It took me over a year to go and read Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner
(also avoiding the movie like the plague) because I have a built-in aversion to books that are overly hyped or foisted on me by other people.
I dragged my feet for about six more months, then I decided to bring it along on a trip after Christmas. That’s another book-related habit of mine: whenever I go on trips, I always take books I have trouble starting, or books I have been hedging on for a long time, just so I’ll be forced to read them.
I’m not going to summarize it anymore, as most people have probably read it, and if not, it’s easy enough to look up on the internet. But despite the fact that I have never met anyone who’s read the book and not raved about it, I would have to say that it wasn’t particularly groundbreaking for me.
While the writing was fluid, I felt like I was reading something out of Chicken Soup for the Soul. The book seemed to be engineered to tug at the reader’s heartstrings. How can it not, with the cast of characters that are designed for the perfect tragedy? The flawed Amir who is weak and prone to doing things you just know he’ll regret, the meek and devoted Hassan, the gruff Baba who turns out to be a sad man with a lot of secrets, the equally meek and devoted Ali, the father-substitute Rahim who serves as his moral compass, and the tyrannical Assef who seems to come straight out of a B movie!
Each plot device read like a cue for the waterworks to start, and I, who can cry at the drop of a hat, was tear-free for most of the book. I’m all for catharsis, and I love books that give me a good cry, but The Kite Runner was a shade too melodramatic for me.
It wasn’t a bad read, in total, but I could have passed on the book and I wouldn’t have felt the difference. In no hurry to read A Thousand Splendid Suns.
My copy: trade paperback, mooched from Cheche
My rating: 3/5 stars