Doug Erlandson

Doug Erlandson


When I received a copy of “The Poppy Field Diary” in exchange for my willingness to write an honest review I had no idea what to expect. Because of other review commitments I had made it was a couple weeks before I was able to give it my attention. When I began reading it, I could hardly put it down. Although it is a book of nearly 500 pages (including the back material), it reads quickly. More importantly, it succeeds at every level.

To begin with, it provides the reader with a vivid description of Afghan culture, as well as background to the conflicts that have beset Afghanistan in the decades since the Soviet invasion. Carey Richard, the author, has traveled in more than 47 countries, and has spent considerable time among the Afghan people. Her detailed, graphic descriptions bring the country and its culture to life.

It is also the story of the life of a woman, from her earliest youth to her death, in a male-dominated culture, one in which men are taught to be warriors––tough, unemotional, unyielding, and dominant. Written from this woman’s perspective, it provides the reader with a realistic glimpse of life in this culture.

Most importantly, it is a story of betrayal, hurt, resentment, but ultimately grace, love, and forgiveness, as this woman struggles to forgive her husband, who has hurt and betrayed her in many ways and on many levels. Although it is in no way a preachy or religious story, the path of love, forgiveness, and grace that this woman takes is clearly intended as a reflection of God’s love for us.

Finally, and ultimately less importantly, but still significant, is that the book is flawlessly edited. As someone who is distressed by the amount of poorly edited material being published today (both in print and electronically), it is refreshing to come across a book that is free of typographical and grammatical errors.

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