FEAR OF BEAUTY by Susan Froestschel takes place in the remote mountainous land of Afghanistan, far from the usual setting for a novel.
Afghanistan is always in the news these days. And not in a good way. The news is everything from a critical analysis of the way the government is being run to the truly harrowing information about the troops that we have trained and befriended turning on our men in uniform.
I know there are those readers who have tired of reading about this part of the world. What once was a topic almost unheard of on our turf, has become commonplace to many. Take note: this story will give you a unique perspective.
The story is told in two voices. One is Sofi, the mother of a young Afghan boy who is found dead at the beginning of the book. The other is the voice of US Army Special Ranger Joey Pearson. Mita Samuelson is also spotlighted as she helps Sofi learn to read.
I found especially notable the Americans teaching these Afghans about crops. They are introducing seeds that have been genetically engineered to grow in the desolate, mountainous terrain of Helmand Province, Afghanistan. A recent wildly popular book in America is called THE WHEAT BELLY DIET. It deals with genetically engineered wheat and how it’s now wrecking havoc on our bodies. And here our country is teaching these innocent people something that is potentially harmful.
This area of the country has long been isolated, purposely. The inhabitants have never left their tiny villages. And the women have been kept captive by their own hand and that of their husbands and family. They are illiterate not because they are stupid, just because they have never had the opportunity to learn.
This story shows how women from all walks of life come together to help each other. It is written with patience and simplicity. And gives a real picture of another part of Afghanistan.
Most of us are still curious and definitely worried about the future of this amazing country. The corruption, the backwardness, and the beautiful people make for an informative read about a group of people we all have come to care about.
My review copy came from Seventh Street Books, a division of Prometheus Books.