The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

Read for 10th grade English

 UPDATE: I wrote an essay about this book, I'd really appreciate it if you could check it out. Here's the link: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/412554-the-role-of-women-in-the-kite-runner

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Content warnings for this book: 

Sexual assault/rape

 

*takes deep breath*
This is the hardest review I've ever had to write. Ever. I've never felt so conflicted over a book.

 

Here's the thing: I did not like the Kite Runner. I felt such sadness, rage, disgust, and a whole host of other unpleasant emotions. But does that make it a bad book? No, The Kite Runner is by no means a bad book. But I felt such negative emotions I can't say I enjoyed this. This book is harsh on the feels. It will rip your heart out. There's two kinds of sadness in my experience; the sobbing and screaming kind, and then the quiet, numb kind that makes you feel like you can't breath, that makes you just feel empty inside. I felt both while reading The Kite Runner. I feel obligated to warn you: this book will not spare your heart.

 

If you need likable and sympathetic narrators, you will HATE The Kite Runner.  I lost all respect for Amir around Chapter 7,

because WHO THE FUCK WATCHES THEIR BEST FRIEND GET RAPED AND DOES NOTHING?

(show spoiler)

 
Amir is a cowardly, selfish piece of shit and I detest him.

The way the rape of Hassan is treated really rubbed me the wrong way. Obviously sexual assault is horrible and I hate that this even happened, and that it happened to Hassan who is a very sweet and likable boy. What I hate even more though, is that this event is just a way to create drama and make Amir angst. Are we supposed to feel sorry for Amir? FUCK AMIR, HE'S AN ASSHOLE! Gah, I despise that the rape of Hassan is not treated with the respect and tact that it deserves, and that the focus is on how this affected Amir. So FUCK YOU, Amir, for standing by and doing nothing. And FUCK YOU, Khaled Hosseini, for using sexual assault in such a disrespectful and tactless way.

(show spoiler)

Addendum: How old is Amir supposed to be? I watched the film version of this, and the actor is only 10 or 11, maybe 12 at the oldest. His age certainly doesn't excuse his actions, but it does make them more understandable.


Pretty much all the secondary characters have potential. Sanuabar, Baba, Hassan, Soraya...all of them have the potential to be so interesting, and a book from any of their POVs seems pretty cool. But they ultimately fall flat. The most glaring example is Hassan. His only characteristic is that he's a good person, he's good and kind and loyal. That's...that's it. He's too perfect. And another thing that bugged me a lot is that Hassan, despite getting treated like a second-class citizen his whole life, seems content. Hassan never shows resentment of Amir, whose ethnic and class privilege protect him, but I feel like that would make him so much more interesting. (side note: The Kite Runner would be way better if it was from Hassan's POV)

 

There's too many coincidences.  

Assef, the boy who bullied Amir as a kid, just happens to be the Taliban official that took Sohrab? Amir just happens to run into an old friend of his mother's?

(show spoiler)

There's more, but those are the two biggest ones. It seems too convenient.

 

The way The Kite Runner is written feels very autobiographical. I was told that this was fiction, but the way it's narrated....it feels very personal. If Amir is based on Khaled Hosseini, then I don't think too highly of Khaled Hosseini because Amir is a shitty person. I can't stress enough how much I hate Amir.

 

I had no fucking clue how to rate this. In the end, I went with a reflection of my personal feelings rather than the objective merit of the book. I didn't enjoy The Kite Runner, but it's not a bad book.

 

Tl;dr version- Getting (metaphorically, of course) stabbed in the heart + sobbing + horribly selfish narrator who I hated + disappointing secondary characters + coincidences galore= my experience of The Kite Runner.