Making Up for Past Mistakes


Valeria Gomez with "The Kite Runner." Photo taken by Pedro Adame.

Valeria Gomez, Book Reviews Editor

I don’t normally read novels tied to any political background because they can often be dull or confusing for me. However, my perspective on these novels shifted after reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. The novel tells about the life of Amir, a young boy living in Kabul, Afghanistan. Amir lives with his father (Baba) and his two servants (Ali and his son Hassan). The relationship between Amir and Hassan is complicated; they consider each other friends, but this friendship is only a one-way street. Amir and Hassan are bonded to one another because they used to feed from the same woman and grew up together. However, Hassan and his father are Hazaras, a minority group that is looked down upon during the time the novel is set. Hassan also has a cleft lip, making him the subject of constant bullying by the neighboring children. Hassan is also illiterate and born into a life of challenges, but he is never one to give up. Hassan loves Amir like a brother, whereas Amir only talks to Hassan in private. There were kite flying competitions in Kabul that Amir and Hassan attended. One encounter after the end of the competition will change the friendship between Hassan and Amir forever.

I was recommended to read The Kite Runner by my father. I was a bit anxious to read the novel because he told me it was a depressing novel, but entirely worth reading. I was hesitant, but decided to give the novel a chance. I loved the novel, ranking it as one of the best novels I’ve ever read. The metaphors and irony within The Kite Runner were extraordinary. I was often kept on edge, and it was constantly surprising me. The relationship between Amir and Hassan takes the reader on a roller coaster of emotions. Though Amir is the main character and narrator of the novel, I viewed him as the antagonist. Amir was horrible to his “friend” Hassan, despite Hassan’s unfaltering loyalty for him. Amir would often tease Hassan and only spoke to him when no one else was around. Amir would read to Hassan, but if Hassan did not understand the definition of a word, Amir would tease him and give him a false definition. Amir defended his actions by claiming they were still friends, and it was only an innocent fib. Amir tries to make up for his mistakes later on in the novel, but it is too late.

I definitely recommend The Kite Runner to anyone who loves an emotional story. The struggles Amir went through were heartbreaking, tying into the political turmoil that was occurring in Afghanistan at the time. Hosseini even shows the difference between life in America and Afghanistan, something extremely eye-opening for me. I think people rarely consider how the lives of people in other countries compare to ours. Amir was lucky enough to grow up privileged in his youth, but there were others in his neighborhood who were not, including Hassan. The Kite Runner was an emotional novel, but definitely worth reading.