The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul – Deborah Rodriguez

This book has been likened to the work of Khaled Hosseini but I have to strongly disagree.  The only similarity is that both books are set in Kabul.

Rodriguez‘s work is shallow and frothy (as much as a book set in Kabul can be), the characters are shallow and 2D.  You don’t get a feel for them at all.  I had no vision of what Sunny was like, I just couldn’t picture her. I found that I wasn’t invested in the characters at all. 

There is a point in the book when something bad happens to one of the main characters and I just thought ‘0h’.  I didn’t really care.  The whole scene lacked depth, well the whole book did really.

If you take this is a standalone book, it isn’t terrible.  It isn’t going to be one of those memorable classics but it’s okay if you want something light and simple BUT, and this is a big but (much like mine really!), for this book to be compared to Khaled Hosseini’s work is an absolute travesty!!

No, no no!!!!

As I said at the beginning of this post, the only thing they have in common is that the books are set in Kabul.

Hosseini’s work has a richness of flavour, a depth that makes you feel as though you are there.  You can almost smell the exotic aromas from the market, see those boys chasing through the streets with their kites, feel the pain of those women.  There are parts of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns that hurt me even now to think about.  I was as invested in those characters as if they were my own family.  I hurt with the main characters when they hurt, felt a sense of trepidation when  knew something bad was going to happen…you get the picture…

Yes, I confess I am a fangirl.  In fact these books may be some of my favourite ever written.  That aside though, Hosseini’s and Rodriguez’s work are streets apart.

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul is great if you are looking for something quick and easy to read but if you are looking for something with a bit more depth, something to really get under the skin of Afghanistan and to really get a feel for the place, the people and the culture, Hosseini wins hands down every time.


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