Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by Kim Barker

"I was also trying not to date in Kabul, as Afghanistan resembled Alaska if you were a woman - the odds were good but the goods were odd."

So this might strike you as strange Easter holiday reading (who knew- I finished 3 books in 3 days), somehow I was tempted by Tina Fey. Kim Barker's memoir, originally published as The Taliban Shuffle has recently been adapted as an upcoming movie and well you know my thing is to read the book first.

I was probably expecting more comedy, less dismemberment; but I guess a gal can't be too choosy. It is weird that this is the second book I've read of late that sets out the catastrophic impacts of intervening when cultural differences are high. Kim starts out as this completely naive woman thrust into the cultural melting pot of the Middle East and continually finding herself in inexplicable situations. Her voice is entertaining and relatable and unusually self deprecatory. I always thought that was more of a British or Australian trait. Perhaps that is why I especially appreciate it.

Perhaps the main takeaway for me was the relationships forged under pressure. The strange pseudo dates with politicos, the importance of keeping your handler happy, the importance of a knowledgeable driver and the dangers of dating in a war zone.

Ultimately there was something a little frustrating about the book. Perhaps that sums up the world today, where understanding always seems a little out of reach.

4 out of 5 vodkas later.

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