Book 23 The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini fulfilled
the “Book that is a
bildungsroman” category for the PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge. A
bildungsroman is a coming-of-age book. It focuses on the spiritual, moral,
and/or psychological growth of a person. The Kite Runner is an excellent
example of this genre.
The novel takes place in Afghanistan in the late 1970s.
Many cultural and sociological factors play into the book, creating greater
conflict. Amir, our protagonist, is a young man of a wealthy family. He and his
father live in a nice house with two servants. Hassan, the younger servant, is
about the same age as Amir, and they are inseparable. As they get older, their
social status drives them apart.
The inciting event of the novel happens when Amir witnesses
a horrific act against his servant and best friend. Amir cannot process the horror.
He fails to put himself in his friend’s
place. He uses all the excuses of a young child trying to grasp something he
does not understand. To his discredit, he shames his friend and then tries to
drive the boy and his father away. Here is the low point where
Amir starts his
journey of redemption.
I had a hard time with this book. The topic was
difficult but relevant. Bullying, racism (of a type), and classism are all
topics applicable today and especially in June 2020. The author did an
excellent job explaining the culture of Afghanistan, the political situation,
and the socio-economic dynamics. He brilliantly wove together these elements to
give us the entire picture. Even those of us culturally ignorant of most things
Afghani (me) understood. I’m
glad I listened to the audio, read by the author. It gave an even deeper
understanding to hear him tell the tale.
But the bullying, the violent acts against the
repressed classes, and the political upheaval were not the things that stayed
with me the most. They marked me, educated me, and gave me a new perspective about
the universe. But it was Amir’s
failure to act and his subsequent horrific behavior that will make me remember
this story for a long time.
I understood how it was hard for Amir to help Hassan
when he was attacked. But Amir’s
actions afterward made me hate him. Really hate him. I considered not finishing
the book. His friend had been assaulted and not only did Amir turn his back,
not comfort his friend, he outright rejected the boy after years of friendship.
Amir could not do enough to redeem himself
after that, in my opinion.
The rest of the book shows Amir working to survive,
life, and recover from all he’d
been through. He tried to make up for what he had done as a child. (Yes, I know
he was a kid, but dammit, he should have known better.) I don’t feel he
redeemed himself as a character. I still don’t like him, don’t sympathize with
him, and don’t care what happened to him.
Redemption is a tough storyline. Did Amir grow and
change over the book to be a better person? Kinda. Others may believe he
completed the great journey. I don’t.
Sometimes the sins are too deep. For all the beauty of the descriptions in the
novel, for all I learned about Afghanistan and their culture, I never forgave Amir.

     With that, I give The
Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini only Three Fighting Kites.

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