The Kurdish Bike

A Novel

Fiction - Cultural
321 Pages
Reviewed on 05/09/2017
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Author Biography

Alesa Lightbourne is an award-winning novelist. She has been an English professor and teacher in six countries, lived on a sailboat, dined with Bedouins, and written for Fortune 50 companies. She lives close to Monterey Bay in California, where she loves to boogie board and (of course) ride a bicycle.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Betty Taylor for Readers' Favorite

Books having to do with the Middle East always interest me, and especially those set in Iraq. This is a region that the author says is “older than the flood.” It is a land that has been ruled at one time or another by the Assyrians, the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Parthians, Romans, Islamic Arabs, Mongols, and Ottomans. I was really enthralled with this part of the book. In The Kurdish Bike by Alesa Lightbourne, the protagonist, Theresa, is an American teacher working in Iraqi Kurdistan. Unlike the other expat teachers assigned to the school, Theresa yearns to get out and see the landscape and meet the people. Her purchase of a bicycle gives her the freedom to explore. On one of her trips out she meets a Kurdish family that becomes her “village family.”

I enjoyed the portions of the book that address some of the differences between the Arab and Kurdish cultures. The story addresses some traditions that have been banned in most of the world, but are still followed in the more rural areas (such as female genital mutilation). I felt like I had met the characters through Ms. Lightbourne’s thorough character development. Most of the story is based on the author’s actual experiences in the region. I can envision Theresa riding along on her bike; Ara and Theresa dancing and laughing; Theresa’s frustration with the love-smitten Bezma. I wanted to remain right there among these people with such open hearts. They know how to appreciate the small things in life.


Fascinating book teaches you a different culture, history, human interaction, life realities, human emotions, loved the sense of humor! All thru a beautiful story

JoAnne Busse

Wonderful book. The story is so far removed from our every-day life that it makes you realize how "rich" you are. The author knows this after living among the Kurds and making a comparison. What is every-day-easy to us are huge hurdles to jump in that culture. Women are minimized. Their lives left in shambles and dependent on the government for support. Still, you can only think of them as amazingly strong and loyal to each other. A wonderful story of survival in a land run amok with war and poverty.

Kay Roshanak

I learned a lot from this book the words used were fantastic and it was really educational. I recommended the book to my relatives and now they will get to enjoy it also.