Tuesday, January 6, 2015

"Lessons of Love in Afghanistan," by Suzanne Griffin

My friend and former colleague, Suzanne Griffin, has written a wonderful, inspiring book about her work in Afghanistan. “Lessons of Love in Afghanistan: A Lifelong Commitment to the Afghan People” (Bennett and Hastings Publishing, 2014) describes her decades of connection to Afghanistan. Originally this came about through her husband Michael’s work in the Peace Corps; when they got married, she joined him when he went back there. She grew to love the people, the culture, and the language. When she and Michael went back to the United States, Suzanne became an educator. The couple always wanted and intended to go back to Afghanistan and help in any ways they could. Years later, when her husband died too young, Suzanne, by then a college dean, took a leave of absence to help with setting up programs and schools, especially for girls and women, in Afghanistan. She ended up spending more than a decade, with brief breaks, in Afghanistan, and was involved not only in education but also related matters such as women’s health. All of this was not at all easy; it was dangerous, strenuous, and frustrating at times, but Suzanne loved the work and persisted. In fact, she is still involved with programs in Afghanistan. This book is a combination of a memoir and a description of the situation in Afghanistan. The author’s devotion to the country and the work is clear, yet she writes in a way that is modest and matter-of-fact. This reader shuddered at some of the dangers Suzanne faced. But most of all, I admire so much what she has done. The serious nature of the book, although important, is leavened in a welcome way by the author's sharing her feelings, and weaving in stories about her family and friends and people she meets through the years. The book is very readable and engaging, and I learned much from it as well.


  1. Stephanie - I had no idea that Suzanne had written a novel. I met her and had lunch in her office when I was in Kabul.

    1. Hi Donna, Yes, Suzanne has written a beautiful book. It is actually a memoir, not a novel. I was so glad to learn more about her work and experiences in Afghanistan, as well as her earlier life. And reading it made me admire her courage and dedication more than ever. Great that you had lunch with her in Kabul! I had lunch with her at TESOL last year (somehow that sounds much more prosaic than Kabul!), but she said she won't be at TESOL this year,


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