My Forbidden Face

My Forbidden Face

Growing up Under the Taliban : A Young Woman's Story

Book - 2013
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Latifa was born into an educated middle-class Afghan family in Kabul in 1980. She dreamed of one day of becoming a journalist, she was interested in fashion, movies and friends. Her father was in the import/export business and her mother was a doctor.
Then in September 1996, Taliban soldiers seized power in Kabul. From that moment, Latifa, just 16 years old became a prisoner in her own home. Her school was closed. Her mother was banned from working. The simplest and most basic freedoms - walking down the street, looking out a window - were no longer hers. She was now forced to wear a chadri.
My Forbidden Face provides a poignant and highly personal account of life under the Taliban regime. With painful honesty and clarity Latifa describes the way she watched her world falling apart, in the name of a fanatical interpretation of a faith that she could not comprehend. Her voice captures a lost innocence, but also echoes her determination to live in freedom and hope.
Earlier this year, Latifa and her parents escaped Afghanistan with the help of a French-based Afghan resistance group.
Publisher: London : Virago, 2013, c2002.
Edition: New ed..
ISBN: 9781860499616
Branch Call Number: 305. 4209581 LAT L 2002
Characteristics: x, 180 p. : map ; 20 cm.
Additional Contributors: Hachemi, Chékéba
Appignanesi, Lisa


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DBRL_KrisA Jun 09, 2018

A view of life in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, through the eyes of a young, college-aged woman. "Latifa" (not her real name) grew up in Kabul during the Soviet occupation, the civil war among the mujaheddin, and the hard-line fundamentalist regime of the Taliban.

Although Latifa is an aspiring journalist, the book is not written in a journalistic style; rather, it feels more like a personal memoir of everyday life. The reader sees the special difficulties of being a woman under a regime that has stripped women of practically everything - their careers, their education, even their personal identities. And, thanks to the burqa, as the title suggests, even their faces.

My issues with the book are minor. Latifa, who readily admits to being spoiled by her father and her siblings, can seem a bit annoying at times - complaining about not being able to go to a wedding reception, or not getting to wear certain clothes - when there are others in much, much worse straits. And her focus is almost entirely on how the Taliban regime affected her life, without giving much attention to those around her. But overall, this is an interesting personal history of life in Afghanistan in the late 20th century.

Aug 29, 2016

This is one of my favourite books I have ever read. The book gives a lot of insight into the Taliban's rule in Afghanistan and the restrictions placed on one and the impact this had on her and her family including her mother becoming severely depressed.

Nov 03, 2013

Engaging and surprisingly easy to read. I stayed up all night and devoured this in less than 24 hours. It is told from a somewhat childlike point of view, refreshing and truthful. Sometimes makes you feel like there are parts of the story missing. The story is her own. A good intro to a part of Afghan culture.

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