the kite runner

May 4, 2010

this past year i made a new years resolution to read a book a month, well i think i’ve gone well beyond that number and im only in the beginning of may. the past two days i started to read the kite runner by khaled hosseini. i couldn’t put the book down and i highly recommend everyone read it; although i must add a disclaimer… the story is heartbreaking. the review by the New York Times i think best describes it, “Powerful… Haunting.”

its a great story about two boys growing up in afghanistan during the 1970s and a timeframe spanning 20 years. Amir, whom is the main character is a rich Afghani boy who lives with his father and their Hazara servants in Kabul. Amir spends much of his childhood engulfed in books and playing with the son (Hassan) of his father’s loyal servant Ali. Although there is a difference in social levels between the boys they almost grow up as brothers, much like the relationship between their fathers. For some reason, Amir is always testing the relationship and finally one test is the ultimate end all. Amir ends up betraying Hassan in the worst possible way and continues to push Hassan away thereafter…. forcing him and Ali out of Baba’s home. Years later when the Russians invade Afghanistan, Baba and Amir flee to the United States. Soon, his country, like his best friend become a distant memory and one he tries to bury. However, like all things we try to bury, his past comes back to the forefront. Twenty years later, now during the Taliban’s rule, Amir receives an urgent call that returns him to Afghanistan to face the demons he had been hiding from.

This is an awesome story encompassing lessons of family, trust, loyalty, friendship, class divides, betrayal and ultimately, redemption. Not only is this a personal story, but it is also the story about the upheaval of Afghanistan through multiple occupations that change Afghanistan from a country on the brink of greatness to a country in chaos.

Two lines that stuck with me throughout the book were:

“a boy who doesn’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything”

“for you, a thousand times over.”

**the whole time i read the book, i found myself relating to Hassan. i dont really know why, i guess i just felt bad for him. i cried alot with his story. he is the perfect example of the characteristics of a true friend. someone who knows their place in society yet stands up for their friends, someone who is willing to take the brunt of consequences/abuse even though they dont deserve it, someone who loves wholeheartedly and would do anything to please their friends; and the biggest characteristic i think i share with Hassan is continuing to love and care, and being loyal to the very end, even when that friend has betrayed you and left you standing all alone. Some days i wish i could be more like Hassan and really encompass all that describes being a true, loyal and trustworthy friend. **

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