tells a lot about Afghan culture and Western culture seen through their eyes. It's a lot more "happy" in tone than many of the other books set in Afghanistan, as the majority of the tale takes place after the American occupation begins - which despite the problems is definitely a better time for business and daily life in Kabul at least. In this "light in the darkness" way, it reminds me a bit of Slumdog Millionaire.