Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Tough Read

True to form, I just finished reading this book that was all the rage about 4 years ago. Whoa. It was a tough read. I don't mean that I had a hard time pushing through it. If any of you have read Wicked, the book that the broadway musical was based on, now that book is hard to get through because the plot is so complex and dense. The Kite Runner was tough because of the subject matter. The story is about two young boys who grow up in Afghanistan in the 1970's, and follows as they grow. Their childhood relationship is complicated enough--one is the rich boy, the other is the son of the rich family's servant--and then the hard knocks just keep coming. We're talking sexual and physical violence, the Soviet regime in that counry, followed by the even more violent Taliban control. Anyway, it is packed with emotions--love, guilt, fear, loyalty, terror, redemption--but it also deals with some of the most evil horrors of any culture, let alone one that is ravaged by poverty and violence. This is not for the faint of heart, but it opened my eyes to a facet of history that I really knew nothing about. I don't know if I can say I really enjoyed reading it...I'm still debating whether or not I want to see the movie. I couldn't put the book down, it is an easy read in that manner, but I also was sobbing uncontrollably at a few parts. Anyone else read it? What did you think?

9 comments:

Diane Davis said...

It's on my list of absolute favorite books. I also read A Thousand Splendid Suns by the same author. It was also a tough read and not the best choice while I was laying on the beaches in Hawaii last summer. Yes, I LOVED the Kite Runner and I think it had me sobbing in parts too (I don't do this often in books.) The author is just so great with character development... talking about the horrors of the enviornment while keeping the sweetness of the characters. Glad you read it!

Roynjo said...

Great book! I recommend it because of the redemption story at its heart. Yes, the bad guy is very bad and the good guy doesn’t always do the good thing when it needs to be done, but that’s what makes the redemption so rich at the end (sorry for the spoiler). I also enjoyed the insight into another culture with connections to contemporary political events. I see middle east current events now with a little more understanding of the people involved. roy

Brazenlilly said...

Di--tell me more about A Thousand Splendid Suns...

Diane Davis said...

also a heartbreaker and a very worthy read. different story of course but same type of content with the wonderful writing. i have it on my shelf and love sharing books... want me to put it in the mail for you?

Amanda B. said...

We actually just discussed this at my book club (although I am still finishing it). The whole time I was tentatively turning each page for fear that I was going to burst into tears or be traumatized at any moment. Still, an excellent book. I also had previously read about the political history of Afghanistan and how the Russians really decimated the place even before the Taliban took over, but it is interesting to read the more "personal" side of history since the characters and their relationships just come to life. How much do you think is tied in to the author's own experience of his home culture? I don't know much about him other than he left Afghanistan in 1980.

Amy Ginther said...

I am behind the times too Jen! I just finished Kite Runner a few weeks ago. I loved the book, with that you now understand that doesn't mean I loved all the subject matter! I just enjoy learning about life in other parts of the world, and I loved the intimate stories of another culture. We hear so much of the middle east, and this gave me a different perspective. I didn't want the book to end! I am definitely going to read A Thousand Splendid Suns (I heard: similar story, more female characters?)

butters said...

I read it also last summer. It was tough as you said but very powerful. I guess they've made it into a movie which I'd be interested in seeing. Maybe we can watch it sometime together?! I also read A Thousand splendid suns but probably preffered the kite Runner. And yes... I too sobbed on several occassions.
Hopefully I'll get to see you next week. I miss you and have a couple more clothes to lend you.
Jenna

Carrie said...

Both the Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns are great reads. Tough subject matter, but really worth the time and emotion spent. I think it's important to gain some perspective on how blessed we are to have the freedoms we do. Glad you read it and enjoyed it. The movie is good, but can't capture the depth of all the emotions you speak of.

Aj Schwanz said...

Read both. Had heavy thoughts afterwards. My book group discussed the first, so at least there was some release in that. It's hard for me to read such books without talking to folks who have lived in that sort of situation - don't know why . . . Definitely eye-opening to thinking about how life could be *so* very much different.