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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
Afghan's Lipstick Warriors is written by author Gary Paul Corcoran. The lipstick warriors are a band of Afghan women who decide to do what their Afghan husbands and brothers won’t when it comes to standing up to the Taliban. On seeing the US withdrawing their troops from Afghanistan, this group of ten courageous women knows what’s in their future, not if, but when the Taliban regain control. Someone has to do something, and these women are prepared to fight to the death rather than once again become slaves to brutal men. The women set up a boot camp in a secluded area and train their female warriors to use AK 47s, RPGs, and technology to meet the Taliban head-on. Saarah, whose dreams of a bright future are crushed when a Taliban leader wants to marry her and subsequently kills her father, becomes a sniper…and a good one. But of course, it will take more than a 10-woman warrior band to defeat hundreds of blood-thirsty Taliban soldiers. The women get some covert help from the US military and undercover CIA agents, and there are heartaches and losses along the way. While these lipstick warriors cannot win the war alone, they certainly win plenty of battles and show men that they are far more than pretty faces bristling with anger behind their burkas.
“You know, this has blockbuster movie written all over it,” says a fictional reporter in Afghan’s Lipstick Warriors. Perhaps it was an unintended suggestion, but Corcoran supplied the most accurate assessment of his novel in that statement. It was impossible to read about Afghan’s Lipstick Warriors without envisioning it on the big screen, thanks to its provocative and timely political plot and captivating characters. Corcoran’s book is fiction, but it’s based on a real and horrific situation. Corcoran says in his author’s foreword that he decided to write this book in spring 2021 as US troops began the withdrawal because: “In the ongoing struggle to build a free, fair, and democratic Afghan society, women will be the ones to suffer most if the Taliban can retake power.” While Afghan’s Lipstick Warriors may not directly affect what will happen in that war-torn country, Corcoran’s poignant novel raises our awareness and gives those who care some hope. After all, as Corcoran states: “A tiger is only tamed for so long as it accepts the whip.”