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The Kurdish Bike: A Novel

Narrated by: Alesa Lightbourne
Length: 11 hrs and 7 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Summary

Gold Medal: Best Regional Fiction e-Book, Independent Publishers Book Awards 2017

First Place: Best Fiction of 2017, North Street Book Contest

With her marriage over and life gone flat, Theresa Turner responds to an online ad and lands at a school in Kurdish Iraq. Befriended by a widow in a nearby village, Theresa is embroiled in the joys and agonies of traditional Kurds, especially the women who survived Saddam's genocide only to be crippled by age-old restrictions, brutality, and honor killings.

Theresa's greatest challenge will be balancing respect for cultural values while trying to introduce more enlightened attitudes toward women - at the same time seeking new spiritual dimensions within herself.

The Kurdish Bike is gripping, tender, wry, and compassionate - an eye-opener into little known customs in one of the world's most explosive regions - a novel of love, betrayal, and redemption.

©2016 Alesa M. Lightbourne (P)2018 Alesa Lightbourne

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    5 out of 5 stars

Teaching in Iraqi Kurdistan.

I really enjoyed this audio version of The Kurdish Bike, a novel based on the author's experiences as an expat teacher in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The main character, Theresa, is an older, mature teacher, who has been through a messy divorce and decides to up-sticks to somewhere completely new to her. To have an adventure and escape from old memories. The job in Northern Iraq looks like the perfect opportunity.
Once in Kurdistan, she goes against protocol and buys a bike, then uses it to go into the village and meet some of the locals. She is adopted into a Kurdish family and we enjoy all their trials and tribulations alongside Theresa.

For me this worked extremely well as a way of introducing various issues, such as female circumcision, the rights of women and the recent history of the area.

The school was an eye-opener, I suspect there is a similar school near me, where all children are on the same page of the same book on any given day, irrespective of their level of ability or even whether they have had a teacher for the last term.

The book was narrated by the author and she did a great job - except there are a few places where she stumbles, which is something that I never hear with professional narrators. On the plus side, she does the 'asides' perfectly and I suspect these might have annoyed me in the written version as I'm not a fan of aside comments.
Hopefully she will correct these issues in the near future.

I am genuinely hoping that Theresa will go back to the village for another year of teaching - at the end of the novel she was offered an opportunity...will she take it??

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  • Suzan
  • 24-08-18

You will love this

I really enjoyed getting to listen to this book. It is read by the author and that is something that I always like. I believe it is the first book written by Alesa Lightbourne. If this is her first wow what will her next be like. I knew very little of the Kurdish people only what is told on the news. This book really opened my eyes and heart to the Kurdish people. The book deals with some difficult times but it is done in such a way that you understand the severity but are not overwhelmed with tears. Sometimes it is important to get the understanding of what is going on without all the emotions. So you can more clearly understand the situation. I was gifted this audiobook by the author with the understanding that I would leave an honest review. I feel blessed to have gotten to listen to this book and leave an review. If you are thinking of reading this book do you will not be disappointed.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Patricia A Miller
  • 23-08-18

An informative, funny learning expense impossible to forget.

Alesa’s skill in imagery & character building made this Middle Eastern experience come alive for me. An experience worth sharing..

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • another_alison
  • 11-03-19

10 Stars!!!

Fascinating! I loved this book so much I listened to it twice and enjoyed it even more the 2nd time. As a woman of similar demographics to the author, I could relate to many of her personal struggles, and would highly recommend it to other women yearning for some change or adventure that removes you from your daily grind, or who are interested in middle eastern culture. I would not recommend it to most men, as it can be (often justifiably) critical of the gender, regardless of culture. The author is obviously left-wing, with an admittedly “bleeding heart”, but she only occasionally and gently delves into politics and then masterfully steers away. As a conservative myself, my hackles would start to bristle, I would think “oh geez, here we go”, and then be allowed to relax and enjoy the story, which was *superb*! I may even listen to it a third time and really hope she will write more about her time spent in the Middle East.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Pizza Knight
  • 20-09-18

Insightful, Well-Written, & Down-to-Earth

I really enjoyed this story. Alesa's writing style is lovely and to the point. The premise was strong and fit the description.

The sound quality was good. The narration was down-to-earth and Alesa's voice added a unique charm to this title.

This title was well worth the time spent listening to it. I would recommend this to anyone interested in the experiences of an American living abroad, of a traveling teacher, or to anyone who is interested in expanding their cultural viewpoint.

I'm looking forward to more from this author in the future and I hope that she continues to narrate her own work (Please note that it's very uncommon for me to recommend titles where the author also narrates).

*This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • juana ouardi
  • 18-12-19

Torcher

I've never wrtten a review before on a book. This author just infurated me by being a air head. It was torcher listening to her tell about her life. She may have some book sense but no common sense. I wanted to scream at her dingyness. I can see why the things happned in her life she has no back bone.

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  • lynda
  • 11-09-19

Horrible

Subject had potential but the story was Boring, poorly written and narration was painful! Nothing compelling.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-09-19

A dive into Kurdish culture from American woman’s perspective.

I really enjoy learning about culture and history different than my own. I’ve learned as a white 60 something woman that it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to immerse myself into other cultures, so literature and film is the next best thing.
This is a story about expatriate teachers in Kurdistan. The protagonist forms a family like relationship with a traditional Kurdish family.
This book felt authentic, realistically describing humanity in our similarities and perceived extreme differences.

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  • Teresa
  • 27-08-19

A Disturbing Tale of Acceptance and Submission

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

The author and narrator Alesa Lightbourne had to have experienced this situation first hand in order to be able to bring to us the often heart-breaking customs and beliefs of a Kurdish village. We certainly cannot claim to be ignorant of that reality. We know it exists and we see every day how women and young girls are abused by that society. It is maybe harder for us to comprehend how women would acquiesce to this status quo. This book simply explains why that is so. It is a look into the minds and souls of a race that has experienced too much grief and terror already and that has learned not to rebel against the inevitable. And yet... there is a little ray of hope for future generations, a hope we should all encourage. Great book and well narrated by the author.

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  • SI
  • 17-01-19

A book full of wisdom and humor ! Wonderful !

Alesa Lightbourne writes beautifully in telling her own story about an incredible journey to Kurdistan and teaching English at a middle school. There was so much heart in the telling of her story and the descriptions of the wonderful people she met along the way. It was fascinating to learn about the daily lives of the people in this small village in Kurdistan - I could almost see them !
Kurdish Bike is full of deep wisdom and humor that had me smiling quite often. Ms.Lightbourne is laughing at herself and her circumstances quite often and I found myself laughing along with her.

The recording was clear and the author herself was the perfect narrator. Highly recommend !

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  • Victoria Haugen
  • 23-10-18

COMPELLING!

Wow... compelling story. I knew very little of the Kurds, but not I have a better understanding for what the people go through, especially women.
Quite a sobering tale, but I'm glad it's been told. I think everyone will get something from this story.

As much as we all want to seem to right (myself included a lot of the time), we must learn to love each other...

Here's hoping! Great writing and narration, very well done :)

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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