Book Review: The Kite Runner

the kite runner

The book, “The Kite Runner” has been written by Khalid Hosseini, who is an Afghan American. The story is set in Afghanistan in 1975, against the backdrop of a heartbreaking series of events including the Soviet Military intervention and the fall of Afghanistan’s Monarchy. It majorly revolves around the life events of a boy named Amir and his friend, Hassan. Amir and Hassan are very different individuals but are the best of friends.

Amir is the son of a wealthy business-man who grew up in the Wazir Akbar Khan district which was one of the most affluent neighbourhoods of Kabul. He is a brilliant and emotionally sensitive child. Amir is a talented storyteller who grows up to be a published novelist.

He craved for his father’s praise and approval on whatever he did. Therefore, whenever his father showed affection to Hassan, Amir would get jealous and consequentially attack Hassan. He wants to please his father such that in the process of ensuring this, he ends up putting Hassan through a devastating experience of being raped. As a child, he did not realise the gravity of the situation, but as he grows up, he gets tightly gripped by the guilt of not speaking out and helping his best friend, who sacrificed so much for him.

Later in this story, we see that many families, including Amir’s, are forced to seek rescue in America due to the invasion of the Russians. Amir starts off his new life there, but he still feels guilty for not being a good friend or even humane.

It is this guilt that eventually guides him back to the path of empathy, and he further tries to cover up his past mistakes by going back to Afghanistan and reaching out to Hassan’s son.

Hassan, on the other hand, was the son of a servant named Ali who worked for Amir’s father. He is a very loving, loyal, sensitive and caring boy. Hassan is very emotionally strong who is put through a lot of bullying throughout his childhood. He is an eager learner who despite being uneducated loved listening to the stories that Amir recited to him. Whenever Amir needed someone, Hassan was always there for him. He is a very compassionate, selfless and empathic person and is ready to go to any lengths for the people that he loves.

The title of this story is “The Kite Runner” which refers to the two main protagonists of the story, Hassan and Amir. It also refers to the pivotal point of the story wherein, mostly everything changes, including the unbreakable friendship between Amir and Hassan.

This story takes us on a journey of admiring the friendship between the two protagonists but also makes us question the concept of fully dedicating oneself to the other person. The line, ”for you, a thousand times over” still gives me chills every time I think about it. Personally, the idea of complete dedication does not seem unusual; but what is usual is seeing how genuine commitment was limited to only one of the two friends involved.

One of the main themes of this story can be described as the quest for redemption. This theme can be easily associated with real-life experience since redemption is a phenomenon which guides most of the people.

Personally, I would like to give this book a 4 out of 5.

Overall, reading this story will ultimately move you and will make you delve deeper into understanding your own life goals and moral values. It is guaranteed to leave you searching for more answers and will make you develop an unparalleled respect for Hassan and his genuine feelings. It is bound to make you appreciate Amir’s personal growth in the story and his quest to try to finally be a good friend. 

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