Afghanistan. When you think of that country you see war torn lands, starving children, Muslins with guns threating Americans. That is not what Afghanistan was like, only recently, and by media, had that image formed into people’s minds. This story takes place before the Taliban rose to power, before Russia invaded, when Afghanistan was a nice country to live in as it was ruled fairly by a King. The story takes place between the year 1964 to 2002, following Amir and his journey of a little boy to a man. Amir faces challenges as every boy does, family, religion, school, and acceptance. He tells us the story in a sad, monotone way that will leave you crying for the unfairness of life.
Amir starts his story when he was very young. How it was always him and his father, Baba, after his mother (Baba’s wife) died giving birth to him. Yet it was not just the two of them, as Baba’s father adopted Ali when he was young as a servant, then Ali and his runaway wife had a son named Hassan. Amir spent his days playing with his friend Hassan. Hassan adored Amir so much that the author had written: “We took our first steps on the same lawn in the same yard. And, under the same roof, we have spoken our first words. Mine was Baba. His was Amir. My name.” This creates a nice cycle in the story, of Amir trying to impress Baba and failing, with Hassan, who always impressed Baba, but was desperate failing at making Amir his friend. Baba never got Amir, which for Amir made he had a very hard childhood. Baba was mainly, he played sports, enjoying hunting and drinking. Amir loved school and was an amazing writer. Where Baba wanted him to play football (soccer), Amir would rather read. “If I hadn’t seen the doctor pull him out of my wife with my own eyes, I’d never believe he’s my son” was what Amir herd Baba say to his friend Rahim Khan. That’s was Amir life as a child, growing up in the Wazir Akban Khan district, in the northern part of Kabul, always trying to get Baba’s approval.
Kite flying was a popular sport in Kabul during the winter. Winter was every kid in Kabul favorite season as it meant no school for the icy season. It lasted for three months, in that time Amir would play cards with Hassan, build snowmen, and enjoy the free Russian movies on Tuesday mornings. Yet winter brought out the sport in Ami as he was a great kite fighter. Every winter districts in Kabul would hold kite-fighting tournaments. The goal if the tournament is to cut everyone else kites by breaking their glass string. The winner is the last person kite left flying. The real fun comes to after the kite is cut. Once it is cut, it is free for the taking. The kite runner is the kids who run trying to catch the falling kite. When one of them does get the kite, it is now theirs. Where Amir is a great kite fighter, Hassan is the best kite runner in their district, and perhaps all of Kabul. He just knows where the kite is going to land, even if it involves working in the different direction than everyone else. Baba would buy Amir and Hassan a kite each winter, as they were better kite fighters, than kite makers. Amir knew the key to Baba’s heart was the win the tournament. After all Baba had when he was a kid, so why should Amir? To prove he was Baba’s son, Amir knew he had to win. But what would he put in the way of his goal? What would make him stop, what was greater than Baba’s love? Nothing. Amir knew he would do anything to win the tournament, even if that meant scarifying his friend.
This was Khaled Hosseini debut novel as it flooded the society in 2003 when it was released. Khalaed Hosseni, an Afghan-American writer, wrote this book about where he was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, a place he returned to in 2001, after leaving it at age eleven. This heart wrenching story tells about Amir, from a young boy to a grown man and how much guilt he carries on his life. From killing his mother, to trying to get his father love, to his friend Hassan who he treated like dirt. Amir never referred to Hassan as his friend, even though they clearly were. “Then he would remind us that there was a brotherhood between people who had fed from the same breast, a kinship that not even time could break”; was what Ali told Amir and Hassan all the time. They were. Raised together like brothers, played like friends, yet in public Amir referred to Hassan as his servant’s son. Chapter seven in this book changes it completely. Before then it was a bit dry, you loved Hassan, and did not mind Amir, but could not tell what the whole story was about. Read to chapter seven, then you can make your decision on the story. Historical wise it kept accurate with the death of the king, and Russia invading in the winter of 1979, and how Baba and Amir dealt with their changing country. The best villain, in the history of villains, comes as a seventeen year old boy who loves picking on twelve year old, Assef. Assef is a sociopath who makes a mark in both Amir and Hassan life, and one of the best described character that Khaled Hosseini wrote about. This sweeping story talks about love, family, religion, and gave you some history about a foreign land you might not know that much about. The Kite Runner will take you on an adventure though laughter and heartbreak, as it makes you believe there is a way to be good again.