The Grade: B+
My thoughts: I have an interest in Afghanistan, especially Kabul. Two dear friends from school are Afghan and one still lives in Kabul. I saw this in a bookstore and was drawn to the cover. When I read it was set in Kabul, I was even more interested. Then I read that the author is the woman who wrote Kabul Beauty School, and there was some controversy surrounding that book. If I remember critics accused Rodriguez of not properly disguising the women she wrote about, thus making them vulnerable to attack, and of not sharing any of the money made with the women of the beauty school.
But A Cup of Friendship is a novel, a work of fiction, and was available as an ebook from my local library, so I downloaded it to my iPad and began reading. I devoured it in a few days. The writing is breezy and engaging, the characters are stock characters (the passionate journalist, the well-intentioned by naive American do-gooder, the modern Afghan woman and her conservative son, etc.) but perhaps because of the easily identifiable characteristics, I sympathized and cared for them, even as a cursed the traditionalist son for being so rigid and foolish.
Highlight of the book: Sunny, owner of the coffee shop, travels to Mazar e Sharif and visits the Blue Mosque, also known as the Shrine of Hazrat Ali. It sounds absolutely beautiful, and coupled with the tale of the white doves, it is definitely on my to-see list. May we someday have peace in Afghanistan.