Wednesday, 15 August 2012

My First Reflection: The Kite Runner

I have to admit to you that I cheated...Well, I didn't totally cheat-- I mean I read the book, but I had started reading it before I actually started the challenge. Techincally it's not cheating because there are other books that I have previously read that are on the list and that I have crossed off, it is just that I did not own up to this one. However, now I am and it is read and that is that.

A reminder to any of you who do choose to read this reflection-- these are only my opinions and I am not trying to push them upon you at all-- I am only trying to seep into your mind subconsciously so you feel exactly the same as I do about this novel, and therefore prove that my feelings are correct.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini left me with mixed feelings.  When I read a book I generally look at the story more than the writing itself (tsk tsk), but this is how I have always read and enjoyed books. I have to admit that I had a hard time getting through this novel. As much as the subject matter is hard to deal with-- that is not what turned me off necessarily. I have read my fair share of novels that take place in third world countries or novels that deal with incredibly difficult situations (take Lovely Bones, The Book of Negroes, or Prizoner of Tehran for example) and have ended up enjoying them immensely (not that I like disturbing and dark, I just mean that I can generally find the light in these types of novels...okay so what if I am dark and twisty (yay Grey's Anatomy references!)), but this one is a special case. The first third of the book takes place when the main character, Amir, is a child. The first third of the book is the part I had the most trouble with. I found very few redeeming qualities in the main character and had to actually put the book down and walk a way for a bit before I could read on.

Perhaps this is the reaction Hosseini was hoping for?-- but the only reason I picked this book back up was because of the incredible reviews it has received, so I was convinced that there must be something in this novel that I hadn't read yet. Maybe I am judging the character far to harshly-- maybe as harsh as the character himself, which is funny and I doubt this was the intention of Hosseini--I just don't think it would have withstood the scrutiny of the general public if so many people had to put the book down part way through. I am not sure what this says about me or about other readers-- but I am starting to realize what I actually look for and enjoy in a novel (a main character that I can identify with..something along those lines).

Upon picking up the novel again, I had given myself enough time to put these feeling aside and lucky for me, the very next chapter took me away from the events and disturbing choices that took place. The middle of the novel was enjoyable although I do feel like I was trapped in the limited characters that there are in this lengthy book, despite the fact that it is written in first person.  I say this because even though there are other characters, you don't seem to really know any of them-- I don't think that this was an accident. On the contrary, I think you are meant to feel as trapped and unreachable as the character himself feels.

However, just when you think Hosseini is going to let you feel safe again, it all goes to hell. For the record, I like bows, silver linings, and happy thoughts (just putting that out there), and while this book has definitely left me with the experience of being caught off guard as a reader, I can't say that it is my favorite feeling in the world. Although props to Hosseini for making me feel this way because I thought this reflection would be a lot shorter than it has turned out to be. Let me just say that for me, for my own personal enjoyment-- the sliver of hope that this novel has is not enough.

Read the book, judge for yourself.

In the meantime, I now have the Bible by my bed like a good Christian girl, and Great Expectations in my bag as I board the subway --I am off on some new adventures!

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