Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns

 I finished this book a little while ago, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I had read Kite Runner a couple of years ago which was a phenomenol book. Both books are written about kids growing up in Afghanistan during the years before the Taliban and during the Taliban reign. It is definitely a moving experience to watch how the lives of the people in Afghanistan are completely transformed… and usually for the worse. Kite Runner was written from the perspective of a boy growing up and some pieces of him living as an adult in the United States reflecting on his past in Afghanistan. A Thousand Splendid Suns is written from the perspective of a girl growing up during the Taliban reign. It is heartbreaking to say the least to learn about the treatment of women during this time. At one point the women were not able to even walk the streets by themselves. They had to be escorted by a male and if they were found by themselves they would often be beaten. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to not have a choice in who your husband is going to be… the only choice being a) to live on the streets with no means of survival or b) marry a man 20 years older than you simply so you can have a roof over your head – leaving you subjected to his needs and his desires without a say in it. I have to say it was a very difficult read, emotionally. And I do wish I had read this before I had Amelia as some of the relational parts between a child in the book and their parent was much more difficult to read now that I have a baby than when I didn’t. I also learned a little insight on why the women where the Hijab (headcovers). In the book the main character was forced to wear it by her husband because he said he wanted her beauty and purity to stay hidden and be revealed only to himself. He didn’t want her to be on display and be a temptation for the other men when they’re out in public. The woman also mentioned many times that she grew a fondness to wearing it as she felt like she was hiding her shame and her insecurities and while walking in public noone would recognize her and place her with her new life. I definitely felt I could sympathize with this. I would want to hide my face and just feel like I was escaping somewhere when facing the public after some of the things she had seen and been through. I had never seen the Hijab in this way. It reminded me of the little boy in Big Daddy who needed to wear his sunglasses when around people because he was shy and nervous and when he wore the glasses he felt invisible : ) I highly recommend this book to give you a perspective of the Taliban and Afghanistan and to also help you be thankful for the freedom we have here in America… freedom as individuals, freedom as women, freedom in Christianity, freedom in my 3 bedroom/2 story house… free to just live a beautiful life.

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