Cover Image: Bike Riding in Kabul

Bike Riding in Kabul

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This was an interesting read regarding the role of a lawyer working on projects in different countries which are seeking support on developing new laws and systems. Travelling to war torn area's across African and the Middle East - it encompasses insights into the area like a travel book, showing the lives of the people who live and work in these places, and shines a light on the role played by western countries on trying to update laws and systems, and the culture clash that can exist. 

The story isn't a direct narrative, more broken down into small vignette's within a particular country, although there are larger broad-stroke elements going on as it is also biographical.

The book isn't going to be for everyone, but there is some interesting content in there if you are looking to check it out!
Was this review helpful?
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This is a tricky book to rate. 

On the one hand it's really unique. Bowman takes us into her life and shares some unique stories about her experiences. We hear about her work in various USAID roles, learn about the people she met, and hear about her life traveling for work. Bowman seems pretty open about her feelings and her stories.

On the other hand I didn't really feel a narrative theme. Each chapter about a location and place in time is a collection of anecdotes and experiences that seem to sum up Bowman's time there. Everything is focused around Bowman's work, but most of the stories are fairly short. I'm also not sure that I understand all of them. Like at one point Bowman hears from an aid recipient that they didn't like that the US provided salted butter. Bowman is shocked by this and later shares the story with others who agree she's right to be shocked. Am I as the reader also supposed to be shocked? Am I supposed to draw my own conclusion from the story? I'm not sure and the ambiguity may be on me, but some deeper reflection would have been helpful for me to understand why certain stories were shared and others weren't.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to the author, Boyle & Dalton and NetGalley, for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

This memoir recounts the author's story of her career move from a steady corporate job in the US to using her skills as a lawyer to support emerging democracies in very diverse countries. The author’s ability to handle complex legal issues in countries without a background in Western law was fascinating, particularly given the challenges she faced. Some of these challenges were a result of culture clash or misunderstandings, some grew out of corruption, and some of the most difficult came about through a false understanding or misuse of power, even by the author's colleagues or supervisors. A bit surprisingly, the issue of bike riding - in Kabul or elsewhere - was an isolating, single incident in this entire story.

I have great admiration for the author's commitment to being open to new experiences, and her steadfast moral compass. In between her missions, we also get a glimpse into her relationship with her parents (while her father heartbreakingly slips into dementia), and her relationship with Roberto, who is her companion for many of her adventures.
Was this review helpful?
Excellent.. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A lawyer leaves corporate America to work on projects in emerging democracies all over the world. Along the way, she meets an Argentinian boyfriend who joins her for a number of adventures. The book takes you to a wide variety of locations, many of them places you can't or won't be traveling to anytime soon (e.g. Ukraine). The author grows more savvy with each foreign posting, and this character change was well done as a memoir. 

Personal note: The author's boyfriend was kind enough to greet and speak with a number of American parents and their just-adopted Russian children as they passed through Moscow. Thank you!!!!! My family was one of them, and though I don't think we met, I'm sure this kindness (and a friendly face) was much appreciated. Russia is a tough place to travel, and I admire the author for learning to "think like a Russian." Throwing down that Cold War card at the Russian driver to get through the horrible Moscow traffic was awesome. 

Great read, highly recommended. Wish I had used my law degree this way!
Was this review helpful?
It was interesting to read about the differences in the various cultures Bowman worked in, and the unique challenges to a free economy each one faced. 

Even though the author was living in some fairly rustic conditions and dealt with incompetence of colleagues, she retained her sense of humor and doesn't use the book as an opportunity to just complain about everything, which I appreciated.

The book was entertaining enough, but not super memorable. Perhaps if I was more familiar with legal processes, it would have stayed with me more.

I understood from the ad-copy that the book was about legal work, but due to the title, I had assumed the author was an avid cyclist and that there would be a fair amount of "bike talk" included. In reality, the title comes from one very short tale which could have easily been edited out, because it added nothing to the book. I felt misled - not to mention disappointed, because the cycling aspect was about 75% of the reason I started the book in the first place.

There was some profanity and brief sexual references.

(Also, this is very minor, but I was confused by a comment she made about a guy who "spoke with the thick accent from the Great Lakes area in the United States." This area is located in the Midwest and the accent is considered one of the most neutral English accents in the world. I would hardly use the word "thick" to describe it.)
Was this review helpful?