Revisiting The Kite Runner.

At lunch today, I finished rereading The Kite Runner – my book discussion group is talking about it next week, so I had to brush up. I remembered the bare bones stuff, the overall plot, that it’s sad and somewhat violent, but I didn’t remember that it’s so good it hurts. I think that, when I read it before, I was focused more on the plot and less on the structure of the plot. This time, I finished it, walked up to a coworker, and said, “The structure of this book is so good that it makes me want to cry.” I did cry this time through, even though the book didn’t seem as bleak as it did last summer. When my mom read it a few months ago, she talked about the hopeful ending, and I said, “I think the book lost me before that.” This time I could see more of what she meant. My coworker said that it’s worth reading again like a textbook – “This is how you structure a really good novel.”

I don’t think The Kite Runner is for everybody – like I said, it’s sad and kind of violent, but the picture of redemption that it paints is pretty amazing. The first time I read it, our house was flooded and I was being grumpy about it, and the message I got from it was that I needed to remember how good my life actually is. With that lesson already learned, this time I sat back and marveled at the way Amir found himself again, the way that he was finally able to atone for the wrongs of his childhood, the parallels that built up to the wonderful last scene, which I did see as hopeful this time. It’s a painful story, but it was freeing to watch him free himself, to make the right decisions instead of the wrong ones.

Sometimes you read a book and you don’t want it to end, because it’s so wonderful. I don’t feel like that with this book – I’m happy to escape the difficult life of an immigrant and the war-torn streets of Kabul and return to my regular life. When I read it last summer, I never would have thought I’d read it again. I’m really glad I was “forced” to, because reading it this time . . . while I wouldn’t call it a pleasure, it helped me appreciate the book on a deeper level than I did last summer.

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