Banned Book Club: The Kite Runner


photo by Roman Hladio

Roman Hladio, Reporter

The banned book that I had selected for last month put me through a roller coaster of emotions.

The Kite Runner, written by Khaled Hosseini, is written from the perspective of a very wealthy boy who is growing up in Kabul as the nation begins slowly deteriorating around him.

This book is often challenged for its violent and sexual content and, in some unique cases, its depictions of multiple religions.

If the author’s name sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because another one of his books, A Thousand Splendid Suns, was on the senior summer reading list.  I found that having previously read A Thousand Splendid Suns helped my perception of this book, as I could already imagine the sights, sounds, and smells of Kabul before its inevitable decline.

I found the book unofficially split into three parts.  It begins in Kabul with Amir as a child, picks up a few years later and follows Amir to America and his first few years there, and then time jumps again about 15 years forward where Amir is a self-sufficient adult who must revisit his former home to see an old, dying friend.  I’ll mainly be discussing the first portion as to not spoil any of the surprises for potential readers.

Amir lives with his father, a wealthy and generous businessman in Kabul, after his mother passed away at childbirth.  Like most children, he is constantly seeking the approval of his father. They have conflicting interests, though. While Amir is interested in poetry and writing, his father pushes for him to get into sports, which were his strong suit when he was a child.

Amir’s closest friend, Hassan, is the son of the family’s servant who was close friends with Amir’s father when he was a child.  The dynamic between the two is very similar to that of brothers since they have grown up together, but every once in a while Amir is thrust into a surreal scenario where he is reminded of the true status Hassan and his father hold.

The main struggle the characters face until the war tears everything apart is Amir’s lack of ability to take action for himself.  As a very limited example, Hassan is constantly harassed by neighborhood kids since his race is considered less human in Kabul, and Amir always takes the backseat and lets whatever is coming happen, which becomes a huge inner moral debate for him later in the book.

Overall, The Kite Runner was a very interesting book.  I found myself really enjoying and engaging with the plot but would often be taken out of it by Hosseini’s repetition of important plot points every other chapter.  I almost felt as if Hosseini wrote The Kite Runner to be read in the same time frame that Amir followed: that you should put the book down for a few years between a couple of the chapters and come back to it after forgetting a majority of the plot.

If you enjoyed A Thousand Splendid Suns even a little, I would definitely check out The Kite Runner.  It presents relevant themes to society today and present a father-son story with growing-up themes that are extremely relatable to many people.

Next month, we’ll be reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, a book I’ve heard about several times but never looked into.  In addition, Library Club will be meeting this Wednesday, February 6th, if you’re looking for some great people, reads, and discussion.