Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: by Mary Smith

 Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women

Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women

Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni:amazon 150 button

Real Stories of Afghan Women

Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni is a remarkable memoir which allows the reader to enjoy a unique insight into the lives of ordinary Afghan women – and their families – living both in remote villages of the Hazara Jat region and in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Mary Smith spent several years in Afghanistan working for a small mother and child health project, often spending months at a time with her young son in the rural villages where she shared in the lives of the women who became her friends.

Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni  offers a different perspective of women in Afghanistan from the one usually presented by the media – although their lives are far from easy these women are by no means downtrodden victims but courageous women determined to make the best of life for themselves and their children.

The reader is caught up in the day-to-day lives of women like Sharifa, Latifa and Marzia, sharing their problems, dramas, tears and laughter: whether enjoying a gossip over tea, battling to save the life of a one-year-old opium addict or learning how to deliver babies safely. The story of how the women become health volunteers is inspiring. Along the way, there are tears, there is laughter and love and, despite all the problems they face, there is always hope.

Smith worked in Afghanistan until shortly before Taliban came to power. She later went back and the final chapters recount her return visit, meeting up with her old friends. It also provides a strong message as to why Taliban should not be allowed to return to power.

As well as the opportunity to enjoy meeting the women, Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni takes the reader on a journey through some of the most stunning and dramatic landscapes in the world.

And to find out why the chickens were drunk and the macaroni burnt – you’ll have to read the book!

About the Author

Mary SmithMary Smith has always loved writing. As a child she wrote stories in homemade books made from wallpaper trimmings – but she never thought people could grow up and become real writers. She spent a year working in a bank, which she hated – all numbers, very few words – ten years with Oxfam in the UK, followed by ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She longed to allow others to share her amazing, life-changing experiences so she wrote about them – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and journalism. And she discovered the little girl who wrote stories had become a real writer after all.
Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women is an account of her time in Afghanistan and her debut novel No More Mulberries is also set in Afghanistan.
Mary loves interacting with her readers and her website is www.marysmith.co.uk.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000934032543
Twitter: https://twitter.com/marysmithwriter
Blogs: http://novelpointsofview.blogspot.co.uk
http://marysmith57.wordpress.com/2014/07Mary lives in beautiful south west Scotland and is currently working, with award-winning photographer Phil McMenemy, on an illustrated book on the town of Dumfries.


Format: Kindle Edition

Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni by Mary Smith

Mary Smith spent several years in Afghanistan working on a health project for women and children in remote rural areas and in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif. She tell what it was like to live there and how the Afghan women really feel.

She tells the story from the point of view from many women, before and after the Taliban invasion. The story is shocking (at times), compelling, emotional and thought provoking. Some of the stories are filled with joy others hardships the woman have gone through. Also she tells of what she and her organization did on a daily basis.

Trying to educate the women on health issues, and how to remain healthy under not so good circumstances. The stories we read are much different than what we have seen on news reports. We also get a bit of insight on how some Afghans feel about Americans. Overall this was a very good read. I highly recommend Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women to all.

*This book was a gift to me


Format: Kindle Edition

After Mary Smith’s interview last week on A Woman’s Wisdom peeked my interest I couldn’t wait to read this memoir and downloaded it straight away. It is wonderful! I don’t often heap on the praise in a review to the extent where I might embarrass myself but with this memoir I don’t care! I was captivated by Mary’s memories of the people, culture and everyday life in Afghanistan. She writes with a strong and appealing voice as she tells the stories of people she genuinely cares about and who made such an impact on her and their own community as they learnt skills which would genuinely save the lives of the babies and children in their villages. She writes about the women themselves – their hopes, desires, pain and joy – in such a way that I felt I knew these women too and was the better for knowing them.

One of the many friends Mary made insisted she write a book about real Afghan women which would show their true story and break through the stereotyping which so many books on Afghanistan were portraying them as. Education matters and Mary found the women keen to learn how to become health workers for their people and put right some of the older ways of thinking so more babies survived, their children could thrive and live more healthily in what were already difficult circumstances.

Women who were not used to having a voice grouped together and stood up to demand a better way and I found this moving and inspiring. Knowledge is power and Mary has done so much good work by leaving behind a new structure and way of thinking which allowed the self esteem of many of these women to rise and for all of them to make a difference.Read more ›


Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

The unvarnished adventures of a nurse in Afghanistan villages who sets up teaching clinics for the women. An absorbing story of women who yearn for knowledge to better their lives and save their babies. Some is sad, some is humorous and at times a bit frightening. Very well written. Heartily recommend.


Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I have always been a sucker for non-fiction works, as well as real-life fiction. The latter is a genre that may not exist officially, but I use it to describe stories that are so credible that even though there is a previous disclaimer the fiction seems real. No More Mulberries is a novel, whereas Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni is presented as a collection of stories — however, the main characters reappear giving the impression of a novel.
Ms Smith depicts the perils of working in Afghanistan during troubled times, and shows what seems to be a mantel of situations that Afghans still are dealing with. The main sociological aspect is the plight of women, but described through the eyes of an Afghan woman — in spite of the author being from Scotland — which is very different than what has been reported in the media. She remind us that the road to equality between men and women in the world is not that different than how it is walked through in Afghanistan. A shocking detail was learning that the world reacted more to the threat of the bombing of the Buddha statues than to the famine the Afghans were going through at the time.
I found quite a few bumps on the road of storytelling in the form of liberal punctuation, but though this may bother some readers I was taken by the powerful stories with their particular cultural insights.


Format: Paperback

Mary Smith’s book is part memoir part travelogue . A truly fascinating read. Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni is a collection of stories. Mary tells of the perils of working in Afghanstan during troubled times. It is a remarkable look into the lives of Afghan Women both before and after the Taliban’s rise to power. It tells the story of the women’s everyday life’s, women like Sharifa, Latifa and Marzia sharing their problems, laughter and tears. A heartfelt emotional, informative read for me. I highly recommend Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni to all readers.



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