It has become a reoccurring theme in the movie industry that they would take a piece of literature, sometimes a novel or an autobiography and turn it into a major motion picture. If you were to ask any book worm, the reply is always, ” The book was better,” which is true 98% of the time. But sometimes there are moments when the books was mediocre or terrible but the movie was fantastic, which often enough is never the case. The movie always misses important information, plot lines, or characters so that the movie would become more entertaining to its viewers. What movies fail to realize is that the book is entertaining to its viewers already which is why it is such a big hit in the first place. However, with that being said I am trying my best to read the book before going to go see their cinematic counter parts in the theatre. With The Taliban Shuffle hitting theaters soon as Whiskey, Tango Foxtrot aka WTF staring Tina Fey, I was contacted to review this autobiography before hitting the big screen on March 4th, 2016.
When Kim Barker first arrived in Kabul as a journalist in 2002, she had only recently acquired a passport, spoke only English, and had little idea how to do the ” Taliban Shuffle” between Afghanistan and Pakistan. No matter – her stories about Islamic militants and shaky reconstruction were soon overshadowed by the bigger news in Iraq. But as she delved deeper into Pakistan and Afghanistan, her love for the hapless countries grew, along with her fear for their future stability. In this dark comic and unsparing memoir, Barker uses her wry, incisive voice to expose the absurdities and tragedies of the “forgotten war,” finding humor and humanity amid the rubble and heartbreak.
This novel was an eye opening experience for me for the ” forgotten war” in the Middle East. I have read a few war memoirs from different members of the international media, but this memoir was one that had a look at the day to day life of a wartime journalist. Kim is honest and open about her life hopping between Pakistan and Afghanistan in the early 2000’s. Kim doesn’t shy away from the moments of boredom where journalist had to keep themselves busy in between the moments of chaos. I have read other memoirs where it just seemed to be one disaster after the next, where The Taliban Shuffle actually took the opportunity to show the reality of life for a journalist in those war town areas. As much as enlightening this book was, it was a bit of a struggle to get through. Reading this book was a lot like riding a bike through San Francisco. You bike and struggle up the hills, pushing, breathing heavy, but then you reach the top, you have a break and ride down the hill. Down the hill is a moment of exhilaration, satisfaction, pure bliss, extraordinary moment of adrenaline, but then it’s over and you have to bike up the next hill. Reading The Taliban Shuffle involved a whole lot of biking up hill, with not very many downhill parts. There were moments where the book even dragged on and chapters that didn’t quite have a place in the original storyline but was there just to fill pages.
Kim’s novel had all the makings of a fantastic novel, but it lacked something. There were too many “page fillers” that just took my space in her novel instead of adding to the story. So this may have added to the struggle of getting through this novel. This is not an easy read, my fellow reader. This is not a book you randomly pick up on a Saturday, and breeze through it in a day. This book took me about a week to finish, which is unheard of for me. However, it was good and if you are willing to put in the time to sit down and dive into a War Memoir, then I would give this one a try. Forewarning, going into it you know Kim was a war journalist but she writes like a journalist, and not so much a novelist. Novelists are there to tell a story with flowing adjectives, and laced with pros that look like a meadow coming into bloom; this is not such a novel. There are lots of facts, straight point of views and not as many adjectives, which some people like.
This is one of the better war memoirs I have read recently, and I know in the next 5 years there will be more to come and be published. Is it the best one? Not really but if was pretty good for not being very novel like and more like an extended news story, which wasn’t too bad once you got use to her writing. I know Tina Fey is staring in the movie version of this movie and I have to admit, the trailer looks hilarious! I know Tina will put her own comedic twist on this book, and it kind of makes me want to see it. Could this be a situation where the movie may be better than the book? Who knows, but I know I am adding WTF or Whiskey, Tango, FoxTrot onto my list of movies I need to see this year. I have added the movie trailer below for you to check out if you want to.
How do you feel about the book vs movie debate? Is the book always better? When was there a time when the movie was better than the book? Leave your comments below!
Disclaimer: I was sent The Taliban Shuffle for free from Wunderlike PR for an honest review. This review is of my own work, and I did not copy or refer to any other reviewers/writers/bloggers for this post. All content provided on “A Comfy Chair” is for informational purposes only. I make no representation as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. I will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. I will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
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