Friday, 1 November 2013

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini- Review

I borrowed this book from my Auntie and was apprehensive as to whether I would like it. Firstly because I don't think it is aimed at the YA age group in particular. And secondly, because it didn't seem like the sort of book that I would choose myself. After reading this book, my opinions were changed so much: I realised I don't need to just read YA books exclusively and also that I can enjoy books that I wouldn't expect to.It opened my eyes to what is going on right now, and over the last few decades. (not that I was oblivious, just  embarrassingly uneducated on this subject.) I realised what it is actually like to be born into a place where terrible things are happening, and just because you are born there, you are under control of a regime that is completely shocking and massively wrong.

A Thousand Splendid Suns
It is set in Afghanistan, starting with the story of Mariam, a young girl who is the product of her father's affair, and therefore she is seen as an embarrassment or disgrace. We follow her as she grows up, and lots of things happen to her that are hard to believe. I can't say too much without giving parts of the story away, but what I can say is that the book really teaches you the horrors that women in particular are put through every day. The worst thing is, through the story, as time goes on, treatment of women is more forgiving and equal but when the Taliban arrive, it's right back to how it was before- only worse. A bit further into the book, when Mariam is quite a bit older, we follow the story of Laila who lives near. She is brought up modernly, being taught that women are capable and not of a lower class. Soon, their paths cross and they are brought together but their lives aren't improved and when the Taliban take over, the impact is huge. The things they are put through, but most importantly get through and cope with is incredible.

I honestly was totally shocked by what happens to them in the story. I couldn't comprehend that this happens, actually happens in real life. But the feeling of the book, I think, is not one of depressing and sad feelings, but of courage and mainly hope. The characters are hopefulness personified because they get through things that we are lucky enough to not have to. If they can cope with their situation, then maybe I shouldn't moan about the things that are completely unimportant and stupid- that's what the book taught me I guess. It sort of made me angry too because I really just could not believe that this is happening right now, and that they won't be stopped. Read the book and you will feel the same.
Khaled Hosseini writes in a way that makes everything real, and the descriptions make the place believable and amazingly imaginable. I love his style of writing and would love to read more of his books.

I would recommend this book for people from 15 years onwards because it isn't aimed at a YA audience, but I think it can be read by someone from 15 if they think they would enjoy it. I think younger people might find it difficult to read because there are a lot of sad and terrible things that happen, but if you think you would still like the book then definitely read it. I can't urge you to read this enough as it serves as a view to a place we are lucky to not be in. It teaches us how we are in a good place compared to some. Mostly, it made me think about the bad things that happen to people just because they happened to be born in a certain place- something that isn't their fault and shouldn't have to be something which puts you at a worse place than anyone else.

You can buy the book on Amazon for £5.59- as always, it is cheaper second hand.
Or from Watersones for £5.59 with free UK delivery:

Another book by Khaled Hosseini is The Kite Runner, which I would like to read. Let me know if you've read it and what you thought!

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